How to Create Digital Signage on Canva
All successful businesses know the importance of creating aesthetically pleasing graphics. In the past, these graphics would typically be printed on paper or static signs, but now we have entered the age of digital signage.
Digital signage allows you to display eye-catching and aesthetically pleasing graphics for all sorts of uses from memos to employees, event promotions, signs outside your restaurant, or wayfinding material in your airport or hotel lobby.
This generation, more than ever, appreciates high-quality, visually pleasing design. By using digital signage with its dynamic functionality, it has never been easier to catch the eye of your intended audience.
Of course, one may be worried about integrating digital signage because, well, it involves design, and many people are unfamiliar with digital design tools. Becoming proficient with a design tool like Adobe Illustrator can take a lot of time. Luckily, there are other options that are easy without requiring that you sacrifice quality.
One of the best ways to create digital signage content is by using the website Canva. Canva is a free, easy-to-use, design tool that allows even beginners to make great-looking graphics. In this article, we will go over all the steps you must go through to design your perfect digital content for digital signage on Canva.
How to Create Digital Signage Designs on Canva
Step one: Create an Account
To get started with Canva, you will first need to create an account. Canva is totally free, so there is absolutely no risk in giving it a try, and of course, there is the potential for ample reward. There are multiple ways that you can create an account.
Creating an account with an email address:
1. From the signup page, choose the email option.
2. Enter the email address you’d like to use Canva for.
3. Set a secure password.
4. Verify your email address by following the steps in the email we’ll send you.
5. Enter the confirmation code from the email you received.
After completing these steps, you are all set!
Creating an account with your Facebook, Google, Apple or other methods:
You can use one of your other accounts (Facebook, Google, Apple, and others) to create a Canva account.
From the signup or login page, choose Log in/Continue with... . You may have to log in or enter authentication codes related to your chosen account if prompted.
The list of methods that are currently supported are as follows:
Phone or mobile number
You will have the option to either make a personal account or a business account. If you make a personal account, then only you will have access to the account.
However, if you create a business account, you can add team members to the account so that you and your team can engage in seamless collaboration and centralize all of the design work for your brand onto one account.
If you are going to make Canva your go-to site for creating your digital signage design, then you may also want to consider upgrading your account to Canva pro which offers a 30 day free trial and then costs approximately 30 dollars a month afterward.
If you are just getting started and are not sure about Canva, then you can leave the decision to upgrade or not when you are more familiar with the platform.
Step 2: Get Familiar With the Site
One of the best things to do when approaching a new design tool like Canva is to familiarize yourself with the site.
When you first log into Canva, there will be pop-ups that help explain what certain things do, you can browse the templates they offer to get inspiration, and you can see all the different types of design work that Canva allows you to do from creating logos to creating memes.
Sometimes the best way to learn a new design tool is to just mess around for a little bit. Of course, many of you will just want to get right down to business, so that’s exactly what we are going to do with the next step.
Step 3: Create a Design
If you are using Canva on your desktop, you will see that right in the upper-hand corner of the home screen, there is a purple button that says create a design.
You will be prompted to specify what type of design, but the first step is actually to decide upon the dimensions of your design. From the drop-down menu, you will see in the bottom left corner a button that says “Custom Size.”
After pressing this button, you will be prompted to specify the width and the height of your design. If you are making a design to be shown on a television screen, then you will want to enter 1920x1080 for the dimensions because this is the standard TV dimension. If you are planning to display the design on a different digital sign (and there are many other options than just TVs), then you will have to type in the dimensions appropriate for that screen.
Getting the dimensions right is an incredibly important step because it will have a large impact on the look of your design. If you make a design in the wrong dimension and you think it looks great, there is no guarantee that it will look as good when you switch it to the correct dimension, and you certainly don’t want to waste time creating a whole design just to find that you made one tiny mistake when delineating the dimensions.
Once you have typed in the dimensions, you will be prompted to create a design, and this will take you to the part of the website where you actually create your designs.
Step 4: Figuring Out Your Message
While you are certainly more than welcome to start playing around with the various Canva design functionalities at this point, you will want to take a step back when it's time to start crafting the perfect image for your brand.
At this point, it's time to take out the pen and paper and start thinking about your brand and your brand’s aesthetics, as well as the message that you want to be sent to people who see the design lit up on the digital signage screen.
You will want to consider the type of vibe that you want this design to give off. This will involve considering what colors best fit your brand image, as well as the text that will accompany it. These can vary greatly, and there is no harm in trying things out to see if they work. Nevertheless, it is generally a good idea to have the answers to a few basic questions in mind when preparing to make your design.
1. Who is my intended audience?
2. What do I want my audience to feel or think about when they see this design?
3. Does my brand already have an established aesthetic? And if so, what is that aesthetic?
4. Is my design meant to be entertaining, informational, both, or something else entirely?
If you have these questions answered, then you should be ready to take the next step.
Step 5: Select a Background Image
Canva has thousands of images for you to choose from. If you don’t see something you like, try searching Google and upload the image from your desktop into your Canva dashboard (be sure to check the image’s license).
Alternatively, you may not want an image in the background at all. Instead, you might simply want a color. Canva makes this incredibly easy. At the top left corner of the workspace, there will be a square. When you hover the mouse above the square, the text: “Background Color” will appear. You simply click on this box and select a color among the many background colors that Canva has to offer.
Step 6: Apply a Filter
If you have chosen an image as your background, you will very likely want to add a filter to that image. Often, adding a filter to your background image will help create a more professional feel (not to mention make your text pop).
Luckily, Canva makes this easy. All you have to do is click on the image you have selected as your background image. Once you click on the image, an editor toolbar will appear at the top of the workspace. Select “Edit Image” and then select “Filter.” You will then be presented with a variety of filters that you can apply to your image.
There are other functions that the editing toolbar allows that will help make your background image look just the way that you want it to. You can adjust brightness and contrast, as well as saturation and tint.
We suggest that you mess around with the editing toolbar so that you can get the hang of all of the great features that it has to offer. You want your design to look perfect, and luckily, Canva provides you with the tools you need to achieve that.
Step 7: Add Text
Canva offers a large variety of pre-made text formats, which you can choose and customize with options for size, font, color, transparency, and even spacing.
A lot of beginner designers do not fully realize the importance of the font that is chosen. In fact, the font and style can say just as much about the brand as the images chosen or the actual words spelled out in the text. A well-chosen font can really make your brand unique, so this is not something that you will simply want to brush over.
Step 8: Write the Text
Once you have chosen the text style that you want for your design, it is time to write your message. It is considered best practice to try and make your message clear and concise, while still maintaining the voice and personality of your brand.
People simply don’t have time to read long paragraphs, so if you are trying to make your message stand out and have an impact, keep the number of words to the minimum.
Once you have written the message, it is always a good idea to go back to the text editor to make sure that the font and the sizing of the lettering look good with the actual words that you have written.
It is important to remember that although this step-by-step guide proceeds in a linear fashion, the actual design process will most likely involve a back and forth between the various steps, as you get a better and better picture of how you want the design to look as a whole.
Step 9: Add Additional Images and Text
One of the great things about Canva is that you can add additional text and additional images as you see fit.
Step 10: Upload your logo
To make your advertisement or promotion on-brand, we recommend adding your logo. To insert your logo, select “uploads” on the left sidebar.
Then, just drag and drop your logo wherever you’d like. You can upload images into Canva from your desktop, Facebook, or even Google Drive. Remember, it is quite possible and easy to make your logo in Canva!
Step 11: Download Your Image
When you’re finished with your graphic, click the “download” button in the top right-hand corner of your dashboard. Select “image” and the graphic will be automatically downloaded to your desktop. Now, with the right digital signage solution, you should have no problem getting that design out into the world and on the screen.
It's Not So Hard to Make Great Looking Designs
There are so many advantages of using digital signage that it's no wonder that so many people are interested in integrating a digital signage system into their stores. Of course, many people see a barrier because they are not design experts.
However, Canva gives people with design experience from beginner to advanced the ability to easily make great-looking images for their digital screens.
And remember, the design process can be a lot of fun, so always feel free to experiment with features on Canva that are beyond the scope of this article. Good luck, and happy designing!