Canva is a great tool for creating designs if you don’t have access to professional design software like the Adobe Creative Suite or Affinity.
The main drawback is that it can only export in RGB, whereas we need data to be CMYK to print. For Canva files we can do the conversion for you as long as you accept that colours may become duller after the conversion as bright RGB tones cannot be produced in CMYK.
With that in mind following the instructions below will get your data as close as possible to being print ready.
Using Canva templates vs. Using Custom Dimensions
Canva has wide selection of templates to choose from, although when using them you will be limited to certain sizes.
The most useful template sizes are:
- Business Card* (85x55mm)
- Card (148x105mm / A6)
- Flyer (210x297mm / A4)
* Note that Canva’s business card size is different to the standard Japanese business card size (91x55mm), so when using a Canva template make sure to specify that it is 85x55mm when ordering.
If you want to create a custom size not available on Canva, then you will have to start from scratch with the “use custom dimensions” option.
Using Canva temples:
Make sure that text and logos aren’t too close to the edge. We recommend keeping important objects at least 3~5mm inside the cutlines. As Canva doesn’t have guides you have to guess a little, so it’s better to be generous with your margins.
To give you some idea here are what 5mm margins look like at business card, A6 and and A4 size:
When your design is ready, click on the “download” button at the top, make sure the file type is set to “PDF – Print”, check the box that says “Crop Marks and Bleed” and click download.
Once you have downloaded the PDF, open it and make sure that the bleed is set up correctly. If the background stretches to the edge of the crop marks like the example on the right below, then you are ready to order. If the background stops before the crop marks like the example on the left below, then it’s likely that the template you are using doesn’t include bleed. We can fix it for you by stretching out the edges in Photoshop for an art-working fee of ¥500 (let us know if you want us to do this when ordering).
Using Custom Dimensions:
Follow these instructions when you want to create a size not possible with Canva’s templates.
- Click the “Use custom dimensions” button.
- In the resulting pop-up make sure the units are set to mm.
- Enter your dimensions making sure to include 3mm of bleed on each side.
E.g. if you want to make a standard Japanese business card the final print size will be 91x55mm, so adding 3mm to each side means the total size including bleed should be 97x61mm.
Just like when using the Canva templates, you’ll need to make sure that text and logos aren’t too close to the edge. This time though the design area includes bleed, so you’ll need to be even more generous with your margins (at least 6~8mm).
Here are what 8mm margins look like at business card, A6 and and A4 size: (the red colour is the bleed, the yellow the safety zone)
When your design is ready, click on the “download” button at the top, make sure the file type is set to “PDF – Print”, leave “Crop Marks and Bleed” unchecked and click download.
Have a quick check of the resulting PDF to make sure everything looks OK and then you’ll be ready to place your order.