3 myths about using Adobe InDesign that are totally false (+ free beginner's design guide!)

3 myths about using Adobe InDesign that are totally false (+free beginner's design guide) — by Paper + Oats


I see so many people make assumptions and spreading misinformation about learning a program like Adobe InDesign. So today I want to clear up some of those big myths and misunderstandings. You might have heard one of more of these myths around the internet, and you might even be thinking some of them yourself as you’ve read any of my other posts or resources about InDesign.

I’m here to tell you, these are just myths that people use to hold themselves back or as an excuse to never take action. These are the biggest 3 myths that I see floating around:

Myth #1:  InDesign is too complicated / overwhelming / time-consuming.

You know the feeling — you sit down to open InDesign, and this tidal wave of overwhelm hits you in the face and washes away all your gusto. There’s too many menus, too many buttons, too much STUFF everywhere. You’re wondering if pressing <this button> will permanently delete your 157 years of work on that one text box. Why is adding an image SO DARN HARD?!

Don’t worry, I get it. But one big thing to keep in mind as you start learning InDesign, is that a lot of what you see is duplicate tools. There are multiple ways to access just about every tool in InDesign, and that can add to the overwhelm if you’re new to the program. I mean, there’s FOUR different places to change the color of your text without even opening up any windows or menus.

Once you see how the tool overwhelm you feel is actually just giving you a few different ways to do the same thing, the program becomes way less intimidating. FUN, even. (Yeah, I said it.) If I had a nickel for every time someone told me, “I wish I had learned this sooner!” I’d go get a 9-hour massage.

Myth #2:  InDesign is just for designers / way more than I need.

This couldn’t be further from the truth, and I have hundreds of students inside my program The InDesign Field Guide to prove it. Some of them had never opened an Adobe program in their life, until Lesson 1, video 1. Some of them thought it wasn’t going to get any better than Canva (boy, were they surprised). Over the last few years, I’ve had a WIDE variety of industries represented among INDFG alumni, and “designer” is just one of them. Here’s some others:

  • authors / copywriters

  • health / fitness bloggers

  • business coaches

  • school teachers / professors

  • infopreneurs / strategists

  • virtual assistants

  • accountants

  • a behavioral analyst, for goodness sake!

Yep, InDesign was created for designers to be able to do their job. But it’s not exclusive. Just like Excel isn’t JUST for accountants. A plunger isn’t JUST for a plumber. A camera isn’t JUST for a photographer. So why is this program any different? It’s a tool to use for ANYONE to get a job done – designing what you need for your business right when you need it (social media graphics, blog/website graphics, worksheets, ebooks, lead magnets, print books, stationery, slideshows, promo graphics, whatever you can dream up).

Myth #3:  InDesign is just for PDFs or books.

Another doozy – InDesign can be used for WAY more than you probably think. You can use it to create almost anything you need for your business. Here’s just a few ways you can use it —

  • On-screen graphics like social media profiles + covers, promo + announcement images, Instagram stories, website graphics, email headers, blog post graphics, slideshow presentations, webinar slide decks, Facebook ads, etc.

  • Sales + promo materials like portfolios, catalogs, brochures, sales sheets, order forms, invoices, contracts, proposals, resumès, media kits, pricing guides, sales slides, questionnaires, banners, event signage, etc.

  • Digital products like e-books, guides, workbooks, printables, course content, planners, templates, digital magazines,etc.

  • Downloadable PDFs like lead magnets, opt-in incentives, content upgrades for your blog, free downloads, worksheets, cheat sheets, checklists, etc.

  • Printed products like books, magazines, journals, day planners, stationery, etc.

It really drives me crazy that so many people believe these myths and then let that stop them from taking action. They stay stuck with mediocre design because they think InDesign is more than they need, too overwhelming or time-consuming to learn, or just reserved for professional designers.

Are you being held back by one of these false beliefs too?

Now that you see they are just common misunderstandings, I don’t want you to let them stop you from learning InDesign to grow your business. It’s not too complicated, it’s not just for designers, and it can be used for waaaaay more projects than just PDFs and books.


Check out my free beginner’s guide to InDesign to help you tackle this new skill – without the overwhelm – giving you the confidence to be well on your way to designing whatever you need for your budding business.

Your Turn

Have you ever believed any of these myths about InDesign? What holds you back from learning a new skill like this? Did you realize most of InDesign’s overwhelm is just duplicate tools?!


Kelsey Baldwin

Graphic designer + blogger providing design resources to help creative entrepreneurs navigate the world of design + branding for digital products so they can share what they know.

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