Quick, Easy Multipanel Brochure Mockup (InDesign)

Michael Streubert
Michael StreubertSenior Art Director
Quick, Easy Multipanel Brochure Mockup (InDesign)

Presentation isn’t everything; but it’s certainly massively important. This is something I’ve picked up over my career by watching some of the best designers sell their work. 

The issue came up recently when I wanted to demonstrate a brochure layout to a client who was uncommitted to a specific design. Everyone can immediately visualize a generic brochure, but there’s a surprising amount of directions to go– letter-fold, z-fold or gate-fold? Pocket or flap? Can it hold a business card? While the web is full of realistic PSD mockups, I quickly found most of the options underwhelming for showcasing much beyond a typical 8.5x11” cover sitting in a generic space.

I needed to create a versatile mockup showing multiple pages that would adapt to any design feedback provided in this early stage of development. While a realistic PSD would be ideal, the time investment and clunkiness of Photoshop wouldn’t be.   

Fortunately for me, a co-worker recently showed me their process for building a quick mockup in InDesign to demonstrate a multi-page document- in this case, a tri-fold, pocket brochure. Here are the simple steps to follow.

Laying out your mockup

Create a PDF of your InDesign layout. 


As you can see, a rough print file is difficult for a non-designer to visualize the final product.

Open a new document, preferably 16” x 9” (ideal ratio for viewing on-screen).

I like to place the design on a subtle gradient field (0% black > 20% radial). In this instance, I plan on showing the front and back cover. 
  1. I started by placing the page that’s going to be UNDER the cover because our cover is going to reveal a sliver of that page. 
  2. I also like to add a very subtle drop shadow to every page to give the illusion of dimensionality.

Place an instance of your Cover and SHEAR the asset 3%.

The Shear Tool is under the Free Transform in your palette as well as in the menu under Object > Transform > Shear.

Additionally, I added a subtle drop shadow below the sheared cover. He’s a brief look at how that was accomplished.

Create the inside flap by mimicking the previous steps

  1. Place an instance of the inside spread, crop out the 3rd page, 
  2. Drop a sheared copy of the inside flap (-3% Shear this time). 
  3. Copy your drop shadow and flip it horizontally.
  4. Additionally, create a narrow White > Black > White linear-gradient, set to multiply and drop to ~10% opacity. This gives you the illusion of a crease between pages.

Finish off the mockup with your inside spread.

This part should be easy, simply drop in your PDF, uncropped and add in your linear shadow from the previous step to create the seam shadow.

Now that your mockup is built in InDesign and linked to a PDF generated from the original design, any updates to that design can be instantly applied with no headaches or multiple photoshop files. While not completely photo accurate, this method gives you a time-saving option to showcase a complex, multi-page design in a realistic setting. Our Texas Creative Blog is full of excellent design tips- here are some links to a few: