Learn how to make a customized stationery set in Adobe InDesign with this letterhead and business card template tutorial. Give your business communication a sleek and unique look.

This letterhead and business card template make it quick and simple to create custom stationery in InDesign. With a stylish look that’s easily customizable, this is the perfect how-to for a start-up or small business looking to create original stationery. You can easily adapt the design, including fonts and color scheme, to create a completely unique look.

Suitable for beginners to InDesign, this is a great introduction to creating artwork for print in InDesign.


What You Need to Create a Stationery Set

We’re going to create the template artwork in Adobe InDesign. If you’d like to add optional patterns to your artwork you’ll also need access to vector software like Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW.

The font used in this design is Picadilly. Check out more business font options.

Below is a selection of patterns you could use to add a decorative look to your letterhead:


1. How to Set Up Your InDesign Document

Step 1

Open up InDesign and go to File > New > Document.

From the Print options choose US Letter (8.5 by 11 in).Set the Margins to 0.5 in and add a Bleed of 0.25 in.

Set up InDesign document

Step 2

Expand the Layers panel (Window > Layers) and double-click on Layer 1 to rename it Background. Then create three more new layers — Pattern, Color and finally Type.

Lock all the layers except Background, which we’ll work on first.

Create layers in InDesign

Step 3

Expand the Swatches panel (Window > Color > Swatches) and choose New Color Swatch from the panel’s drop-down menu.

Set the levels to C=7 M=0 Y=88 K=0, click Add and Done.

Repeat the process to create five more new CMYK swatches:

C=0 M=45 Y=31 K=0
C=90 M=54 Y=10 K=1
C=56 M=28 Y=57 K=11
C=0 M=83 Y=85 K=0
C=4 M=9 Y=17 K=0

Create swatches in InDesign


2. How to Create a Letterhead in InDesign

Step 1

Working on the Background layer, use the Rectangle Tool (M) to create a shape across the whole page, extending the edges up to the bleed.

From the Swatches panel set the Fill to one of the new swatches. Here I’ve gone for C=0 M=45 Y=31 K=0.

Add fill color to background layer from one of the swatches

Step 2

Lock the Background layer and unlock the Color layer.

Use the Pen Tool (P) to create a rectangle shape around the whole page, adding corners on the top-left, bottom-left and bottom-right. At the top-right corner, click across diagonally to create a triangular cut-out.

Set the Fill to the neutral swatch, C=4 M=9 Y=17 K=0.

Use the pen tool to create a rectangular shape on the Color layer

Step 3

Lock the Color layer and unlock the top layer, Type.

Switch to the Type Tool (T) and drag onto the top-left of the page to create a large text frame. Type in the name of the business, and from either the top Controls panel or the Character and Paragraph panels (Window > Type & Tables > Character / Paragraph) set the Font to Picadilly Bold, Size 44 pt and increase the Tracking to 110.

From the Swatches panel set the Font Color to match the swatch of the shape sitting on the Background layer.

Add text using the type tool on the type layer

Step 4

Use the Type Tool (T) to create text frames above and below the main heading, listing the address and contact details of the business. Set the Font to Picadilly, and the text in the bottom frame to Align Right. Set the Font Color to match the heading.

Add additional text for location and contact info

Step 5

Create a large text frame across the main body of the page. Set the Font to Picadilly Regular, Size 10 pt and Leading to 20.

Here you can type up the text of your letter, or insert filler text for now (Type > Fill with Placeholder Text).

You can add a signature (using the Rectangle Frame Tool, and File > Place, choosing a transparent-background PNG or EPS image), and optional contact details for the sender of the letter.

Add body text for letter contents

Step 6

If you want to add a more decorative touch to your letter, you can insert a pattern onto the Pattern layer, using the Rectangle Frame Tool (F) to create an image frame over the top-right corner of the page.

Here I’ve used this triangle pattern and removed the colored background of the image in Illustrator before placing it into InDesign.

Add a pattern for more character

Step 7

To create another letterhead with a different color option, expand the Pages panel (Window > Pages) and Right-Click > Duplicate Spread onto the Page 1 icon.

Duplicate spread

Working on Page 2, edit the Fill Color of the shape on the Background layer, and the Font Color of the headings on the Type layer, to match.

You can also drop in an optional different pattern (like this one) onto the Pattern layer.

On Duplicate page use new colors and patterns


3. How to Create a Business Card in InDesign

Step 1

In the Pages panel, click on the Create New Page button. Working on Page 3, select the Page Tool (Shift+P) and click onto the page to select it. From the top Controls panel, type in a new Width of 3.5 in and a new Height of 2 in.

Business card page setup in InDesign

With the page still selected go to Layout > Margins and Columns. Reduce the Margins to 0.125 in and click OK.

Set margins for business card in InDesign

Step 2

Working on the Background layer use the Rectangle Tool (M) to create a shape across the page, setting the Fill to one of your swatches, here C=0 M=83 Y=85 K=0.

Add a background fill using the rectangle tool

Step 3

On the Type layer, Copy and Paste the main heading down from the letterhead onto your business card, and resize it using the Free Transform Tool (E) until it suits the scale of the page.

Add text using the type tool

Step 4

On Page 3 in the Pages panel, Right-Click > Duplicate Spread. This will be the reverse side of your business card.

To begin with, switch the Fill Color of the shape on the Background layer to a contrasting swatch, such as C=90 M=54 Y=10 K=1.

Duplicate spread to create reverse side of business card

Add text frames on the Type layer, listing the contact details of the business and individual. Set the Font to Picadilly Regular.

Add text to business card

Step 5

To create another color option for the business card, go to the Pages panel, click to select both pages of the business card and Right-Click > Duplicate Spreads.

Adjust the background color and Font Color on the front of the card.

Create another color option for business card

Do the same for the reverse of the card too.

Second business card option

4. How to Export Your InDesign Documents for Printing

If you have access to an edge-to-edge printer at home or in your office, you can print your letterheads by simply going to File > Print. However, you’ll probably want to have your business cards printed professionally, and perhaps your letterheads too. To do this, follow the steps below.

Step 1

Go to File > Export and name your file ‘Letterhead_for print’. Choose Adobe PDF (Print) from the Save as type menu at the bottom. Click Save.

Step 2

In the Export to Adobe PDF window that opens choose [Press Quality] from the Preset menu at the top. Make sure to set the page range to only the pages with your letterhead(s) on them, here 1-2.

Click on Marks and Bleeds in the window’s left-hand menu. Check All Printer’s Marks and Use Document Bleed Settings, before hitting Export.

Print settings for letterhead and business card

Repeat the process for the pages of your business card(s). You’ll end up with two press-ready PDF files you can send straight off to the printers. Great job!

Final letterhead design

Final business card design

Your Finished Stationery Set

Now that you’ve created your stationery set, you can use this as a template for creating more cool letterheads and business cards. Make sure to File > Save your InDesign file, so you can come back to it later.

Why not try switching up the font or trying a different pattern to make the design more unique?

How to Create Your Own Custom Stationery in InDesign – Stationery Set Flat Lay


Want more InDesign tutorials? Check these out.

Terrazzo background used in image above by Ikunl