It’s not breaking news that I dislike designing cards, albums and collages. Even though I’m a photographer and enjoy creativity in that way, design has never been my forté, and I joke around that I will even outsource a holiday card design. I never became a Photoshop pro, either. I have Photoshop and some other design tools, but I never got into design until I stumbled upon Canva. [bctt tweet=”Canva is a haven for non-designers and busy solopreneurs like me. “]The interactive website makes things convenient, super easy, and it’s very intuitive to design stuff. It even provides you with some awesome social media templates, saving lots of time and frustration. Canva is also a great resource for creating pretty graphics for your blog post. This whole month, I’ve been scoping about blogging tips, blogging SEO and workflow, and one of the points I made was that you need to have pretty, branded graphics for your blog post. So Canva to the rescue for that! Let’s check out some tips on how to get started with Canva and how to create custom images and graphics for your blog posts and social media.
How does Canva work?
Canva offers a great selection of pre-designed layouts for various social media, blogging, design and work-related templates. They provide stock photos, fonts, and graphics, too. Many of the pre-designed templates are free, but they have fancier ones available to purchase. You can also use one of your own photos in a design so you don’t have to pay, and you can still use that design template and layout. For those on a budget, there’s an automatic tally of any charges involved with the design you create up at the top, so in case you get excited and choose something outside your budget, you can undo that choice before you get too far in. Every design is totally customizable, and you can change colors, fonts, sizes, as well as add shapes or any other objects/photos too. Once you have finished your design, you then can download a web or pdf version of the design.
Pre plan. These are some planning steps you can do before getting started with your first Canva design, if desired.
Visit the Canva website to get acclimated to the setting and the templates they have available. Go ahead and make a free account.
- Visit the Canva website to get acclimated to the setting and the templates they have available. Go ahead and make a free account.
- Stock photos. If you’ve been blogging, you may be gathering a library of stock photos that you’ve purchased, or you’re using a site like Death to Stock, which sends a set of images every month. You can also create your own stock images, and this is what I’m currently doing for my blogging. Yes, it does help that I’m a photographer, but with a nice point-and-shoot camera, or even an iPhone, you can create some of your own stock images. Just think of items or scenes you could use on more than one occasion. For me, that’s images of me typing, me blogging, a close-up of my hands on the keyboard, etc. Upload your logo and your photos in Canva’s upload section.
- Decide on templates. Canva offers templates to fit many social media platforms, but there are also common sizes for newsletters, design projects and even resumes. Think about which templates you will use most often. For my blog posts, I always use the Pinterest template. Sometimes I use the blog title template, and I also use the email header now and then. So browse the template galleries on their home page, get an overview, and pick up to 3 you’d like to experiment with for now.
- Decide on two major fonts you’ll use over and over again. Your graphics need to match your brand identity, so if the fonts you typically use are not in Canva’s font gallery options, then choose which ones best match them.
- Hex colors, baby. So, by now you probably have two major colors that make up your brand identity, and you have that hex code hiding somewhere, right? Make sure you copy the hex code to paste in the color palette of your Canva design.
- Take some of their tutorials. I did not do this step, but they do have a “design school” section with some tutorials to get you started. I also see some more advanced tutorials for design that I may actually play around with, and the font pairing one was pretty clue. Check me out! I stopped writing this blog post and did the tutorial 🙂 https://designschool.canva.com/tutorials/
Let’s get started with Canva.
First, you want to sign up of of course and have an account if you haven’t already. I suggest you upload your logo next, and add some stock photos that you may have to start building your gallery. If you don’t currently have a library of stock images, Canva can be the place for you to store your new photos and designs.
Now you’re ready to start your first design and begin playing around to get familiar with how Canva works. Let’s start with the text and font options and stock photos. So, first pick a template. If you can’t decide what you need, perhaps start with the Pinterest or Blog graphic template. Browse through their catalog to see which layout appeals to you the most. Don’t worry too much about color, or even font styles, as those will be customized later. Just see which design layout speaks to you and your brand.
Choose a design, and change out the photo with one of yours. You can use one of their photos, though, if you like. You have option to flip the photo, add a filter, or make the photo a bit transparent so it’s more of a background feature. Next, change the colors of the text to match your brand. It will take you some time to get used to how to move objects and to learn some shortcuts. For example, you can select many objects at once to move them around, and pay special attention to the alignment rulers that Canva gives you when you’re moving lines, fonts and images so that everything matches up nicely.
One thing that I wish Canva had available is a backdrop feature. You have to duplicate the text box, make the extra text darker, and move the text box back as you would move a layer back in Photoshop, then align it with your mouse. I also wish they had a regular rectangle to use as a shape, so instead I use a text box (either colored in or transparent), I add a border, and if I want to, I add text. Last but not least download the canva file and upload it as media into your blog post where you can use it as a featured image and as a blog post image too. Since I feel you would learn better by watching, here’s a special periscope I broadcasted on using Canva, which has some key Canva hacks at the end!
So, pretty much all graphics you see on my blog, social media and even in my classes are created in Canva because Canva rocks for non-designers like me.
[bctt tweet=”Plus, creating pretty graphics is extremely vital for social sharing and making your blog posts more appealing. It also helps break up sections of your blog, making it easier for the reader to digest the information when scanning your post.”]
Have you used Canva for your business yet? Which feature do you love the most?