Canva – an online tool to create simple designs and posters

August 6th, 2014 by Monika Jankowska-Pacyna

Canva is an online tool with various layouts and templates to create simple designs and posters.

It can be used by administrators to help market their programs and services. Educators can use it to create interesting handouts or to enhance their presentations or blog posts. Students who are just learning to use technology might find this tool great to learn how to use a mouse, drag and drop, or save while creating interesting graphics. They could also design posters and images for presentations or small projects they are working on. With a very specific one-time copyright clause, Canva can also be used to start a discussion with students on copyright permissions.

In Canva, you can use preset layouts, backgrounds and images to create your designs or you can upload your own images to work with. You can also use stock images provided by Canva, but keep in mind that there is a $1 fee per image that comes with a one-time use copyright permission, which allows you to use the purchased stock media in only one Canva Design. You are not allowed to edit the media provided.

Here we chose a map layout and started working on changing colours and text:

And here are a few examples of what we created within a few minutes of using Canva! In some cases, we took out the stock images that were included (so we wouldn’t have to pay $1) and added our own images or other free design elements.

The first image was set up using Social Media layout:


For the second image we used a Blog Graphic layout:

For the third we used a Facebook Cover layout:

To start off, the website asks you to set up a free account and then takes you through 5 Starter Challenges that teach you how Canva works – a great intro for students who are new to technology or to this tool. It also has a wide range of design tutorials or challenges that take users through learn-and-do scenarios, which can be great for students interested in learning more about graphic design ideas and principles.

Give it a try and let us know what you think!