Step 2: Paragraph Styles, Part 1

Go back to Step 1: Setting Up the Workspace

Let’s talk about fonts.

You want your graphics to stand out from your body copy. So if you’re using a serif font (one with “feet”) for your body copy, like Times New Roman, or Minion Pro, or something similar, you want a sans-serif font for your graphics. The most well-known are Arial and Helvetica, although Myriad Pro has started to make inroads as a default font.

There are plenty of other fonts out there to choose from, but here’s the catch: They cost money. Sometimes lots of money.

For example: At the Express-News, we use a font called “Antenna” for our graphics. It was chosen by a designer somewhere in the Hearst Corporation, then had to pass a group of senior editors before it was approved. Once it was, a license to use it was purchased. When we got it at the E-N, I adapted it for use in my template.

Now, I’m not sure how many people it was purchased for, but I would assume the numbers are at least 1,000. According to the Font Bureau (who owns the font) website, the license for that many seats is $35,000. That’s a minor business expense to the Hearst Corporation, but to a small paper, that’s not an option. In fact, just ONE license for the 56 styles associated with the Antenna font is $1,400. That’s probably not practical for a small paper’s budget. When you jump that to 2-5 computers, the price jumps to $2,800.

Yes, there are other, cheaper alternatives to fonts like Antenna. But something you get from a free font site like isn’t a good choice for you, because their ligatures start to get messy after a while. You’re better off sticking to a professionally-made font. I wouldn’t really recommend Google Fonts either, because their fonts are designed to look good on screens first. If you’re still looking to save on money and use Google Fonts, you might want to experiment with them first; do a few test runs, especially at large sizes. (Personally, I really like Roboto.)

Now, if you’re still using Adobe Creative Suite 6, then you’ll have to make a decision on whether to buy fonts or not. But if you have the Adobe Creative Cloud subscriptions (and they aren’t limited by your IT department), you get the Adobe Typekit fonts as part of that, including Antenna. The only drawback is that if you don’t keep your subscription going (perhaps you want to switch to a different graphics editing program that doesn’t follow the subscription model, like Affinity Designer), you lose those fonts.

When you buy a computer, be it Windows or Mac, you get a selection of fonts with it, along with the attendant licenses to use them as you see fit. Oh, there are sites and people who will rip on you for using Arial or Helvetica, but they aren’t paying your bills. So we’re going to build our template using the ubiquitous Arial font. If you’ve got a font that you have the rights to and would rather use instead, be my guest.

Let’s start off by creating a new Layer. Click on that drop-down box at the top corner like we did from the last lesson. (You can also click the New Layer button at the bottom of the Layers panel, but I like using the top box, myself.)

A Layer Options dialog box opens. Give your new layer a name, like “Text.” I also recommend changing the color to “Light Red,” for reasons that I will explain presently. Click OK.

Click on the Text tool (the “T”) and then click anywhere on the Artboard. Type something. When you’re done, click back on the Selection tool (the first arrow).

Note how the text is surrounded by a red bounding box. This red color is due to the selection of “Light Red” as your layer color. This feature will become helpful as you begin to build increasingly complex graphics.

(You might also note that weird line and circle hanging off the right edge of the text. If you’re using Adobe CC – the subscription version – you’ll see that. If you’re using CS6 or lower, you won’t. It’s a new feature in CC that allows you to change from Point type to Area type. We’ll discuss that in a later lesson. For now, please disregard it.)

Note also that the font is Myriad Pro, assigned by default. We’ve decided on Arial as our font, so we’re going to change that. We’re going to set it so that Arial becomes the default font every time we use this template by editing the [Normal Paragraph Style]. So, click on “Paragraph Styles” and double-click on the [Normal Paragraph Style] selection.

Change the settings in the dialog box “Basic Character Formats” section that opens up to match the ones below. Don’t worry about the other options at the moment. Click “OK.”

We also want the color of the text to be the default Black, with Overprint Fill turned on. For print folks, this ensures that our black text doesn’t do weird things when printing, like disappear. (For more information on Overprint Fill, check out this link from Adobe.)

Note that your text changes to look like this. It’s gotten smaller, and there’s some space that wasn’t there before. Believe it or not, this is what we’re looking for.

Select the type tool again, and type some random text. Note that it is now 9-point Arial by default.

Okay, let’s start building a paragraph style. First, go to and grab some dummy text. Or you can generate your own from something you have on file.

Select the Text Tool, but instead of clicking anywhere in the document (which gives you Point Type), drag out a box (Area Type). Paste your text in the box. Go to Type>Show Hidden Characters and turn it on.

Looks like nice, evenly spaced text, right? Not really. See all of those paragraph marks serving as line breaks between paragraphs? We’re going to eliminate those. Why? Because when you’re pasting text in from a Word document or similar, it’s not always spaced out that way. And quite frankly, the full return is a waste of valuable real estate when it comes to print graphics.

So, here’s a close up of the edited text. (I’ve also decreased the width to show my point).

If I didn’t point it out to you, you wouldn’t have realized where the hard return is and where the next paragraph starts. When your text runs all together, it tends to confuse the readers.

Double-click on the [Normal Paragraph Style] again and change the “Indents and Spacing” settings to this:

Now look at the text. We have some defined spacing between paragraphs, but not enough where it uses up valuable page real estate.

Go ahead and save.

Next step: Step 2: Paragraph Styles, Part 2

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