Custom yellow and white posters printed at Little Rock Printing

How to Design Custom Posters Using Canva

Brian Kroeker

March 25, 2024


  • Custom posters are a versatile marketing tool for your business and can be used to promote special products, upcoming events, and more.
  • Little Rock Printing™ provides free Canva templates and design tips so you can create an ideal custom poster for your business.
  • Keep the design simple and clean, with eye-catching yet readable fonts, an on-brand colour palette, and other fully-customizable design elements.
  • When you’re finished with your design in Canva, submit your files to Little Rock Printing™ for professional printing. We offer in-house printing services, custom order sizes with no minimums, and free proofs before you submit your full order.

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Looking for a versatile marketing tool? Custom posters can help bring awareness to your business and allow you to stand out in a crowd. Whether you’re using a poster to announce sales and discounts, an event promotion, a product advertisement, or simply sharing your brand’s values and mission—custom posters can be used for whatever your business needs.

Read more: How to Design Custom Poster Boards Using Canva

Custom posters are also great for personal, motivational, and educational uses. The sky’s the limit on what you can use a custom poster for and our experts at Little Rock Printing™ can show you how to design them to achieve the most eye-catching product possible.

See Also:

Best Practices for Designing Effective Custom Posters

One of the most important parts of designing a custom poster is the layout. Many people may only glance at a poster as they walk by it, so you want to make sure your design is eye-catching enough that they want to stop and read more. Provide quick and easy details and a call to action for a lasting impression.

For an effective custom poster design, we recommend focusing on these areas:

  • Define Your Audience: Before designing, define your target audience and create thoughtful messaging that appeals to your prospective customers. Be sure to include all pertinent information on your posters like your company name, a headline, contact information, product details, and more.
  • Choose Your Specs: Depending on the message you want to convey, choose the size and space you’ll need to tell your story in a clean and creative way.
    • Determine the orientation of your custom poster: portrait (vertical) or landscape (horizontal)
    • Choose your size (we offer a variety of options, but our most common sizes are 16×20, 18×24, 20×30, 24×24, and 24×36)
  • Visual Appeal: Crisp colours, images, and typography are a great way to capture your viewer’s attention. It’s best to use your current colour palette so you’re consistent with your brand’s identity.
  • Clarity: Make sure the message is easy to understand and digestible. Clear and concise information is crucial.
  • Call to Action: Encourage your viewers to take a specific action at the end of your custom poster, whether it’s checking out your website, following your company on social media, or purchasing tickets for an event. Adding a QR code is a great way to make the poster actionable on the spot.

Starting With Canva

Canva is an easy place to design print products like custom posters, plus it’s free to use! To get started, create your free Canva account and click the “Sign Up” button in the upper-right corner.

Canva custom poster templates from Little Rock Printing

Step 1: Choose Your Template

Little Rock Printing™ offers five free Canva templates for custom posters as well as many other popular print products.

To get started, select the template you want to customize then click “Use template for new design”. You’ll be taken to Canva where you can start designing your custom poster.

For Best Results:

  • Prepare the content and images for your poster in advance to help you decide which template to go with and save time once you start designing.
  • If you want more control over your design, consider upgrading to Canva Pro for access to premium features.
Editing the text box in Canva for a custom poster design

Step 2: Customize Text For Your Poster

Now that you’ve chosen a custom poster template (for this example we’re using our 16×20” template), add the messaging you want to include on your poster. Replace the placeholder text with your own and remove or add any text boxes as needed.

For Best Results:

  • Remember all the information that you want to include on your poster (company name, important dates, prices, contact information, etc.).

Leave enough space in your design so that the text doesn’t feel too crowded. You also want to allow space to add your company logo, images, or other graphics (including a QR code).

Importing files into Canva for a custom poster design

Step 3: Insert Hi-Res Images or Graphics

After you’ve picked a template and edited the text, you’ll want to insert any images, logos, graphics, or QR codes. If your selected Canva template came with a stock image, simply right-click and select “Delete” to remove it.

To add an image or graphic, click on the “File” tab on the top left of the screen then select “Import Files”. Click “Choose Files” or simply drag and drop the files from your desktop.

Once your photo or graphic has been uploaded, you may need to go back and fix any spacing issues surrounding the image.

For Best Results:

  • Keep images simple but punchy and choose something that aligns with your current brand and style.
  • Be sure your logo and company name are prominent.
  • Make sure all raster images have resolutions of 300 dpi or better and have them saved to your computer ahead of time.
  • If you’re not including a QR code linking to your website, be sure to add your URL in a prominent spot, typically near the end of the poster, along with any contact information.
Choosing a colour palette in Canva for a custom poster design

Step 4: Customize Design Elements

Once all of your basic details are laid out, you can start playing around with design elements like the colour palette and backgrounds. There’s also a section in Canva called “Styles” where you can choose from pre-made colour palettes.

For Best Results:

  • Choose a background colour or texture that suits your brand and message.
  • Use readable fonts and ensure the text is clear and easy to understand with your colour palette.
Downloading a PDF print in Canva for a custom poster design

Step 5: Review Your Work, Save & Download PDF

Once you’re happy with your custom poster design, take one last review of your project. This is a good time to look for any typos, errors, or inconsistencies before you submit your final product.

Submitting Your Design to Little Rock Printing™ for Printing

You’re almost ready to print your posters! To ensure high-quality prints, be sure to save and download your custom posters in a print-friendly format like PDF. There’s even an option in Canva to select “PDF Print” specifically for printing purposes.

Follow these easy steps to prep for printing:

  • Go to “Share” in the upper right corner.
  • Select “Download” from the dropdown menu.
  • Choose “PDF Print” under “File Type.”
  • Include “Crop marks and bleeds.”
  • Choose “Flatten PDF.”
  • Opt for “CMYK” under “Colour Profile.” (This does require Canva Pro)
  • Click the “Download” button to export as a PDF.

When you’re ready to place your order, you’ll choose between two material types:

  • 8 MIL photo satin: for professional photos, art, or point-of-purchase posters.
  • 28# uncoated: for posters that need to be written on or that have a lighter, softer design.

Real-World Examples

Need some inspiration for your custom poster? Take a look at some awesome design options that we printed in-house!

Custom poster for the women's hockey team at Trinity Western University printed by Little Rock Printing

This bright and bold custom poster was designed to promote the women’s hockey team at Trinity Western University. The poster detailed the team’s upcoming games, including the date, time and location. There’s also a QR code for viewers to purchase tickets and get more information on their phone.

Custom New York City posters printed by Little Rock Printing

Simple yet eye-catching, these custom posters highlight famous streets and areas around New York City. They would look great in an NYC-themed bar, restaurant, or even decor inside someone’s home.

Print the Best Posters for Your Business with Little Rock Printing™

It’s easy to print without limits when you partner with Little Rock Printing™. Design your one-of-a-kind poster, then choose from our sizing and material options for the highest quality product possible.

Contact the Little Rock Printing™ experts if you have questions about your specific order, or check out the FAQ section below for more details on making custom posters work for your business.

Enter Your Email to Get a Free Sample Paper Kit

And also get 15% off your first order!

Get Started

Frequently Asked Questions About Custom Posters

How Can My Business Use Custom Posters?

Posters are a great way to market special promotions, products, and services or highlight an upcoming event. Consider using custom posters for your business when you want to promote:

  • The launch of a new product or service
  • A sale or promotion with a limited-time offer
  • An upcoming event at your business or school
  • A new location opening or reopening

Posters, Poster Boards & Art Prints: What’s the Difference?

We offer high-quality printing for all posters, poster boards, and art prints. However, each of these products are better for some applications than others:

  • Posters are ideal for blowing up photographs and are typically meant to be mounted indoors
  • Poster Boards are excellent for displaying text and graphic design work and are commonly used for indoor or outdoor signage
  • Art Prints are best for capturing the texture and vibrant colors of rich, complex images and are best for more sensitive indoor environments

Can I Put Multiple Poster Designs in the Same Order?

Yes! As long as your designs are the same size and ordered at the same time.

To place multiple poster designs in the same order, choose the total number of posters for all orders above when placing your order online. Then, send all design files to [email protected] and specify the breakdown for each (for example, 4 designs with 10 copies each).

How Do I Order Proofs?

Easy—we don’t have a minimum order size, so you can just place an order for a single custom poster and make sure it’s what you want before ordering the rest! We also offer a free hard-copy proof at checkout for orders over $100.

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