Canva for Band Directors

Canva for Band Directors

This article was originally published in The Woman Conductor Journal, June 2023 issue. 

Graphic design skills may not be something band directors expect to need in their careers. But between concert programs, promotional posters, and award certificates, graphic design is likely something most of us have had to do. Luckily, there are some great tools available that can help with this process, one of which is Canva. Canva is an online design tool that is easy to use, regardless of prior design knowledge. This article will share tips for getting started with Canva, newer features within the platform, and some suggested uses. 

Canva for Band Directors

Getting Started With Canva

It’s easy to get started using Canva. Anyone can create an account for free by going to Free accounts include a wide range of features that would likely be plenty for a band director’s needs. However, K-12 educators are eligible to receive free Canva for Education accounts, which include most of the premium (paid) features. Go to to learn more and get verified for an educator’s account. 

Once your account is set up, you can start creating! Begin by choosing a design type, such as a poster, concert program, or presentation. From there, you can choose from one of Canva’s many templates or start from scratch. The templates help you create a visually appealing, professional-looking design, without needing the expertise of a graphic designer. You can use a template as-is, or customize it to meet your needs by changing the colors, fonts, or layout. Additionally, Canva includes many elements you can add to your design, such as backgrounds, frames, images, and shapes. You can even upload your own images into your design. 

Once your creation is complete, there are several options for sharing it. You can download it as a PDF or image file to print or share. Or you can generate a link for public viewing, so someone could view your design online. There is also the option to collaborate on your design with others, so multiple people can edit one project. 

What Else Can You Do With Canva? 

While there are way too many features to mention in one article, here are a couple of favorites that might interest band directors. Some of these features are free for everyone, others will require a premium or education account. 

  • Color Matching – No more colors that are “close enough!” When changing the color of text or certain images, you can enter a hex code to match to a specific color. You’ll also notice an eye dropper next to the hex code box. Use this to pull a color from the design. If you don’t know the hex code for a color you’d like to use, such as your school colors, use the Colorpick Eyedropper Chrome Extension to pull the hex code from anything online. 
  • Photo Editing – Edit photos to crop, adjust the color, or add various filters and effects, allowing you to customize your project.
  • Remove Background – Also in the photo editing menu is the option to remove the background from a photo or erase portions of a photo. You can even use the “Magic Edit” tool, which uses AI (artificial intelligence) to replace part of a photo with something else.
Canva's editing tools

  • Text to Image – Text to Image is another AI tool that can generate an image based on words you provide. For example, if your school mascot is a bulldog, type “bulldog playing trumpet” and Text to Image will generate an image of a bulldog playing a trumpet.
  • Brand Templates – This allows you to set up and save colors, fonts, images, and icons that you use frequently. Save time and stay on brand with everything you create. 
  • Additional Apps – There are several additional apps you use within Canva that have various features, including the ability to create QR codes, insert YouTube videos, translate your design into other languages, and even create BINGO cards! 
Design options in Canva

What to Create With Canva 

As a band director, there are many things you could use Canva for. Here are some suggestions: 

  • Concert programs – Either print or go paperless and share programs digitally with a link and QR code, both of which you can create in Canva!  
  • Concert posters and flyers 
  • Recruitment posters and flyers 
  • Social media images 
  • Videos – promote your program or advertise an upcoming event
  • Presentations – create robust and engaging presentations 
  • Award certificates 
  • Classroom posters
  • Infographics

Next time you face a design task, try Canva. Start with a template to keep things simple. Then, when you are ready, try changing things and experiment with some of the more advanced features. You might be surprised how easy and fun the experience can be! 

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