Creating Custom Canvas Homepages

Giant panda in tree

You’ve done your part: Canvas site requested. Content uploaded. Assignments and quizzes created. Course site published.

But maybe that basic Canvas site could use a little something extra, a little visual interest . . . a little glitter and glam, if you will.

The solution, asserts Jenn Steplowski, an instructional designer from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, is to create a custom homepage for your Canvas page. The following tips can help you get started:

  • Before you start designing, consider the mood of your course. What kind of atmosphere do you want users to experience while in the course site?
  • When choosing imagery, quality and consistency are key. Select images from the same family or apply the same filters/effects so they look more uniform. To prevent pixelization, start with larger images and scale them down as needed.
  • Try to limit the design of the page to one or two colors, plus black and white. Variations of one color promote harmony. Flat, colorful design (no gradient or shadows) is very popular right now. For a harmonious course site, choose a color theme and stick with it throughout all pages.
  • Pick a focal point. The eye usually gravitates to the top left corner of the page, then moves toward the center.
  • Create adaptive headers by putting images in a 1×1 table at 100% width. This allows the image to adjust with the screen size. Choose a header that is attention-grabbing.
  • Maintain uniform spacing and respect the background and white space of the design.
  • Avoid using more than two fonts on a page.

For free design ideas and tools, check out the following resources:

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