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InStep: Pinback Button FX

Add a little flair to any design with this fun transparency effect.

pinback button fx made with InDesign

1. Find or create your message

This article appeared in Issue 102 of InDesign Magazine.

Long before the Internet and social media enabled us to instantly share our opinions on everything from presidents to pumpkin spice Oreos, we used decidedly low-tech methods to get our messages across. Growing up in the ’70s and ’80s, my preferred expressive media were lunch boxes, T-shirts, and the little pinback buttons that adorned my jackets and backpacks. Mostly these pins featured my favorite bands or deep philosophical statements like “Pobody’s Nerfect.” Finding the perfect pin to add to my collection was a rare and happy event. Now, of course, you can design and order pins to say anything you want, and have them shipped to you. So there’s no excuse to be caught with the bare minimum amount of flair. And it’s just as easy to add a pin effect to an InDesign layout. All you need is a little bevel and emboss and a drop shadow to get anything off (or in this case, on) your chest.

The first, and maybe hardest, part of this job is deciding what you want your pin to say. You can design it using any photo, graphic, or text. For this example, I’ve chosen a message that only true InDesign aficionados will recognize: the Friendly Alien easter egg in the Print dialog box.

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Editor in Chief of CreativePro and InDesign Magazine. Instructor at LinkedIn Learning with courses on InDesign, Illustrator, GIMP, Inkscape, and Affinity Publisher.