The Visual Identity Toolkit in Canva

What is Canva?

Canva is a website with drag-n-drop tools enabling you to easily create your own graphics to post on social media, add to your website and calendar events, submit to the campus digital signs, and more. The Digital Communications team can add department users by request. Contact Willa Jarnagin to learn more.

Amherst mammoth head logo

Use Amherst Logos and Fonts in Canva!

We’ve created a digital version of our Visual Identity Toolkit (VIT) inside Canva, providing you with instant access to our official fonts and graphics, including Mammoth logos, wordmarks, seals, and more. To request your own departmental Amherst graphics, visit our VIT and submit your request.

What About Print?

You can use Canva for informal print pieces, such as flyers or small posters. For professional print pieces in which you need high-resolution images, stick with InDesign.

Already Using Canva?

If you’ve already been using Canva under a personal email address and would like to move your designs into your new Amherst Canva team account, follow these instructions.


Getting Started

When you log in to Canva, you’ll land on the homepage. From here, you can create a design, see all your designs, or view templates. To see Amherst’s templates, click Amherst College VIT in the left-hand menu:

Canva templates screen

Creating a Design Using an Amherst Template

We’ve provided a variety of templates within Canva, which you can use and change as you need.

  1. When on the Canva homepage, you can access Amherst templates by selecting Amherst College VIT in the left-hand menu and then Templates from the top menu, or by selecting Folders in the left-hand menu and selecting the Shared with you folder.
  2. Select the template your would like to use, then click Use template from the pop-up window. This will bring you directly into the Canva editor, and the left-hand menu will change to the creation/editing tools menu containing Templates, Images, Text, Uploads, Folders, and Apps.
  3. Rename the file in the upper-right hand corner of the screen:

    A menu item saying Copy of Digital Sign Vertical Poster

  4. When in the Canva editor, you can find all Amherst photos, logos, icons and other assets by going to Folders in the left-hand column: 

    A list of folders including logos, campus photos, IT logos, seasonal and campus art and social icons Logos includes wordmarks, logos, and seals in a variety of colors to use on different backgrounds.>

    Campus Photos
    includes a variety of photos.

    Seasonal and Campus Art
    are seasonal and holiday images.

    Social icons
    are icons that have been sized to use on social media posts.

  5. You can also upload photos to your own folder. Browse photos at Amherst.edu/go/photolibrary. In Canva, go to the Uploads folder in the left-hand menu. Drag the image into the folder.

  6. To add an image to your design, click on an image or drag it into your design. If you’re adding an image to a pre-existing image space, you can simply drag the photo into the space and Canva will resize the image for you.
  7. To replace a background image, drag the new photo into the background space, where it will pop into place.
  8. When adding photos, logos, or other design elements to a template, use snap lines to align your elements. When you select an element and drag it around your document page, snap lines will appear to indicate the top, center, bottom, and margins as you pass them. Dotted lines will appear when elements align with each other.

Using Other Canva Templates

You can use any of Canva’s templates if you need a more specific design. From the Canva homepage, use the search bar to look for a design or select a category from the Create a design button menu. You can change the design to use Amherst colors and fonts, via Canva's design tools.


Using Canva’s Design Tools

Undo: To undo any steps at any time, click “Undo” in the top menu or press Command-z or Control-z on your keyboard.

Add New Text: To add more text areas, click “TEXT” in the left column. Use the “brand fonts” to get Amherst’s official typefaces. Click or drag a headline to add it to your design.

A menu showing text options for headlines, subheads and body text

Center or Align: Canva makes it easy to center content. As you’re dragging a headline or image, you’ll see a dotted line pop up when the item is centered.

Add a Shape: To add a box or other shape, go to “Elements” in the left column and choose “Shapes.”

A menu showing a number of shapes and charts

    • Click on or drag the plain white box (when you hover over it, it will say “free”) to add a simple block.
    • Resize the box by dragging its corners.

Change a Color: Select the shape or text, then choose a color from the palette, via the color button. The palette includes the official Amherst colors.

A menu or official Amherst College purples, blues, oranges and greens

Resize an Image: When adding a graphic, such as a Mammoth logo, it will likely be too large by default. Select the image and drag a corner to resize it.

    • Do NOT hold Shift while resizing. Unlike other graphics applications, Canva constrains proportions with simple dragging, but does the opposite if you hold Shift while dragging.
    • Enlarging a graphic is not recommended, as it can become blurry. That’s why we provide the graphics at large sizes.

Finesse Your Type: The Setimo font has wide spacing between the letters by default, which is fine for small type, but should be adjusted for headlines. The spacing has already been adjusted in the provided headlines within the Amherst templates, but if you’re adding a new Setimo headline, select the text and reduce the spacing via the menu.

A menu showing letter and line height spacing

Download Your Finished Graphic: When you’ve finished your design, click “Download” in the top menu to save your graphic:

  • For graphics you will upload to social media, the website, or the college event calendar, use the PNG format.
  • For digital sign posters or print pieces, use the PDF - Print format.
  • The JPG format is not usually optimal.

Additional Help

When logged in to Canva, you will see a small “Help?” icon in the lower right-hand corner of the screen. Clicking on this button brings up Canva’s help window. You can type questions directly into Canva’s search bar or use the item tree to find what you’re looking for.


A Note on Accessibility

Images—especially those with text in them—must always be made accessible to people with visual impairments or other disabilities.

  • When posting an image to the website, provide “alt” text.
  • When posting an image in an email or on social media, provide a plain-text alternative, such as a descriptive caption under the image.
  • Learn more about making content accessible.

Willa W. Jarnagin

Willa W. Jarnagin

Director of Web Design & Communications Services

Questions about Canva? Contact me to request an invitation to the Amherst Canva team, to get help using the Canva tools, or to request specific graphics.

Michael J. Reid

Michael J. Reid

Web & Digital Communications Specialist

I offer trainings to Amherst staff on Canva basics, using templates, and VIT best practices. Training announcements will appear in the Daily Mammoth.