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Tools, tips and, resources for creating engaging works that bring your content to life

The Office of Communications provides select graphic design support and consultation to the HLS community. You can submit a ticket for design assistance through the ServiceNow platform.

Unfortunately, due to the large volume of both preplanned work and new requests, not every project can be accommodated. In the event that the Comm Office is unable to take on your project, below you will find links to tools that will enable users of all backgrounds and abilities to create professional, branded, design collateral.

Graphic Design Programs


Canva is a free-to-use online graphic design tool. Use it to create social media posts, presentations, posters, videos, logos and more. Visit to get started

Adobe Express

Adobe Express is an all-in-one design, photo, and video tool to make content creation easy. Adobe Express Premium is free to members of the Harvard Community. Sign in to Adobe Express Premium using Harvard Key.

Adobe Creative Cloud

Install Adobe Creative Cloud to gain access to 20+ desktop and mobile apps for photography, design, video, web, UX, and more. The Creative Cloud is free to members of the Harvard Community. These programs are not recommended for novice users.

Creating Good Designs

Spacing and Alignment

Designs will look more intentional and professional when the spacing is consistent and elements are aligned in a deliberate way. Once your design is complete, be sure to check your spacing and alignment and do a final pass to make sure everything is neat and in its place.

While you can take some artistic liberty with your layout, be mindful that the information can be easily scanned and processed by your audience.

Fonts and Colors

Be deliberate with your colors and fonts to compliment the tone you want to convey. Your choices for these elements will help tell the story and draw the viewer into your content.

Do not bring too many font families into a single piece. If using two different fonts, make sure there is clear differentiation between them and use them in consistent ways. For example, you might employ a bold serif font for your headers, and then a clean, thin sans serif for your body copy.

Content is Key

Make sure that your design is allowing your content to shine, rather than overpowering it. If your design looks too busy or cluttered, strip it down so the call to action is clear.

Take a Templated Approach

Creating a template for your designs can help streamline your design process and increase your branding. Templates should be flexible to allow for customizations and changes, but provide a base for your designs so that you’re not starting from scratch every time you need to create a piece.

Design Tools and Resources

Color Selection Tools

  • My Color Space
    Color palettes from a single hex code color
    Randomly generate color palettes or generate from an image
  • Contrast Checker
    Check text color against your background color to make sure your design is accessible

Photo/Image Resources

  • Pexels
    Rights-free images
  • Pixabay
    Rights-free images
  • Freepik
    Vector illustrations that require attribution
  • Creative Commons
    Search for Rights Free images / some will require attribution

HLS Design Assets

Standard Sizes for Designs

Print Posters are typically 11×17, but be sure to add a .125” bleed all the way around if you want your designs and color to reach the edge of the document when printed.

The digital posters for the display screens around campus must be EXACTLY 1207px (wide) x 793px (tall) in order to render properly on the screens. These should be submitted as .jpg or .png files to

For social media posts, sizes vary by platform, but this is a handy guide to help you format your design projects correctly for each channel:

Requests from Outside the Harvard Community

If you’re coming from outside the Harvard Community and you need assistance with a logo or another design-related item, please email