Meet the Creative Canvas.
Developed by Terri Lonier, PhD

What is the Creative Canvas?

The Creative Canvas is an idea exploration and planning tool for creative projects. Like an artist’s canvas, it is a place to turn your creative inspiration into reality and share it with a wider audience.

What inspired it?

The Creative Canvas — an adaptation of Alexander Osterwalder's Business Model Canvas (BMC) — is designed for individuals working in creative disciplines. The original BMC, developed in 2008 with a global crowdsourced collective of 470 practitioners, is an entrepreneurial management template that helps both novice and seasoned entrepreneurs understand the key components of startup and growth. The BMC has been central to the success of thousands of entrepreneurial ventures around the world, and today you can find copies of the BMC on walls, whiteboards, and in presentations at startups, nonprofits, and Fortune 100 global companies.
Why Do Creative Projects Need a Different Tool?
1. Creative projects are not always entrepreneurial products or services.
2. Individuals in the arts often seek to establish a personal creative practice with success measured in ways that differ from a company.
3. Business terminology is often confusing and intimidating to those in the arts.

Developed by Terri Lonier, PhD

Dr. Terri Lonier has been using the Business Model Canvas since its earliest days with individuals and organizations in a wide range of disciplines. Her background in the arts, and her training with BMC founder Alex Osterwalder, led her to realize that the tool could be adapted for artists, designers, and other creative professionals.

Preparing to Use the Creative Canvas

First download the PDF and print out one or more copies. The file can be printed at any size, although 11x17 inches (tabloid) is a popular option. It allows lots of room to explore your ideas yet can be folded to tuck inside a notebook or file folder.

Gather a collection of colored pens, pencils, markers, or Post-It Notes. While you can write directly on the Canvas, many like to use small Post-It Notes because they can be changes easily. Feel free to use words, drawings, charts, diagrams or whatever else inspires you.

Find some room to spread out in a quiet area. Bring along any notes or other materials you need to chart out your creative project.
1. Download the PDF
2. Gather Materials
3. Find a Quiet Space
Step-by-step guidance is contained on the back side of the canvas.
The Creative Canvas was developed by Dr. Terri Lonier. It is adapted from The Business Model Canvas ( and is licensed under a Creative Commons license. Version 2.0, 2018.This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.
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