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By Mike Rankin | Thursday, February 14, 2013

InDesign FX: How to add fancy ornamental frames to placed images

In this week’s InDesign FX video, I show you how to add fancy ornamental frames to placed images in Adobe InDesign.

More than any clever technique, this effect highlights the idea of using the resources you already have handy to create unique and interesting graphics, so you don’t have to draw them. Specifically, the fancy frames are made from a simple solid stroke embellished with a series of characters from the Adobe Wood Type Ornaments font.

Use the Adobe Wood Type Ornaments font to create unique and interesting graphics

In the video, I start by making a copy of the frame containing the photo. This way I can place the ornaments in the duplicate frame and know they will be positioned precisely where I want them over the photo.

Then it’s time to find a suitable ornament. Here, you can think of the Glyphs panel like a library of clip art. You probably already have several dingbat, symbol, or ornamental fonts at your fingertips, each containing hundreds of interesting shapes.

Use the Glyphs panel in Adobe InDesign to help find a suitable font

After selecting a single interesting glyph, you can scale and duplicate it to make a series of ornaments, and then use a frame as a vector mask to crop the glyphs and show just the parts you want for the picture frame.

Use a frame that contains your favorite glyph as a vector mask.

Use a frame that contains your favorite glyph as a vector mask.

With that basic set of steps you open up a million other possibilities by incorporating different fonts, glyphs, scaling, and so on.

Use InDesign's Character panel to adjust the settings for each glyph

Use the InDesign Character panel to adjust the settings for each glyph you use.

Another example of a text frame filled with a Wood Type Ornament font

Another example of using a frame as a vector mask for your selected font.

Final example of using a font to create a unique effect

The final effect, created entirely in InDesign.

I also have a member-exclusive video in the lynda.com library this week called Framing photos in letters. It shows you how to use merged letter shapes as photo frames.

How to use merged letter shapes as photoframes

Interested in more? • The entire InDesign FX biweekly series • Courses by Mike Rankin on lynda.com • All InDesign courses on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:InDesign SecretsInDesign CS6 Essential Training • InDesign CS6 New Features

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