Large banner sign on an outdoor hockey rink

How to Design a Large Outdoor Banner Using Canva

Brian Kroeker

June 6, 2024


  • Large outdoor banners are a great way to promote your business, highlight an upcoming event, show support for your sports team, and more.
  • Little Rock Printing provides effective design tips so you can create an ideal custom outdoor banner for all your business or personal needs.
  • 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 for professional printing. We offer in-house printing services, custom order sizes with no minimums, and free proofs before you submit your full order.

If you’re looking for an eye-catching print product to display outside, a large banner is a great option. Outdoor banners can help you promote your business or upcoming event, show support for your local sports team, and more. They’re easy to hang through grommets and seamed edges, plus, hanging your banner increases durability. The great part about an outdoor banner is that it’s totally customizable in size, materials, and design, so you’ll be able to create something one-of-a-kind.

Need some help getting started? Our Little Rock Printing experts can show you how to design them to achieve the most effective product possible.

See Also:

Example of a large outdoor banner by Little Rock Printing

Best Practices for Designing Effective Outdoor Banners

You want to make sure that your outdoor banner really catches your customer’s eye, so it’s important to carefully consider the layout, content, and colour scheme. Provide quick and easy details for a lasting impression.

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

  • Define Your Audience: Before designing, define your target audience and create thoughtful messaging and images that appeals to your prospective viewers. Be sure to include all pertinent information on your outdoor banner like your company, team, or event name, a slogan or headline, and any other important details.
  • 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.
    • Choose your size (our default setting is a height of 36 inches and a width of 72 inches, but we can make a variety of sizes)
    • Consider your margins and white space: allocate 10% of the banner’s height for the top and bottom margin. Ex: a 48” high sign should have a 4.8” top and bottom margin. To ensure readability and visual balance, the right and left margins should be at least as wide as one of the headline letters used in the banner.
  • Visual Appeal: Crisp colours, images, and typography are a great way to capture your viewer’s attention and ensure legibility. It’s best to use your brand or team’s current colour palette so you’re consistent with your identity.
  • Clarity: Make sure the message is easy to understand and digestible when read quickly as viewers are often on the move when they see outdoor banners. You also want the font size to be large enough so viewers can read it from a distance.
  • Call to Action: Encourage your viewers to take a specific action at the bottom or corner of your outdoor banner, like checking out your website or event details or calling a phone number for more information. Adding a QR code is a great way to make the banner actionable on the spot.

Starting With Canva

Canva is an easy place to design print products like custom outdoor banners, 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.

Outdoor banner template options in Canva

Step 1: Choose Your Template

Once you’re set up in Canva, you’ll be able to choose from an array of available template options.

If you have a Canva Pro account you can adjust the size. Simply:

  • Click the “Magic Switch” button near the top of the screen to see a list of resize options.
  • Scroll down and click “Custom Size” to add your own dimensions to the template.

You should know that Canva has a max size of about 83×33” for their banners, so if you’re designing a larger banner like 96” or 144”, you’ll need to design at half or quarter of the size. As long as your proportions are correct, you’ll still receive a high-quality print.

If you’re looking for other printed materials for your business or personal needs, we offer a variety of print-ready Canva templates here.

For Best Results:

  • Prepare the content and images for your outdoor banner in advance to help you decide which template to go with and to save you time once you start designing.
  • If you want more control over your design, consider upgrading to Canva Pro for access to premium features.
Canva's text tool for outdoor banner designs

Step 2: Customize Text For Your Outdoor Banner

Now that you’ve chosen a custom outdoor banner template (we went with a 60×36” voters education banner), add the messaging you want to include on your banner. 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 outdoor banner (your company, event, or team name, a headline or slogan, important dates, 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.

Canva's choose files tool for outdoor banners

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/event/team 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 have your URL in a prominent spot.
Canva's styles tool for outdoor banners

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. You can also go with a basic black or white background colour, allowing your other font colours and graphics to pop.

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.
Canva's download tool for outdoor banners

Step 5: Review Your Work, Save & Download PDF

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

Submitting Your Design to Little Rock for Printing

You’re almost ready to print your outdoor banners! To ensure high-quality prints, be sure to save and download your custom outdoor banner 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 submit your outdoor banner for printing, we have a variety of banner material options to choose from:

  • 13 oz. Scrim Banner: Economic and practical for outdoor use
  • 8 oz. Fence Mesh: Outdoor banners with tiny holes to allow airflow, recommended for fences
  • 12.5 oz. Super Smooth Banner: Premium banner material, used for high-quality indoor banners and banner stands

You can also choose to include seamed edges with or without pole pockets along with metal grommets every 2 feet, 1 foot, or just the 4 corners.

Real-World Examples

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

Outdoor banner for Mount Royal University's Cougar Classic printed by Little Rock Printing

This large outdoor banner was custom-designed for a golf tournament for the Mount Royal University Cougars. The athletic department wanted a clean design, so they went with the university’s colour palette with a white backdrop, allowing the event name, MRU logo, and mascot image to really pop.

Outdoor banner for real estate company Unitii printed by Little Rock Printing

Keeping with the clean and clear outdoor banner design, we printed this custom outdoor banner for Calgary-based real estate company Unitii. The banner reflects the company’s brand identity by matching its simple black-and-white colour palette and calling out three project types to define the brand overall.

Trust Little Rock Printing For All Your Print Materials

It’s easy to print without limits when you partner with Little Rock—we print everything in-house! Design your large outdoor banner, then choose from our material options and add-ons 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 outdoor banners work for your business or personal needs.

Frequently Asked Questions About Custom Outdoor Banners

What Can I Use a Large Outdoor Banner For?

Outdoor banners are a great way to promote something or someone in a large space. A few examples include:

  • Showing support for sports team
  • Promoting a local event or fundraiser
  • Enhancing fenced-in building projects by promoting your business with an attractive banner

How Can I Customize My Outdoor Banners with Little Rock Printing?

We offer several different options to make your outdoor banners unique. Choose from three material types to fit your banner needs, plus decide whether to add grommets (and how many) or seamed edges for easy hanging.

What Difference Do Seamed Edges Make For Banners?

Seamed edges increase the durability of banners, especially when they have grommets for hanging (since these areas will be placed under additional stress). Adding a seamed edge also creates a thicker feeling around the edges and provides a more premium look.

Can You Print Two-Sided Banners?

To maintain the clarity of your designs, we don’t recommend printing on both sides of a single sheet—but we can create custom two-sided banners by attaching two separate sheets together.

If you need a custom banner with design work on both sides, please email [email protected]. We’ll be happy to provide you with an accurate quote for the final product.

What Margins Should I Consider For a Banner?

When designing banners, it’s important to consider margins and white space. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Top and Bottom Margins: A recommended rule of thumb is to allocate 10% of the banner’s height as the top and bottom margin. For instance, if you have a 48″ high sign, it should ideally have a 4.8″ top and bottom margin.
  • Right and Left Margins: To ensure readability and visual balance, the right and left margins should be at least as wide as one of the main font characters used in the banner. This guideline helps maintain proper spacing and prevents the text from feeling cramped.

By incorporating appropriate margins and white space, you can enhance the overall aesthetics and legibility of your banners.

What Do I Need to Know About Grommets?

Here’s everything you need to know about adding grommets to your outdoor banners:

  • Our #2 grommets have a proven track record of durability. They measure 3/4″ on the outside with a 1/2″ diameter hole.
  • The smooth inside edges of our metal grommets minimize chafing and lower the risk of cutting the material used to hang the sign.
  • Each grommet is installed approximately 1” off from the edge, ensuring a smooth and uniform installation.
  • The 1″ offset spacing provides optimal material for the grommets to grip onto, making the bond stronger and less likely to tear under stress.
  • For outdoor installations, we highly recommend selecting the ‘hemmed edges’ option. Hemmed edges reinforce the entire banner, offering double thickness for each grommet to bite into, resulting in the strongest grommet hole possible.
  • The grommets are typically recommended every 2 feet around all four edges for most applications. For small banners, customers can choose to just have the grommets in the corners.

At Little Rock Printing, we strive to provide reliable and robust grommets for your banner needs.

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