I tend to use a lot of solid color blocks in my designs. One of my favorite tricks in InDesign CS4 is to create a type of vignette using the “Basic Feather” effect. (You can actually do this in CS3 as well.)
Sample of boxes with and without the vignette highlight.
Create two boxes, one on top of the other. The top box should be slightly lighter than the one underneath it. For easier editing, make the rear box a little bigger than the one in the foreground.
Apply the Basic Feather (Object > Effect > Basic Feather) effect to the top box… and instant vignette. Adjust the size of the feather, noise, choke and corner types to tweak the look.
The options dialog box for the “Basic Feather” effect. (Click the image to see the box at full size.)
I used Photoshop for this effect for years, but every time you changed the size of the file or area, you had to go back to Photoshop and render a new file. The InDesign method is faster and more flexible.
And in case you are wondering, I’ve sent files to press with this effect many times without problems. Adding a little bit of noise will limit any banding you might see on press. I’ve got a few other variations on this using photos and blend modes that I’ll try to post soon as well.