How to Use Canva

You may think that creating posters is something only professionals in the design field can do. Designing posters and other projects may require a certain software, but an online tool called Canva ( can help.  Canva is a website that allows you access to premade layouts, fonts, and backgrounds at little to no cost. They have different designs templates for social media websites, marketing materials, documents, etc.

I decided to work with posters since they are the most commonly used design. Once you decide on a design template, you may start looking through layouts, backgrounds, and fonts to use on your design. Be careful, some may or may not be free. Be sure to check the lower right hand corner, which indicates whether it’s free or not.


Next I will explain to you what each tab means. Layout is a specific format that you want your design to look like.


Most layouts already has a theme to it and you can personalize it by changing the text to whatever you need to write in it and also change the font in the grey rectangular box. It’s a unique way of getting inspiration and also convenient if you are on the go.


Elements is another fun way to personalize your design. I like to simply think of Elements as stickers since there are different types to add on to your design. You can even make your design aimed for a business related cause because of their “Charts element” that you can use to demonstrate a flow chart or a bar graph.


Choosing a text is a simple step for your design. Flip through all the variety of texts they have available, and use your own judgment to see if it fits the theme or the occasion that you are trying to create with your design.


If you don’t want a fancy layout or can’t find a layout you want, you can choose a simple background that’s free, with minor details in it and add fonts and your own photos or photos from the Internet to make your design unique. You can even change the color of the original background by clicking on any color of your preference in the color palette at the top.


Canva also has a unique upload feature where you can search for the image by clicking on the green button or you can just simply drag the image from your desktop.


After you have finished your design, you are now able to download your piece to your desktop. At the right hand corner of the website, there is a button that says “Download” which is what you need to click on in order to obtain your design. Once you click on download, there will be a few options for you to choose from depending on your preference. These options are image quality and PDF file type. A JPG is the most common compression quality file that is viewable through websites and emails. PNG is a high quality file that doesn’t require compression but is a larger file than JPG. PDF files are distinguished by a standard version and a printer friendly version for physical copies.

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If you chose a layout that has a price tag on it, you have to purchase the layout if you don’t want the Canva watermarks to appear. You also have the option to download your design with the watermarks for free if you click on the “Download a Watermarked Draft” link.

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Once you decided to either make the payment or download the watermarked design, your file should appear in your downloads folder in your computer within seconds.



Here is a quick poster I made about the laser cutting service The Creative Production Lab provides. I decided to use this layout because it goes along with the theme of laser cutting, with the white/ light blue sparks at the top and the orange sparks at the bottom. The wire connectors that connect to each picture symbolically means that the laser cutter needs electricity in order to do its job. The shapes that I used pretty much resembles what the laser cutter can do and how neatly and defined it cuts through material. 


Gloria Bautista

Creative Production Lab Student Assistant


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