Updated: Oct 17
Canva first launched in 2013 to inspire millions of people with no design skills to produce a wide range of designs using online design publishing tools. They started to give users the ability to design anything and anywhere.
Today, Canva is in 190 countries and used by 60 plus million users globally and employs over 2000 employees. As an Australian Company, they have truly reached great heights and received incredible accolades.
Canva has become an EXCELLENT DIY design tool, perfect for small businesses starting out or small teams looking to house all their designs in one location.
In fact, we even use Canva ourselves to curate, schedule, store & fulfill our simpler social media publishing needs – Amazing right?!
As an Australian printing company, we get HEAPS of Canva designs sent our way, and with this we get asked a whole bunch of questions around preparing Canva designs to be ‘ready for print’.
Now, whilst Canva is an awesome design tool, it doesn’t quite offer all the capabilities that proper design tools offer to create print ready artwork, particularly preparing files for large format printing, such as outdoor banners, posters, flags & a wide range of other signage.
Why? You might be asking…
Well, there are several reasons for this:
Resolution – Resolution refers to the pixel quality of the design when scaled to a larger size. Often designs that come from Canva have been designed for use on a screen (phone, tablet or monitor) and therefore, the design components aren’t created as vectors (read more about this here), resulting in a pixelated or ‘fuzzy’ finish.
Templates – Often when people use the various templates available on Canva for print items such as flyers, business cards, postcards and so on; they don’t always comply with the print industry ‘standard sizing’. This means a lot of the designs we receive don’t fit correctly or are the wrong proportions.
Size Limitations – If you are using Canva to design a large banner or sign, often you are unable to size the Canva design to the correct dimensions of your banner, as Canva has a size limit. This means you may need to half the dimensions of the banner and design it at 50%, which again, can create resolution issues.
Colours – A lot of the colour set-up in Canva is designed to suit screens, meaning it uses an RGB (Red, Blue, Green) colour format or Hex code, rather than the standard CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) used by most printers for their printing equipment.
Design Components – Canva isn’t always compatible with the design programs that are used to pre-press artwork, which is usually the Adobe or Corel Suites. Often when we receive Canva artwork in a pdf and we open in our design program the fonts disappear as they haven’t been created as a shape. Additionally, the shapes or objects used are often created using lots of layers and masks, meaning it is challenging to separate the pieces in order to modify.
BUT, this doesn’t mean it’s not worth using!
Here are some ways we suggest using Canva for print:
Mock-ups - Often clients will mock-up their desired design in Canva and we are able to use this as a guide or ‘design brief’ for us to be able to create or re-create print-ready version(s). This is an excellent way to communicate your brief and makes our job a LOT easier!
Store Your Designs – You can use Canva to easily store logos, colours, typefaces, images or designs you get printed regularly. By sharing these with us, we can assist in advising, re-creating or exporting your designs appropriately.
Small Printing - In some cases smaller prints like business cards, flyers and documents can easily be printed from a Canva design… they simply require some assistance in exporting correctly and that’s what we are here for!
Here are some Canva tips for exporting your file for print:
Bleed – If you are exporting your design for print it is VERY important to include bleed. Luckily, Canva makes it nice and easy for you, but showing a ‘print-ready pdf’ dropdown option when you go to export. Under that, it also displays a ‘bleed’ tick box, it is important to select this.
Trim Marks – If you are exporting your design for print and it is SMALLER than an A4 (210x297mm) it is important to include trim marks. Similar to bleed, Canva makes it nice and easy for you, but showing a ‘print-ready pdf’ dropdown option when you go to export. Under that, it also displays a ‘trim-marks’ tick box, it is important to select this.
Pdf – ALL print files exported from Canva MUST be as a pdf. This is the standard file type for print.
If this is WAY too overwhelming… don’t stress!
This is where our excellent design team comes in!
If you require assistance in re-sizing, editing or exporting your Canva design correctly, you are more than welcome to add our team as a collaborator using the email ‘email@example.com’.
We also have an excellent design team who can comfortably transform your request and design brief and turn it into a fantastic piece, delivering your message the way you envisage!
To make your life easy, we have decided to put together a blog of ALL things Print & Canva. We hope that this helps you with your artwork and design needs.