Canva is one of the most useful free tools available for any business owners toolbox. From building brand assets, social media posts, presentations and even basic websites, Canva makes you look and feel like a professional graphic designer. With thousands of templates to choose from, you only need minimal technical know-how to use the software, and you can create dynamic projects and designs in minutes.
If you’re just getting started with Canva, here are some of the best ways you can make the most out of this valuable marketing tool.
Get specific about your project goals
Canva has so many valuable features and endless design options that it can be overwhelming if you don’t get specific with what you want from your project. Whether you’re designing a resume, LinkedIn banner, or social media post, you need to decide what you’re looking to achieve and what vibe you want to evoke.
For example, if you’re a nutrition coach, your clients are looking for an expert in nutrition science, so you want to encompass that in all your designs. If you’re designing a logo, you might want to use bold fonts and a colour palette with greens as it aligns with a healthy vibe. Avoid using scripted fonts or more emotional colours like pinks or purples, as they would be better aligned with a beauty product or life coach.
Create your brand kit and assets (including logo!)
Canva gives you the ability to build a brand kit. Your brand kit can contain your logos, brand colours and fonts. Once you set your pillars, you can use them throughout all your designs to ensure consistency. Before you start creating any designs, you should get into the brand kit and set it up. The first step will be creating a brand logo, unless you already have one. You can build one for free using one of many templates and graphics available, but you’ll need the pro version if you want to save your logo as a vector or with a transparent background (which is more functional for design purposes). Then choose your colours. You can select up to 5 colours with the free version of Canva.
When choosing your fonts, you will get three options: headings, subheadings and body fonts. With the free version, you can only choose from their fonts, but with the paid version, you can upload your own fonts.
You can also use Canva to create other visual assets associated with your brand or business such as your:
- Linkedin cover photo
- Facebook page cover photo
- Website banner
- Business cards
- Email signatures
- Blog graphics
- And more!
Design like a pro by grouping, aligning and layering elements
Regardless of the project you’re designing, Canva makes it easy for you to create professional-looking visuals as an experienced graphic designer would. As you build your creation, you can group different elements together, making it easy to move those aspects simultaneously, keeping things uniform. You can also layer elements by moving them forwards and backwards, plus change the transparency if you’re looking to create a more dynamic layered effect. To make sure that all your elements look uniform Canva helps you align graphics, images, text and more using their align feature. Once you’ve got an element where you want it, you can lock it into place so that it can’t be accidentally moved as you complete the rest of your design.
Take advantage of integrations
Canva integrates with tons of different apps to share your designs directly without even having to download them. Share to your social feeds like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram Business or Pinterest. Canva also has a content planner which allows you to pre-schedule all your social media posts and then posts them automatically for you. This feature is only accessible if you have the pro plan, but very useful to have for building your content marketing strategy.
If you’re using your project as part of an email newsletter, you can export directly to MailChimp of HubSpot. Or, if you want to send projects directly to people, you can also use the Slack, email, Google Drive, OneDrive or DropBox integrations. There are so many digital marketing tools that integrate seamlessly with Canva.
Publish your designs as a website
Did you know that you can create websites in Canva? While they aren’t fancy, they are still super useful for businesses or people who want to create simple, one-page websites or landing pages. It might not be a long-term solution, but if you have limited design skills and no budget for web design, then Canva is a good option.
Canva has hundreds of website templates, some free and some paid. Once you build it how you like it, you can publish it, and voilà, you have a website. The URL will be a Canva domain with random letters and numbers, although you can use a service like bit.ly to change it to something easier to remember. Or, you can purchase your own domain.
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If you need to edit a video for social media, YouTube, or other marketing materials, you can do it directly on Canva. You can start with one of Canva’s video templates, which you can then customize with images, GIFs, audio, animations, and dynamic text. Or you can upload your pre-recorded videos and edit them with different filters, add stickers and other visual elements, plus crop, rotate and trim as you would with image editing.
Present and record
One of the coolest features that Canva has is the ability to present and record your projects. If you create a presentation, webinar or online course, you can record yourself presenting it, both video and audio. You can talk through the slides and even include the video of yourself presenting it on the slides themselves as a little circle in the bottom corner. Another helpful tool for presentations is the presentation notes section, which you can see while you record but won’t show up for the viewer. You can add extra notes that you want to talk about to ensure you don’t miss anything when you’re in the flow recording. Once finished, you can download the file and upload it where you need it or export it using one of the many integrations, such as your Mailchimp newsletter or your Facebook page.
Designing like a pro with Canva
Using these seven tips on their own, you can start building professional designs and projects on Canva. The depth of features the platform offers is endless, and the more time you spend playing around on there, the more you’ll discover. You can unlock even more valuable features with the pro version, which might make sense if you’re planning to use it long-term or with a larger team. Regardless, Canva is a tool you should include in your business arsenal.