Online Graphic Design for Teachers – Part 1: Canva

Online graphic design used to be for the pros, but there are some great design sites and apps that can really help teachers create professional-looking graphics, flyers, or brochures without the major hassle or getting a graphic design degree.

1Canva is one of my favorites. I’ve created a number of infographics on this site (like the one to the right), and it’s completely free (except to use some copyrighted images) and very easy to use. Canva also has a number of really great tools for teachers. Here are a few of the highlights:

1. Tutorials

The layout may seem a little daunting at first, but by going to the Tutorials page, you can quickly learn how to lay out some awesome graphics, how to use their editor, and how to download high-quality images to use. There’s even some lessons in there about graphic design best practices to stay professional.


2. Specific Image Sizing for Social Media

One of the primary uses that teachers will have for graphic design services like this will be to create images for a website, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media outlet. So, when you go to create an image, it will bring up templates in specific sizes based on their use. This is a great way to keep from getting all the way to the end of your project and realizing that you need a different image size.

3. Templates, Templates, Templates!

Every project needs a starting point, and Canva does a great job providing templates. They have sample designs for every occasion and are updating all the time. If you click on “Explore Templates”, you will be brought to a page that has categories on the left and the templates to choose from on the right. They are beautiful and professional designs that teachers can easily make their own.

4. The Extensive Toolbar has a great toolbar full of design elements that will expand your ability to design a great image. While designing your image, on the left side of the screen is the toolbar that is the hub for your design elements. They have a huge number of free (and pay-for-use) elements like grids or illustrations, shapes, charts, text and a seemingly limitless list of items to use in your design.

One thing that Canva has that some other design sites do not, is the ability to upload logos or other images to use in the design. At the bottom of that toolbar is the “Upload” tab. There you can upload transparent .png images to use as logos. This is a great way to personalize your design.

5. Easy Sharing and Downloading

Once you’re done designing your image, Canva has a number of tools for sharing and downloading. You can share the design with other Canva members and work together, or you can download it to either jpg, png, or pdf. The images are the size that you designated at the beginning and they are free of watermarks.  screenshot

Overall, Canva is an awesome product with a short learning curve and great results. This is a fantastic way to spruce up your website, class syllabus, or bulletin board.

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