How to create a fake duotone in Indesign

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Hi, I thought I’d share this awesome trick since I just used it for this promo piece. I found this beautiful free illustration that I wanted to use for this women’s event—feminine but not too frilly.

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But I knew the black and white would have too much contrast and be too busy to put text on top of it. I wanted to try some different color combinations while seeing it in the context of the whole design. That’s where the trick comes in!

How to change duotone colors within Adobe Indesign

  1. Open the image in Adobe Photoshop (The image can be full color or already black and white)
  2. (Optional) Go to Image > Adjustments > Black & White and make the conversion. This is helpful if you’re converting from a color image so you can get the exact settings you’d like.
  3. Go to Image > Mode > Grayscale
  4. Go to File > Save As and select TIFF from the Format dropdown at the bottom of the window, then Save.
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  5. Open your design document in Indesign and place the black & white TIFF image you just saved.
  6. Select the image with your Selection Tool (black arrow) and choose a fill color. This will replace the white areas in your black and white image.
  7. Now, click on the middle of the image using your Direct Selection Tool (white arrow). Now choose a fill color for that. This will replace the black areas in your black and white image.
  8. Try as many different color combinations as you want!

In the example above, I chose an aqua-bluish color for the background and a lime green color for the design.

Here’s an example of how it would look with a color photo. I found this adorable picture on my favorite free photo site, Pixabay, here.
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Following my steps above, I now made it into a happy pink and yellow duotone.

Have fun!

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