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The CrAFT Studio at UNC Asheville: Designing a Poster

Now open on Ramsey Library's Lower Level, the CrAFT Studio is a multi-use creativity studio at the intersection of technology, creativity, and scholarship.

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Designing a Poster


Designing a Poster in PowerPoint, Google Slides, Keynote, or Canva

These are basic guidelines for designing posters to be printed in the CrAFT Studio. After you've finished all of these steps, you can submit your poster for printing using our Large Format Printing Submission Form!

Step One: Set Up Your Document
  • Your poster will be created on ONE document.
  • The page size of that slide must be your desired print size. You must do this step before you create your poster.
  • To prevent cropping when printing, be sure you have at least a quarter inch (.25 inch) margin around the edges of the poster.
Set-Up: PowerPoint
  • On the Design tab of the Ribbon, locate Slide Size in the Customize group, near the far right end of the toolbar.
  • Select Slide Size, and then select Custom Slide Size. DO NOT SELECT 4:3 OR 16:9.
  • In the Height and Width boxes, type your slide dimensions followed by a space and then in for inches.
  • Click OK.
  • When PowerPoint is unable to automatically scale your content, it prompts you with two options:
    • Maximize: Select this option to increase the size of your slide content when you are scaling to a larger slide size. Choosing this option could result in your content not fitting on the slide.
    • Ensure Fit: Select this option to decrease the size of your content when scaling to a smaller slide size. This could make your content appear smaller, but you’ll be able to see all content on your slide.
Set-Up: Google Slides
  • On your computer, open a presentation in Google Slides.
  • Click File and then Page setup.
  • To pick a size, click the Down arrow. Below Custom, enter your height and width and select inches as the unit of measurement.
  • Click OK.

Set-Up: Keynote
  • In the Document sidebar, click the pop-up menu below Slide Size and choose a new size.
  • Choose Custom Slide Size and enter slide dimensions.
  • Click OK.
Set-Up: Canva
  • On the homepage banner, click the Custom size button.
  • Select inches from the left-hand drop down unit selection menu.
  • Enter the width and height for your design.
  • To start designing, click Create new design. This will open the editor.
Step Two: Design Your Poster

Now you've got the opportunity to design your poster! This can be both the fun and the hard part; we want to encourage you to have fun with the design process, but keeping some tips in mind as you work can help you when you go to print your designs in the studio.

Design Tips: Color Choices
  • Try to maintain a good contrast between the background color and the text color. This is important for printing and accessibility!
    • For ideal printing, use a white or very light color background and dark text. This will prevent major banding in the background of images and save on ink.
    • The UNC Asheville Communications and Marketing Department has a fantastic guide for official university color combinations that are WCAG compliant. While this is intended for online content, the contrast is still a great checker for print materials as well.
  • Get creative with color! Bulldog Blue is our main color at the university, but you can add accents of Night Sky, Autumn, Honey Bee, Forest, and so much more. Take a look at the official color palette for more ideas!
Design Tips: Fonts
  • Typically, you will use no more than three fonts per poster: a serif font, a sans serif font, and occasionally an accent font.
  • Typography standards from UNC Asheville Communications and Marketing recommends the following fonts:
    • Poynter Oldstyle or DM Serif Display (serif)
    • Gotham or Montserrat (sans serif)
    • Authenia (accent)
  • Sizing matters; make sure your type is large enough to read! A good way to check this is to zoom into your slide at 100% of size, step back from your screen about two feet, and see if you can read the text. That is about how far back someone will be from your poster.
Design Tips: Images
  • It is highly recommended to use the largest images you have access to for your poster. Avoid images downloaded from the web and avoid copying and pasting images instead of using the Insert command.
    • The CrAFT Studio will reject posters that use obviously watermarked images. There are lots of free, public domain, and Creative Commons licensed images available.
  • Make sure that the images you choose for your poster are high enough resolution to look clear on your poster. View images and graphs at 100%; this will let you see if the images are pixelated or blurry at all.
  • The official UNC Asheville logo is available for download and use on the Communications and Marketing website. Make sure you are using a high quality version of the logo, not one you just found on Google!
Step Three: Save Your Poster

Now it's time to save your hard work. We do ask that you submit your prints as a PDF file to lock in the formatting. Occasionally we will contact folks for their original files if something looks awry, but do not submit .pptx, .key, or .slides files as your primary submission.

Save Your Poster: PowerPoint

For Windows:

  • Select File > Export.
  • Click Create PDF/XPS Document, then click Create PDF/XPS.
  • Click Publish.

For macOS:

  • Select File > Save As.
  • Choose the location where you'd like to save your PDF, and then in the File Format menu, choose PDF.

OPTION TWO: Export File

  • Select File > Export.
  • In the File Format menu, choose PDF.

For Web:

  • Click the File tab, click Download As, and then click Download as PDF.
  • Click Download. A message bar appears to show you that the downloaded PDF file is ready to save to your computer.
  • Click Save As and save the file to your computer.
Save Your Poster: Google Slides
  • Click the File > Download > PDF Document (.pdf).
Save Your Poster: Keynote
  • Choose File > Export To, then select PDF.
  • Click Next.
  • Enter a name for your file and select a folder to save it to.
  • Click Export.
Save Your Poster: Canva
  • Click on the Download button in the top right corner.
  • Click in the File type field and select PDF Standard.
  • Click on the Download button and wait while Canva generates your PDF.
  • Depending on your computer settings, your PDF will now be saved in the ‘Downloads’ folder or opened immediately in your default PDF viewer.

Poster Templates