Creating AWESOME Displays & Signs for Your Classroom, School, and Other Professional Capacities

Hey All!

Are you getting psyched for NAEA2016? I know I am!

But, before my plane leaves for Chicago, I have an Art Show to hang, host, and tear down! I, not unlike many of you, am clearly insane. As part of the preparation for the Art Show, I designed project overview fliers to display alongside student work. I want the viewers to understand what the students are studying, what they are creating and why. I uploaded a sneak-peek of these fliers to my Instagram account (follow me at @artfulartsyamy) and many of you contacted me wanting to know what program I used to create them. . .

Allow me to introduce you to Canva!

Canva is a fun (and free) online design application. It “enables anyone to be a designer.” Essentially, Canva is a super-intuitive, drag-and-drop design program that offers users the option to design from scratch or edit using a wide variety of templates. When you finish a design, you can easily export your creation as either a PNG or PDF file. Notice I keep using the word “easy.” Canva is EASY to use. If you are thinking to yourself, “I don’t have time to learn a new program” then think-again. I would argue that you don’t have time to keep fighting with counter-intuitive word-processing programs when what you need is a design program.

If you’re old-school like me. . .Think of Canva as the younger, hipper, and more sophisticated niece of Print Shop Deluxe. Oh yeah, remember that program?!

Here’s a brief overview of how to get started.

1. Go to Canva and create a login
2. You will get a menu that looks like this (see below). And, yeah, those are a just few of the format options Canva offers. You can pick anything from a social media template to a resume template.

3. Click to pick a template.
4. Add and delete items to create your design. There are tons of cool fonts and font headers. 
5. Canva has tons of images you can inset. However, I find their library can be a little glitchy at times to search and some of their images have a cost to use (like $1; totally worth it btw). I’m a bit of a control freak, so I just upload my own images for free (yup, Canva allows you to do that too). You can upload JPG or PNG files. I prefer to use transparent PNG files because they look cleaner, but you can use either. Also, I like to use Pixlr to create my own images and then import those images into Canva. See, total control freak over here. In the image below, you can see some of the images I have uploaded. 
5. Canva automatically saves, but I like to still click on “file” and then “save” just to make sure. When you’re done, just click on “download” in the upper right corner and select your output. 
And, that’s it! See how easy it is?! 
I’ve had Canva for about a year and so far I’ve made:
-backgrounds for professional presentations
-sales cards to house my for-sale jewerly
-thank-you cards
-student fliers
-display fliers
-signs for school
-business cards
-other fun graphics
While Canva is free, you can  pay a monthly fee to access more features. About a week ago I upgraded because I use the program so often. One of the perks of the upgrade is you can click a button to automatically copy a design and reformat it into a different size. For instance, I took my jewelry cards and clicked a button to translate the design into a size and format for a thank-you card. Canva did ALL the work. It is such a time saver because instead of re-designing something, I can take an existing design, click to resize, and then tweak it to suit my new needs. GAME-CHANGER!
Here are a few of my Canva designs

Fine Arts Night Program

Graphic for Professional Development Presentation
reserved seating sign for school performances (made in about 2 minutes)

Project Display Flier for Art Show

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