Canva is one of the coolest online design apps I’ve run across, and best of all it is completely free to use (FYI, there are some non-essential in-app purchases). There are a multitude of applications you can use for your band’s business but below I’ve outlined how to use it to design your band’s tees. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions!
Log in or Signup for Canva
Go to Canva.com and signup for free or log in if you’re an existing user.
You’ll be directed to your home screen. Here you can access any saved documents as well as a wide range of really cool templates. (Be sure to check those out if you haven’t already – great stuff for concert promotion fliers, social media banners, and a ton of other options). Since we’re creating a screen print design today we’re going to stick with one color, flat artwork. See my tips on designing for screen print here.
Click on the [Use custom dimensions] button in the top right corner and enter your desired dimensions. We’re going to use 12 inches wide by 10 inches high as our standard front of tee placement size. Then click [Design!]
Creating a New Design
You will be directed to your new design. The interface is really simple to use so just spend a little bit of time moving things around and get comfortable with the system. From here you can add text, elements, backgrounds, or upload your own design. You can also change the overall layout by clicking on any of the options shown. A lot of elements, fonts, and backgrounds are free but some premium items will be listed with their price, usually around $1.
Uploading an Image
To upload your own images or design click on [Uploads]. You can drag and drop you files into this window, upload from Facebook, or select the files using the [Upload your own images] button. You can also access any images you have purchased from Canva.
Placing Graphics and Text
Clicking on the [Elements] tab will show you all the extras Canva has to offer. You can choose from a wide variety of shapes, icons, charts, lines, illustrations, and photos to create your design with.
Simply click on the element you want to use and it will drop onto your canvas. When you click on the element you will be given scaling and editing options and you can also drag it around and change where it is placed on your canvas.
To add text simply click on the [Text] tab. You’ll see many template options to work with that you can edit to personalize to your band.
Click on the font or template you with to use and it will drop into your canvas. You can click the font box to access the editing options for that font. You can also scale and move fonts just like you do with graphics.
Changing the name of your design
If you want to change the name of your file before you download it you can click on the name of the design in the toolbar tab. A drop down window will appear and you can change the name to whatever suits you.
Downloading Finished Design
When you are satisfied with your design and are ready to download for printing click on the [Download] button in the toolbar along the top of the screen. You’ll see a drop down and you want to click on [PDF for print].
Your download will begin with a status bar
You’ll see this alert when your design is ready and you’ll be able to access it wherever your downloads are normally sent.
Saving Your Document For Next Time
I find it really helpful to save my work as templates when I know I will be coming back with new work to do. A great feature of Canva is that it auto-saves your work, but if you want to also save a draft yourself you can do that by clicking on [File] in the toolbar and click on [Save]. You can also resize your canvas from this menu if you need to.
Time To Print!
Now you have your merch tee design ready to be transferred onto a screen print screen and printed onto a ton of t-shirts your fans can’t wait to buy. Was this post helpful to you? Let me know in the comments below!
Hi! I‘m Anne! I’m an artist and designer who loves to create bright, bold prints.
After earning my BFA in Printmaking and Photography I worked as a graphic artist and screen print designer for almost five years.
The combination of my education and professional experience and my passion for empowering kickass women lead me to create RockYourMerch.com Let’s make some incredible work together!
Through RockYourMerch.com I will be launching a new online course on screen printing for indie musicians.