Design an Impressive Cycle Diagram with Canva

Make a cycle diagram to show how one event flows to another using Canva’s online diagram tools.
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Painting with a Twist
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City of Los Angeles

Cycle diagram maker features

Cycle diagrams are used for all sorts of processes and series of events. You can use one to show the flow of money in an economy, the way resources move through a production process, or the life cycle of an idea. The key to a cycle diagram is that there is no beginning or end, one step follows another repeatedly.

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How to make a cycle diagram

  1. Launch Canva - Open Canva and search for "Cycle Diagram" to start your design project.
  2. Choose a cycle diagram template - Browse our gallery of cycle diagrams and choose a template that best fits the cyclical process you want to visualize. Filter the results by style or theme, then click on your chosen template.
  3. Apply your data - Fill in each section of the cycle diagram template with the corresponding phase or step of a cyclical process. Add more sections as needed. Label each section and add definitions or explanations. Give your cycle diagram a title, too.
  4. Personalize your cycle diagram - Add as many arrows as your cycle diagram needs. Customize the colors to distinguish each section, or apply your brand colors. You can also add illustrations and photos from our free media library.
  5. Download and share - Download your cycle diagram as a PDF, JPG, or PNG. Add it to your reports, presentations, social media cards, Canva Docs, and more. Or share it instantly with your teammates and friends via email or social media.
Make a cycle diagram

Visualize the flow or steps of a cyclical process

Cycle diagrams are normally circular, though they don’t have to be. With a little creative thought, almost any shape can be used. The key is to clearly show how one phase flows to the next, and so on. Using Canva’s drag-and-drop design tools as well as ready-made templates, you can easily create a cycle diagram for any purpose or need. Simply choose one of the templates to start with then edit the text, colors or images to fit your vision.

Workout how many steps you need before you start

The key to a cycle diagram is that it’s repetitive – it never ends. That means the ‘last’ step links up with the ‘first.’ So you’ll need to work out how many steps you need before you begin. Once you know how many you need, name them and put them in the correct order, before you start your design. It’ll save lots of problems later if you get it right from the start.

Thanks to Canva’s library of templates, however, creating a cycle diagram would require only a few clicks, drags and text editing. Our team of amazing designers has already done the heavy lifting for you in terms of layout, you need only add your own edits to turn it into a perfect fit.

Use colors to distinguish one step from the other

You could give every stage in your cycle diagram a different color. If so, choose colors that work well together. Canva’s default palette has colors that complement each other well. But you could choose contrasting colors – those that are opposite each other on the color wheel too. Colors can also be used to group stages in a cycle.

To change an element, shape or text’s color simply click to select it, then click on the color tool on the editor toolbar. You can choose from the pre-chosen color palette or choose from any hue on the color wheel. If you want to make your design consistent with your branding guidelines and know the specific hex code, you can also key it in or paste it into the provided field.

Use arrows to illustrate flow and continuity

Cycle diagrams are all about movement. They illustrate how stages move from one to the next. And nothing demonstrates movement like an arrow. It guides the viewer’s eye and leads them around the diagram. Canva has lots of different styles of arrows to choose from. Take time to explore them and then when you’ve found the perfect one, customize your chosen arrow for your diagram.

To find and use arrows, head over to the Elements tab and click on the Lines folder. Choose from the selection of arrow shapes and click or drag it into your design to add it. You can also the search bar to find more arrow options.

Cycle Diagram templates

Don’t waste time with complicated software. Canva’s cycle diagram templates are your shortcut to good-looking, easy-to-make cycle diagrams. Simply click on the graph to add your own data. Create your cycle diagram in minutes. Choose from the templates below to get started.
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“When it came to design reports, Canva had a wide variety of simple easy to use templates that allowed me to easily plug in my graphs and information, and helped me to focus on the actual content instead of spending hours and hours on design.”

Assem A

Frequently Asked Questions

You won’t need to download Canva to start designing. Simply head on over to, create an account and log in. If you want to design on the go, download our free iPhone, iPad or Android apps from the App Store or Google Play.

From time to time, you might need to update a text or step in your cycle diagram. With Canva, you can edit and save your designs as many times as you like. Every time you create a new collage it will appear in the "My Designs" section of your Canva homepage.

Once you're finished designing your cycle diagram, you can share your design straight from Canva or download it for printing. To share your design, click on the Share button then choose whether to email your design to specific people, post your finished design via social media, or even embed it on your blog or website. To download your design, click on the Download button then choose the file type (JPEG, PNG, PDF - Standard or PDF - Print).

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