Creating Academic Posters with Canva

poster example

  • Pre-workshop activities: 20 min
  • Introductory presentation: 15 min
  • Hands-on activities: 50 min


Posters are an expressive medium that can be used to engage an audience by communicating sometimes complex information in a simplified form. Within the academic community, research posters are commonly used to deliver the main points of a research project quickly and easily at a conference or event. Research posters summarize information or research into a concise, visually appealing format, which helps publicize the information and generate discussion.

Why Canva?

Canva is a free graphic design tool that helps users create customizable posters, brochures, cards, social media posts and more. Canva has numerous templates and features that can act as inspiration and can be changed according to your goals. This tool is web-based and works like Google Docs but for layout with design elements. It auto-saves your work so you can work across multiple computers and collaborate with teammates. Canva has a free and a premium tier. This workshop goes over how to utilize the free tools within Canva. Even on the free side of Canva, there are options to use pay-as-you-go elements (clip art and photos) but they aren’t necessary to design excellent work in this software.

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to do the following by the end of this workshop:

  • Be able to find an appropriate poster template
  • Be aware of how to format text in a poster template so it is appropriately sized and formatted
  • Be able to import photos and logos in Canva
  • Be able to create charts in Canva
  • Be aware of the importance of photo resolution when printing large posters
  • Be able to create a QR code
  • Be able to change the poster size in Canva

Attendees can apply the skills learned in this workshop to the other layouts available on Canva.

NEXT STEP: Pre-Workshop Activities