Canva Cover Integration Graphic

Canva For Your Cover (Integration)

You’ve heard of Canva, right? We’ve talked about it a few times on this blog. When it comes to easy-to-use, affordable, and accessible graphic design, Canva is really hard to beat.

This is why we decided to integrate Canva’s design tool directly into Lulu!

More API Action

I’ve talked about this before, but one of the major improvements we’ve made at Lulu over the last couple of years was to rebuild our print-on-demand platform using API infrastructure. This allowed us to offer publishers direct (and free) access to our print network and was our basis for the Shopify App we created. 

Well, it turns out that Canva also offers an API to their design tools. 

All of this means connecting the Lulu bookmaking process to Canva’s designer was (more or less) a walk in the park.

Meet Our Canva Cover Designer – Beta

[Note: The Canva Cover Designer – Beta is a new feature and as such may not be 100% perfect. If you notice any problems, please let our support team know.]

Creating a Photo Book with Lulu and Canva blog graphic

You’ll find the Canva option on the Design step when creating a print project. Once your interior file is uploaded and passes our automatic-check, you’ll select your specifications and move on to the cover step.

Here’s a video from our amazing creative team that walks through the process:

And here’s a little more detailed breakdown of the Canva Designer on Lulu. First, you’ll see your cover options on the Design step:

If you select Cover Creator Powered by Canva – Beta, the cover designer will expand to show you the cover specifications and offer you a template for use with Canva:

Review the dimensions and download the template, then click Design on Canva to open the creator!

Using The Designer

If you’ve ever used Canva before, the Designer on Lulu will look familiar. You’ll see the left sidebar with different options, from templates to uploads to shapes and elements unique to Canva.

Canva will offer you a variety of templates based on the specifications for your book. You can create an entirely original cover too, using the shapes and elements, as well as images you upload.

Speaking of uploading, I recommend uploading the Template (from the step before opening the designer) and using it to overlay your cover. Here you can see my template on top of my cover and set to 25% transparency:

Now I can see that the spine I’ve created matches the template, meaning my cover will work perfectly for my book!

Be sure to carefully review the template and your cover before finalizing your cover. You’ll want to remove the template layer too (just right click and delete it or use the trash can icon). The video above walks through using the template to check your cover’s spine as well.

And of course, once you’ve completed your cover you can always open the designer again and edit it!

Your Cover, Your Way

When we relaunched our site in April of 2020 (sooo long ago), we knew the cover designer wasn’t great. Improving the cover creation options has been the most consistently requested improvement over the numerous surveys we’ve conducted over the last 8 months. 

Side note: thank you to everyone who took the time to give feedback.

The Canva Designer Beta is a first step toward making it easier to create a cover on Lulu and giving you the options you need to create your cover. 

If you’re ready to give the Canva Cover Creator a try, head over to your Lulu account and create a new project or revise an existing one. We’re looking forward to your feedback on this new cover tool so we can continue to improve your bookmaking options!

8 thoughts on “Canva For Your Cover (Integration)”

  1. Canva is too tricky for normal people – and I have used Lulu for many years and published many Lulu books. I only tried Canva as the normal make a cover method was not working for me. For some reason the ‘image preview’ is not working for my current book and having tried different images and different covers I thought hey, I’d have go at Canva to try and get around the problem. I watched the you tube, tried all sorts of things but it is impossible. Why? Most people just want a heading, author , illustration and back blurb. They don’t want to spend 100s of hours laying out fancy artwork when all they are doing is publishing bit of family history.

    Please get the old ‘normal’ front and back cover program working again (or is it just me?) so the average author can have success.

    No problem with have both options available… Yes, I get professional designers are different, but that is not me! And I bet most lulu writers are more like me!

  2. Some clearer explanation on templates would be helpful. Is it necessary to download a standard Lulu template before starting the Canva option? What’s the difference between that and selecting download template on entering the Canva option? Why do the templates appear empty if the first was chosen?

    1. Hi Ken,
      We offer blank templates on our Products page as part of our Design Guide Bundles. Since these bundles can’t know your page count, the spine would need to be edited for these cover templates.
      If you use a cover template downloaded while publishing (so after you’ve uploaded an interior file and we know your page count), the template will be customized to match your spine size. We strongly recommend you use this custom template to at least verify the size of your spine.

  3. Love this option! Any chance that you’ll add Canva as a design/layout option for items other than photo books? I’ve already created a pdf planner in Canva for clients & would love the option of POD without having to recreate everything in Adobe. Thanks.

    1. Hi Kimber,
      Glad to hear you’re liking the Canva integration! I’m sure we’ll continue to expand this option, but at the moment I don’t have any specific details about what kinds of new options we’ll add.

  4. How it this any different from logging into our Canva account, setting the dimensions for a new cover and uploading the supplied cover template to design a cover? Does the finished Canva cover automatically upload to our LuLu project?

    1. Hi Kimberly,
      You can achieve the same thing going directly to Canva and creating a new design with your cover dimensions. The integrated Canva designer has a couple of advantages:

      1. The completed cover uploads directly to your project and can be edited from there as well
      2. Canva will display templates that will fit your cover dimensions only, eliminating some trial and error that could happen when designing on your own

      Most importantly, this is just a first step (the designer integration is still in the Beta phase). Once we get a better sense of how creators are using this new tool and what is lacking, we can work on further customizing it to fit your needs. Canva is an incredible tool and our goal here is to make it easier for you to take advantage of that tool to build your cover without having to leave the Lulu book creation pages while also creating a cover that we know will print well through our network.

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