Learning Adobe InDesign

Software programmes. They can be intimidating. When we were told that we would be learning Adobe InDesign – a publishing software programme – I was worried. Would I be able to learn how to use this software programme within a few months?

During my previous MSc in Spatial Development and Natural Resource Management, I had learnt how to use ArcGIS, a geographic information system. There’s something fascinating about putting data into a programme, and seeing the visual end result. I’ve always been intrigued by how I can best use software programmes, and remember spending hours learning how to use Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, when I first learnt of them in primary school.

I soon realised that my working method for Adobe InDesign would be similar to how I worked with the other software programmes I knew. The main part of learning how to use any software programme in my experience, is knowing how to search for a solution when you get stuck. I love the challenge of thinking of the most efficient way to word my problem so that I can type it into the search engine and find solutions to my problem. Another part that I find important to do at the beginning is to learn the keyboard shortcuts, it always gives me this feeling that I understand the software better, which in turn makes me feel more comfortable with using it.

As with any software programme, I find that I learn best by using the software. Thus, I was intrigued our projects this trimester would be to typeset a book and design a book cover, as well as, create a magazine spread this trimester. The projects provided me with the opportunity to practise my skills, and with that practice my skills improved.

I enjoy using Adobe InDesign now and I’m not intimidated anymore. I like working with numbers, so using the reference points and tabs to ensure that all objects line up, makes me very happy. It’s easy to use and doesn’t require the knowledge of a programming language. And I feel like there’s always more to discover about it, whether it’s a new shortcut or a new tool, thus I’m never bored.


About the author
I’m Sinead, an MSc Publishing student at Edinburgh Napier University. I’m the Communications Officer and the Inclusivity Officer at SYP Scotland. My blog Huntress of Diverse Books focuses on reviewing and promoting diverse books. I’m also a co-host at Lit CelebrAsian, an initiative aiming to uplift Asian voices in literature.

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Upcoming release: The Library Window by Margaret Oliphant

I chose The Library Window, as my Publishing Production project, as I wanted to publish a book in the supernatural genre. Margaret Oliphant, a Scottish author, was well-known for writing ghost stories in her day, so I looked into a few of her stories. What intrigued me about this specific story, was the combination of two supernatural themes. The very obvious ghost theme, and the more indirectly mentioned cursed diamond ring theme.

About the editor and designer
I’m Sinead, an MSc Publishing student at Edinburgh Napier University. My blog Huntress of Diverse Books focuses on reviewing and promoting diverse books. I’m also a co-host at Lit CelebrAsian, an initiative aiming to uplift Asian voices in literature.

Work Experience at Lighthouse Bookshop

21878820_1915901028730250_6186047585476673536_nIn October and November, I had my work experience at Lighthouse – Edinburgh’s Radical Bookshop. Before arriving in Edinburgh, I was already interested in this bookshop, as it is a left-leaning independent bookshop. Their goal is to challenge the status quo and advocate for diversity, sustainability, free speech, and equality.

My aim for this work experience in a bookshop, was to find out what happens after a book is published. How do bookshops decide which books they want to have in their bookshop when they have so many choices? How do the books themselves influence their chance of being placed on a book shelf?


I was able to gain experience in different aspects of a bookseller’s daily work-life.

25286049_10214836582128764_1599288614_oI curated the Young Adult Fiction section of the bookshop. My goal was to introduce more diverse books in this section. Not all the books that I wanted to purchase were purchased. There were several reasons for this. While choosing books, I found out that I could not get some of the books as they were not available in the UK. Another reason is that the cover was not suitable for the audience. A final reason, is that the price was too high.

In November, the bookshop hosted the Edinburgh Radical Book Fair. In preparation for this event, I helped copywrite some parts of the flyer and assisted with the flyer’s design. During the book fair, I also got my first experience in chairing a discussion — I chaired the discussion on Political Multiculturalism and Immigrant Communities.

21827106_846841135482374_6556849867535155200_nFurther, I gained experience in retail and customer service. Using a cashier is really confusing at the beginning! Talking with customers about books is one of my favourite activities at the bookshop. It’s exciting to discuss books with them, and it’s so rewarding when someone decides to choose a book because you have recommended it to them.

Now, that my work experience has finished, I’ll be continuing to work at the bookshop as a bookseller.


About the author
I’m Sinead, an MSc Publishing student at Edinburgh Napier University. I work part-time as a bookseller at Lighthouse – Edinburgh’s Radical Bookshop. My blog Huntress of Diverse Books focuses on reviewing and promoting diverse books. I’m also a co-host at Lit CelebrAsian, an initiative aiming to uplift Asian voices in literature.

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