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10 years of InDesign training provides a history of InDesign

  • Published on June 2, 2021
10 years of InDesign training provides a history of InDesign

American Graphics Institute first started delivering InDesign training courses a full decade ago. While InDesign was still in development, and the first version not yet released, Adobe approached AGI to develop a training program to roll-out InDesign globally. Adobe sent AGI instructors around the U.S., Europe, and Australia to deliver InDesign training seminars and workshops for prospective customers. At a time when nobody had even heard of this new design tool, AGI instructors were teaching InDesign in cities ranging from New York, London, Paris, and Sydney.

At the time, American Graphics Institute developed the first ever InDesign training curriculum for version 1.0 and started delivering training around the world. The curriculum developed for Adobe later became incorporated in the InDesign Classroom in a Book, which at the time was written by AGI instructors, and the same techniques and process were also built into the later InDesign Digital Classroom books. These also served as the foundation for books such as Moving to InDesign as well as InDesign for QuarkXPress Users, which were also written by AGI’s InDesign trainers.

In introducing InDesign’s new approach to layout and design to agencies around the world it became clear that designers were ready for a change. Many designers were frustrated with their current tools, which were primarily QuarkXPress and PageMaker at the time. The new approach offered by InDesign included many things designers now take for granted. Importing native Photoshop and Illustrator files without first changing file formats, being able to undo mistakes, regardless of how long ago they occurred, and exporting directly to PDF were all new at the time InDesign was introduced.

While delivering courses around the world on behalf of Adobe, much of the training focused on large agencies. Getting the established design firms to switch to InDesign was a key component of Adobe’s success. By providing them with InDesign training, they removed barriers for transitioning to a new application. The bundling of InDesign at a lower cost when purchasing Photoshop and Illustrator also made it easier for businesses to justify the investment. These pillars enabled InDesign to introduce a new product that within 10 years completely displaced the previous market leader. Today if you were to visit any major design firm or agency, you will find InDesign is the design tool in use in all but a small few firms.

When Adobe first launched InDesign, the product managers knew publishing, and the team came from former Quark employees along with others who had worked on PageMaker, Illustrator, and Photoshop. Their knowledge of what was important to their core customer base played a key role in their success. As Adobe has recently moved their product management of InDesign to India, it is possible that InDesign may become the next QuarkXPress. Competitors that are closer to customer’s needs and more nimble may come along and disrupt Adobe InDesign’s current monopoly on the page layout and design market. For a more complete history, see the in-depth article What is InDesign.

For professionals wanting to learn InDesign, attending an InDesign course near you is an efficient way to gain new skills with this widely used electronic publishing software tool.

About the author

Christopher Smith is president of American Graphics Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the publisher and editor of the Digital Classroom book series, which have sold more than one million copies. At American Graphics Institute, he provides strategic technology consulting to marketing professionals, publishers and to large technology companies including Google, Apple, Microsoft, and HP. An expert on web analytics and digital marketing, he delivers Google Analytics training along with workshops on digital marketing topics. He is also the author of more than 10 books on electronic publishing tools and technologies, including the Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies. Christopher did his undergraduate studies the at the University of Minnesota, and then worked for Quark, Inc. prior to joining American Graphics Institute where he has worked for 20 years.