A policy brief is a concise document designed to convey research findings and policy recommendations to a non-specialized audience. It serves as a bridge between researchers and policymakers, aiming to present complex issues in a clear and accessible manner.
The brief typically begins with an executive summary that provides a snapshot of the main points, followed by background information to set the context. It then presents various policy options, weighing their pros and cons, and concludes with a specific recommendation.
The content is supported by evidence and often includes visuals to enhance understanding. The goal is to inform and persuade policymakers and other stakeholders about a particular issue and the best course of action.
If you’re here, you probably already know what a policy brief is, but the video below can go into greater detail if you need additional guidance. Below the video, though, we will get into how to create a Policy Brief template in Canva.
1. Find & Use a Policy Brief Template
The first way to create a policy brief template in Canva is to simply search for a “policy brief” in the Canva template library. Upon doing so, you’ll be presented with a number of brief templates, similar to what I’m showing below:
As you can see, right off the bat you’ll have a number of different of designs and formats to choose from. Some of these aren’t formats strictly reserved for “policy briefs” which means with this method, you’ll have to do some picking and choosing depending on how traditional and formal you’d like your brief to be.
According to the video above, a policy brief should:
- Be short
- Use simple language
- Be structured
- Include visuals and charts
- Use first-person
Knowing these guidelines (or any others you’ve learned), you should be able to find a policy brief that works for you.
2. Utilize the “More Like This” Option
As mentioned above, you might have difficulty finding a template that was specifically created as a policy brief, and thus will need to find something close that you can customize to your needs. In fact, in the image above, the first row of options really only presents one decent format as an option, and that’s the “design brief” that is showing as the first template.
However, by utilizing the “more like this” option, you can easily unlock a number of similar templates that can make your search for a policy brief quite a bit easier.
In this example, go ahead and click that design brief, or something similar that you feel could work for your policy brief. When you do, you’ll have the option to work off of that selected template, or, you can scroll down to the “more like this section” where you’ll see a number of similar alternatives:
From here you might have an easier time finding a template and format that can be adapted to your policy brief.
3. Search for Similar Templates by Other Names
Last but not least, people use different names for policy briefs, which include policy analysis, policy memo, position brief, position paper, fact sheet, and more. You can also think outside of the box for pieces of content that resemble a policy brief, like a sell sheet or advertorial.
For example, a search for “fact sheet” might get you closer to the optimal format:
4. Easily Create Your Own
Now, given all of the options we have to choose from, creating our own policy brief template is simply a matter of drag-and-drop customization.
As a personal recommendation, I always find it much easier to create something on Canva when I have an example to work from. For this step, you can use a past policy brief or an example that you think is effective, and create yours to flow along the same lines.
Below are a few examples to draw from—as you can see, they all follow the same format, more or less:
- Top left: source
- Top (right): logo
- Bold headline
- Header image
- Two columns
- Key points/takeaways
- Supporting visuals
Now we have more than above to create our own. I actually think one of these sell sheet templates could be quickly repurposed as a policy brief, or at least provide the bare bones.
I’m just going to choose one at random for the font and spacing, and then clear out a lot of what’s already there so I can add the proper two-column text, logo, photo, and more.
From there, honestly 15 minutes later I created this:
As you can see, nothing fancy, but it gets the job done. If you’re mildly talented with Canva, you shouldn’t have a difficult time creating a policy brief template, even in the absence of an official starter to work from.