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Design a Christmas Greeting Card From Scratch In 5 Steps

Christmas is a time for giving and what better way to show you care than creating your own greeting card from scratch?

In this tutorial, I will show you how create a minimalistic Christmas card in Adobe InDesign that even beginners can do, in five steps: Set up the document, create a colour with a Christmas pattern for the cover, adding the title or message to the cover, designing the inside with a card message and importing your work for printing.

I demonstrate how to set up an A5 facing pages document that will have a front cover and back page, as well as the inside pages.

Because this is a Christmas card, it's essential to leave a lot of white space for personalized holiday greetings and well wishes.

Setting up the Document

  1. Click the Create New button or simply go to File > New Document to bring up the document window.

  2. Click on the "Print" tab at the top of the window and navigate to the A5 option in the InDesign presets. You may have to click on the "View More Presets" option to find it.

  3. Leave the Orientation to Portrait and keep the Facing Pages box checked.

  4. Set the number of pages to 4 and set the Start # to 2.

  5. Set the Margins to 0.375" all the way around.

  6. Click Create!

Now that the document is set up and ready to go, it's time to start designing. First, it's important to find a theme for your card. In this example, I went with the Let it Snow theme, with a penguin wearing a scarf.

Create two Layers and name one of them Cover and the other inside. With the Cover Layer activated, let's begin designing the front and back pages.

Cover Design

  1. With the Rectangle Frame Tool, left click and drag out a frame that spans across the entire spread.

  2. In the Properties Panel, click on Fill and select the color for the cover.

  3. Find a Christmas pattern of your choice and drag the file directly into the frame. The other option is going to File > Place. You now have the pattern that overlays the color you selected

  4. Click on the Content Grabber (Or Donut) to access the pattern. Navigate to the Properties Panel, click on Opacity.

  5. Change the Blending Mode to Soft Light. Set the Opacity level to anywhere between 30 and 40 percent for a subtle look.

Inside Design

  1. With the Type Tool, click and drag out a frame on the left or right side page to add your message. Find a quote or come up with your own greeting.

  2. Leave the other page blank for people to write a more personalized message to family and friends

  3. Find a high-quality graphic that will be the centrepiece of the page. In this case, I used a penguin with a scarf.

The back page can also be left blank or you can use another graphic or illustration. It's all based on personal preference at this point. Let your imagination run wild!

When finished, go to File > Export and save your work as an Adobe PDF (Print) document. In the PDF settings, be sure to export your work as Spreads and not pages before sending to the print shop of your choice.

To download assets used for this Christmas card or others, click here.

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