Thanks for coming to InDesignSecrets.com, the world's #1 resource for all things InDesign!

The Beauty of Stacked Strokes

Have you ever yearned to apply multiple strokes to on object in InDesign? Have you wanted more flexibility with your strokes than just a stroke and a gap color? For years now, I have wanted InDesign to be able to have the equivalent of the Illustrator’s Appearance panel, where I can apply multiple strokes and fills to a single object.

We can achieve a similar effect by stacking multiple strokes on top of one another. To do this, I’ll be using some custom stroke styles. To get the the Stroke Styles dialog box, open the flyout menu on the Stroke panel, and then choose Stroke Styles.

HowToGetToTheStrokeStylesDialogBox

Setting Up the Stroke Styles

Here’s how I set up the five stroke styles I’ll be using. Each stroke will occupy 20% of the stroke width. To make it easier to see how each stroke style will correspond to the final design, I’ve color coded them.

StrokeStyle1

StrokeStyle2

StrokeStyle3

StrokeStyle4

StrokeStyle5

Set up your Stack of Objects

Next, I’ve created a simple object that I’ll be applying these strokes to. This is a 1 point black stroke with no fill.

BasicStrokeBasic Stroke

Next, I thicken and colorize the stroke. I increased the weight to 50 points, applied stroke style #1, and chose the Ice color.

Stroke1

Then I copy it, choose Edit > Paste in Place, and apply the Second stroke style and then Aqua color.

Stroke2

Repeat with stroke styles 3, 4, and 5.Stroke3 Stroke4 Stroke5

Because the stokes all have the same geometry, if you resize them together, the effect will stay intact.

Stretch the path!

RoundedRectangle

Convert the Shape!

You can use other types of strokes styles for interesting effects.

StackedStrokes1

Use 3 different stroke styles, with a blending mode and some corner effects

StackedStrokes2

Use hash stroke styles for an argyle effect

Cool effects can be made with just two strokes and a blending mode

Cool effects can be made with just two strokes and a blending mode

In part two of this series, I’ll show you a new plugin that will supercharge your ability to edit stacked objects.

 

Kelly Vaughn

Kelly Vaughn

Kelly Vaughn (a.k.a. "Document Geek") has over a decade of print and design experience. She holds Adobe Expert Certifications In InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, and Acrobat, and specializes in writing and designing technical manuals for the marine industry.
Kelly Vaughn

Latest posts by Kelly Vaughn (see all)

  • - November 30, -0001
Tags
Related Articles
Comments

5 Comments on “The Beauty of Stacked Strokes

  1. So how can I save 2 different stroke styles as Object style?
    Indeed a playing even with 2 basic strokes brings amazing results, but as far as I cannot use it further as object style…

  2. Hey do you know the CMYK values for the colors you chose? They’re pretty! I work at a social and xmas printing company and I love Eggplant and Mulberry

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *