Canva is a popular online graphic design tool that allows users to create visually appealing documents, presentations, and digital assets. While we typically encourage our clients to utilize a professional graphic designer with a more powerful toolkit, we understand why many people use it. Internal resources are often scarce, especially graphic designers, and just about anyone can create an attractive design with Canva.
To ensure you achieve the best possible print-ready output when using Canva, here are eight tips that will enable a better product delivered from your printing partner.
- Design in CMYK or RGB: Canva defaults to RGB colors which are ideal for digital displays. You can use CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key) which is the standard color model used in the printing industry, if so inclined. Commercial printers like DynaGraphics convert CMYK colors for the best results, which means you can use CMYK or RGB when working with a professional print partner.
- Use High-Quality Images: When incorporating images into your Canva design, it’s essential to use high-resolution images that are suitable for printing. Low-resolution images can appear pixelated or blurry when printed, detracting from the overall quality of your document. We recommend color photo resolution of at least 350 PPI for the best results.
- Leverage Vector Art: Canva is able to import SVG and Adobe Illustrator files that use vector art, which produces the highest quality graphics that scale well. If your designer uses raster art for logos or hard edge graphics, make sure to use the highest resolution available when sending them to your printer.
- Always Include Bleed and Trim: Bleed refers to the area beyond the edge of the page where images or background colors extend. It ensures that there are no white borders when the document is trimmed. Canva allows you to set up bleed areas, so make sure to extend your design elements beyond the trim edges if you want them to reach the edge of the printed page. You’ll want to check all four edges of every page and ensure elements extend 1/8 inch.
- Check Margins and Alignment: Pay close attention to the margins and alignment of your design. Ensure that important content, such as text and key images, is well within the safe zone, which is the area that won’t be cut off during the printing and trimming process. Keep important elements away from the document edges to avoid the risk of them being partially or completely trimmed.
- Optimize Text Legibility: When it comes to text, choose fonts that are clear and legible, especially when printed at smaller sizes. Avoid using highly decorative or script fonts that may be difficult to read. Additionally, ensure that there is sufficient contrast between the text and the background color to ensure readability. Colors on a digital screen will appear differently when printed and some colors ‘vibrate’ next to each other like thin text in magenta on a cyan background. Understand which combinations of text and color are difficult for readers and avoid them.
- Export in the Right Format: Once you have completed your design, it’s important to export it in the appropriate file format for printing. Canva offers options to download your design as standard PDF, print PDF, PNG, or JPEG. For printing purposes, it’s generally recommended to export as a print PDF file which has a higher resolution. PDFs maintain the design integrity and ensure that fonts and images are embedded correctly for printing.
- Print Test Copies: Before committing to printing a large batch of documents, it’s a good idea to print test copies to check the final output. Keep in mind an inexpensive desktop printer will not print with the same quality as a commercial printer, so we recommend having a print partner do this for you when possible. Make sure to inspect the test copy thoroughly, paying attention to all the design elements, text, and overall appearance before proceeding with the full print run.
To sum up, we highly recommend working with professional graphic designers and commercial printers like DynaGraphics to achieve the best print-ready results. When using design tools like Canva, make sure to follow the tips above and you’ll achieve better results for your projects.