12 design ideas for the 12 days of Christmas [2014 edition]


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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

With 12 days of the festive season to jam pack with fun and seasonal design ideas, we thought we would help you out. Get your sleigh and snowflakes together and create joyful posters, holiday greeting cards, recipe designs and many more.

Create something original and thoughtful this year while utilising your creative flair – discover Christmas design in Canva!

01. Traditional Christmas Card


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Traditional style Christmas cards are always a crowd pleaser. There are a few vital elements and styles to apply to your design in order to fit the stereotypical tinsel-happy-christmas-card aesthetic.

Find an image to use as a background which has some decoration on it – maybe some baubles or your classic stars and tinsel. Because these images can be quite embellished, it is good to find an image that has some clear copy space for you to place your text.

Keep your messaging fairly generic – ‘Merry Christmas’ with a personal wishing well tagline will do the trick.

As an added touch, you could also pull a line from a well known Christmas carol.

Using a script (Kaushan Script) will add some fanciness and feel more personal, while a sans serif (Hammersmith One) will keep your message strong.

The Canva Christmas Collection houses fun and festive icons and decorative elements to add to your designs. Apply a wreath or some snowflakes for an enhanced seasonal effect. Make sure your color combination is consistent by picking hues from your background image using an eyedropper tool.

02. Modern Christmas Card

Modern-Christmas Card

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Think outside the box and move away from the traditional Christmas colors, icons, and well-known nativity scenes. Create fresh seasonal designs with a minimal and modern appeal. You don’t need to over-embellish your design to make it feel festive, try creating an effective seasonal graphic using basic design principles.

Apply a background that alludes to Christmas.

Here I have chosen an icy blue as a flat background color then applied an overlay of white snow which produces a texture while also creating a snow scene effect.

To be truly modern, it’s important to keep your color palette limited, applying either a light or dark combination then a pop of primary to a focus feature, like I have done here on the red nose of the reindeer icon.

03. Happy Holidays Card


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Not everybody celebrates Christmas with stockings, tinsel and presents. Take this opportunity to create a more neutral card for the festive season. You can include things like translations in different languages. Phrases ‘Happy Hanukkah’ (Tuesday 16 December – Evening Wednesday 17 December) or ‘Happy Holidays’ are a nice option to consider.

Use colors that aren’t considered specific to Christmas, but remember it’s a celebratory time so a touch of gold or silver will give your card something special.

Apply typefaces that contrast. Here I have used the combination of Sifonn, a bold and art deco inspired sans serif, against Vast Shadow which is wide with less height and has a shadow effect. The duo work together to help each other speak, unlike applying fonts that are too similar where they will appear to merge if scale doesn’t define them.

When you are using heavy text, ensure your background image isn’t too busy, so the eye can follow the design without the distraction of detail.

Additionally, add an embellishment like the line of dots (which reflects the trema on the ë) to confine your text.

04. Christmas Party Invitation


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Christmas parties kick off the festive season, so make sure your invitation is better than the others steaming through your friends and family’s email list.

This design consists of three fairly contemporary colors, white and navy are modern and sharp tones which contrast well against one another.

Use icons and decorative shapes to create your own festive cheer like the gold wreath, having a more traditional representation of christmas.

By decreasing the transparency of some of the icons you’ll achieve a more textured effect.

Remember the tagline is the most important part of your message on your invitation, it might be a theme or a line from a carol. Use festive fonts to symbolize the Christmas mood, an additional touch would be to find a specific typeface that has beautiful letterforms for your chosen words, here I have used Sacremento for its gorgeous curly ‘S’.

05. Christmas Cookie Recipe


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If you have children, you will also be preparing yourself heavily for the night before Christmas.

Be sure to have the sugar cookies ready for Santa by creating a recipe to share with your not so prepared friends on Pinterest. The Canva Pinterest template is great for recipes because it is long enough to fit both the ingredients and method.

Find a background image to support your christmas theme, making sure your text won’t be invading your image as it’s vital your recipe is legible. Crop your image to create more space if needed, it is also a handy tip to keyword ‘copy space’ to find images with ample area to fill your text with.

Have fun with your typefaces when you are creating Christmas themed designs. Here I chose to use Princess Sofia and Quattrocentro for their similarities to what typefaces you might find in Children’s Christmas stories.

06. Christmas Craft Ideas in a Photo Collage


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One of the best things about the festive season is crafting! Family, children, friends… it’s an activity that brings people together and creates Christmas spirit. Make your own Craft ideas by dropping a grid into our photo collage document to start your Christmas planning. This is a fun idea to put up around your house or for school holiday activities.

Use the feature photoholder in your grid to place an image that encompasses the idea of your combined activities.

Make sure the image has some space for you to list or bullet point the tasks.

Because these holders are small, you might need to crop in on them to get the optimum effect of the task in action.

As always, for consistency and to keep your aesthetic cohesive, ensure you copy the codes of your filters into each photo.

07. Classic Quote Graphic for Christmas Day


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Choosing a seasonal quote to design is a great idea to share on your social channels. Dr Seuss is a festive favourite, so choose a line from a carol or a Christmas tale for symbolism.

Using features in your design to place your text is a clever way to create your composition.

See how the type wraps around the shape of the deer. Note how the vertical rhythm is consistent, the space between lines the same and the space is evenly padded between the deer and the left hand edge.

08. Christmas Sale Promo on Instagram


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Last minute Christmas Clearance? Christmas Eve sale? Create an Instagram post for your followers with festive flair.

Find an image for the background which has decoration without too much detail so your message stands out well. Try cropping your image by double clicking it inside its grid and expanding the corner anchors, you will notice the ‘noise’ decreasing as features become less prominent.

09. Blog Graphic Wishing Followers a Merry Christmas


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Show your followers how much you care with an end of year blog graphic. Create something special to keep you on their mind over the holiday period where they are unplugged and unwinding.

Use a festive background that doesn’t dwarf your message – remembering this is the most important part of your graphic.

You can increase the blur to reduce the noise in the image and help your text stand out more.

If your blog has the advantage of additional text to place next to your design, keep the copy limited, this way you can visually communicate through the graphic. Use typefaces that have character, here I used Sunday for the main text for it’s friendly hand drawn style that envelopes the Christmas spirit.

10. Facebook Post for Friends and Family around The World


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Family offshore? Spending holiday abroad? Make sure you keep up the festive cheer by posting something special on those loved one’s Facebook pages or on your own for a wider audience.

Using a photo taken at this time of year is a really nice personal touch, and can double as a family Christmas card.

I have applied the ‘Nordic’ filter to enhance the coolness of the season, reducing the saturation and giving it a graphically effective frosted effect.

There are lots of different banners to choose from in the Canva library, so apply a patterned banner with Christmas gilding to the base or top of your design to contain your main message.

For additional crafting, try speckling snowflake or thistle icons over your image with different sizes and transparency to give your design some depth and boost the Noel effect.

11. Get Creative with Canva Christmas Posters


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Create a poster for a Christmas service, a festive street affair or a carol night using the Poster design type on Canva. This is a great way to rally troops to get into the seasonal spirit.

Use a Christmas icon as visual representation of the theme. The tree element helps anchor the design as well as enhancing the center alignment applied to the text throughout the poster.

Firstly – find your main focus, make sure it is visually evident what it is the poster is advertising. This can be done by applying bold typeface or using scale for your focal messaging. The more impact the better when it comes to making a poster as your audience won’t be so close to it. Remember, legibility is vital.

Break your design into pieces to ensure it is visually balanced. Use a grid or sectioning system to compose your information properly.

12. Christmas List to Santa


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It’s the most exciting time of year for families with children so it’s imperative to make sure you have the coolest Christmas list to Santa!

Canva has a great selection of fun fonts to use for this activity. Here I have used a combination of Sunday for the heading and Amatic SC for the body copy. Both of which have a playful twist and as a less ‘typeset’ appearance, great when creating kid’s crafts.

Use colors that jump off the page, here I used white, coral and mint – a muted application of the traditional Christmas colors is a nice change for a kid’s design and contrast nicely against each other.

It wouldn’t be a list to Santa without some festive decorations. Add a dash of decoration by applying dotted snow around the edges of your graphic.

We hope these ideas have enlightened you and inspired the magic of Christmas to be spread through wonderful design. We look forward to seeing your festive creations!