Canva is a graphic design platform that helps create visual content for social media, websites, and other areas. It is an Australia-based collaborative platform startup that started in 2012 and now has over 10 million users.
Canva was designed to help people who aren’t graphic designers to create social media graphics, presentations, posters, and more. It comes loaded with easy-to-use features and functionality such that anyone can create a variety of engaging and shareable content.
Anyone can use Canva
The best thing about Canva is the “no tech or design skills required” quality of it. Anyone can easily start designing on Canva with very little to zero training or help. This is the reason it’s one of the major graphic design and content creation tools that have taken the online world by storm.
The biggest obstacles that small businesses face when they want to implement an effective content marketing campaign are producing engaging content and keeping it going consistently.
Visual marketing is here to stay for a long time. That is why a simple blog post with an image every 75-100 words tends to get twice the social shares than other articles with fewer images.
Creating custom, relevant visual content for Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram posts regularly has a direct impact on your following and viewership. But it is a time-consuming process and usually requires an experienced person working behind it because of the tools involved.
Canva is important to the regular marketer because it helps them with this tricky part of marketing.
The benefits of using Canva are endless
Canva combines the functions of a myriad of editing tools and stock photo websites. It is therefore an all-in-one pit stop for your search for convenient design tools. It’s like having the love child of Photoshop, InDesign and perhaps, Shutterstock- isn’t that the designer’s dream?
- The platform comes equipped with a collection of templates that can be applied to a number of different industries- software, education, social work, law, retail business, and so on. If you have an animal shelter that needs social media promotion, chances are Canva has a collection of templates and a library worth of images for even that.
- The specificity of Canva is also a feature that makes it very popular among other design tools. Be it an Instagram post, a Facebook banner, invitation card, or even a logo for your business or organization, Canva meets all your specific needs.
- Canva is unique in that it provides both beginner and experienced graphic designers a powerful platform to make impressive designs in an easy-to-use and swift manner. If you have little to no experience in graphic design it is the perfect content-making and design software for users.
The software possesses features and pre-installed tools that help make the designing process smooth and easy. It has designs and templates that are easy to edit and this helps preserve theme consistency across documents.
The drag-and-drop editor to pair with its huge library of templates, fonts, and pictures is also a feature that increases efficiency. Designs, documents, and templates are configurable so users can bring in changes or make necessary edits. Aside from that, users can also leave comments on the work done. This can significantly improve collaborative efforts and communication.
- Canva can be used for free to a certain extent. But it also has affordable pricing plans, which provide absolute value for the money spent. The features that come with the paid plans- Canva Pro and Canva Enterprise has new and advanced features that users will definitely love. This will be discussed in the later part of this blog.
So what are some of the unique features that make it so popular among new and professional users? And how do you use this platform to the best of your abilities? You are only 9 steps away from creating a simple, yet powerful design on this platform.
9 Steps for Creating a Design on Canva
1) Identify Your Content marketing strategy.
It is important to identify what your content goals are by considering all the platforms that will best suit your goals. This is a crucial part of making the best out of your design.
If you’re having a season sale at your retail outlet, the primary aim will be to share the news with people- let them know. The best way to do this would be via social media, utilizing the potential to help them share it as well.
In this case, you might have to create a post using the Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram templates using visuals that would work as posters both online and offline.
2) Browse the templates library.
Canva is special because of its collection of specific, professional templates that suit a wide variety of content. The templates page is arranged into categories and subcategories based on the theme or topic you would want to use. It is up to you to find the right template that suits your content.
For example, within the social media category, you can choose between templates for Instagram stories, Facebook posts, YouTube thumbnails, etc. Your choice will be based on the content marketing strategy you have chosen.
The most exciting part of choosing these templates is that each one is already optimized in the right dimensions for your purpose. Banners, headers, cover photos, etc. for specific sites like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn are already available in the right size. You no longer have to go through the cumbersome task of resizing or cropping your image to fit the platform.
These templates help you start designing because they come with a theme and images that you may/ may not keep in your design. You no longer have to start designing from scratch with these templates or hire a professional designer just to create your graphics.
This is one of the biggest challenges that many creative professionals, from writers to designers, face when they start creating content with a blank canvas. With Canva, this is no longer a worry.
The next steps deal with editing this template that you’ve chosen.
3) Find the right visuals.
Canva’s built-in photo library helps you get through this stage easily.
We want our content to get the maximum amount of engagement on social media in the form of comments and shares. Including the right kind of visuals in your content is the key to this.
Type one or two keywords in the search bar of the built-in media library. Canva’s library hosts media on a wide variety of subjects and themes, like abstract images, textures, landscapes, people, and animals. You get to choose from all these search results of photos and illustrations. This means no more Google image searches.
Once you find the perfect image, you can use Canva’s drag and drop design feature. Just drag it over to your design, and drop it where it needs to go. If you have a ready-made logo or another image that you badly need on your design, Canva also allows you to upload these. You can also crop, flip, or rotate your selected image according to your need.
You can also easily set backgrounds with an image of your choice. Simply select the image, right-click on it and select Set Image as Background. Voila! You’ve set your own background.
4) Enhance your image.
Consistency is an important feature you need to have in your posts and filters come to the rescue in this regard. Filters help change the tone of your images and create an ongoing theme in your posts without being too obvious. Moreover, applying a custom filter across your various posts adds to recognizability, which is important when you run a business.
Canva comes with 19 custom filters and to add any of these, select your image, click on the filter button and choose the one that suits your campaign. It even has a slider that allows you to control the intensity of the filter. There are advanced options that help you control different settings like brightness, contrast, and saturation.
You can also adjust the transparency of whatever you drop into your canvas using the transparency slider available on the task bar.
Canva also provides you a selection of effects like Duotone, Glitch, Liquify etc. that can transform the way your image looks. Canva also has a background remover feature that you can access if you have a Pro account.
5) Choosing typography.
Now that we have the right kind of image to draw attention, the next part is to give your audience details about the event. Since we’re already working with a template, it has a placeholder text which can just be edited with the details we want.
Having the right amount of imagery with the right amount of text makes the best social media content. This increases the shareability of copy. However, you also need to make sure that your font complements the rest of the imagery. This can be tricky.
Canva has more than a million fonts to choose from and this is the key to making your simple image into a jaw-dropping design. You can change the font that comes with your template if you feel that it doesn’t complement the style of your design.
It’s “Typography made easy”, just as they say it.
6) Additional features.
The Canva Animator allows you to create moving designs. You can choose from a selection of 12 animate designs like Fade, Pan, Tumble, etc. This feature helps when you send your design as a presentation via email, or simply want to create moving designs for your social media or website.
If you are creating video content, you can use an accompanying audio track to make it more engaging. Canva provides a selection of 30,000 new audio tracks that come in free and premium options. There are no worries about licensing with this feature either and this makes publishing simple.
7) Resize your whole design to fit various platforms.
Once you’re done creating the visual, we have to make it suitable for the other social media platforms we have in mind. But going back and re-designing the entire visual according to the dimensions of each social media platform is a hectic job. Here, Canva’s Magic Resize tool comes to help.
The Magic Resize tool is available for Canva Pro users. This feature helps you save a lot of time by letting you copy and resize one design into formats for various channels. All you need to do is click “File,” select “Magic Resize,” and choose the template. Then, click the “resize” button and you are ready to go.
8) Collaborate with a team.
Canva allows you to collaborate with a team or a design partner on the same visual. If you do not need to do this, you can skip stepping 8.
You can simply click “Share” in the toolbar above your working area, type the email address or name of the person and choose the “can edit” option. This generates a link that allows the person to edit your design and sends it as a mail to them. If you choose the “can view” option it allows that person to see your design without being able to edit it.
9) Post the visual to social media.
Now that your final design is ready, you can post it. The drop-down box allows you to either download your visual or upload it directly to Facebook or Twitter. You can also share the link for this via email, in which case a person without a Canva account can view the design.
By downloading the visual, you get an offline copy of your design. You can download an image file in JPG, PNG or PDF format. For PDF Format you can choose between Standard and Print options. If your content is an animation, you can download it as an MP4 video or as a GIF with no sound.
Paid Plans on Canva
Canva can be used to a beneficial extent with its free account. But Canva Pro – the company’s premium account plan definitely comes with its added advantages.
With the free account, you have a limit of 2 folders with 1 GB of Storage space for your design templates. But with Canva Pro, you get unlimited folders with 100GB storage space get access to custom images, assets, fonts (even custom brand fonts), graphics, and templates. The Brand Kit feature allows you to set custom color palettes, fonts, logos & graphics.
In the Pro account, you can add up to 30 team members in the Team feature. You can also add tiers or “levels” at which your team works as:
- Owners (you)
- Template designers
However, one downside is that each new team member will cost an extra $12.95/month on top of your Pro plan.
Canva Pro gives you access to millions of photos & graphics for as little as $1 each. As mentioned before, the Magic Resize feature also comes with a premium plan. This feature helps you resize your current design templates into custom dimensions.
The transparent background feature, one of the most exciting effects is also available with the Pro account. You can also export designs as animated GIFs or MP4 videos.
Canva Pro is currently priced at just $9.95/month billed yearly and if billed monthly, it is priced at $12.95/month.
You can always learn to create better designs with Canva’s Design School.
If you want to learn more about designing on Canva, do not fret. In the Learn option on the Canva website, you get quick video tutorials starting from getting started on Canva to branding your business. In addition to this, Canva has its own resources for designing called Design School.
The Design School is a free resource hub for learning the basics of design. It has short, concise modules where professionals teach everything from essential design tools, typography, photo editing to consistent branding.
Some of the most popular offerings are Canva’s “Design Essentials” tutorials. These tutorials cover topics that are essential in designing such as fonts, layouts, and images. Moreover, you can track and share your progress as you make your way through different lessons.
You can also check out Canva’s Blog in the Learn option, where you can read blogs dealing in different areas like design, marketing, and branding. The write-ups provide an in-depth view of specific subjects like designing for social media, creating better email headers, design principles, and even design psychology.
The Canva Enterprise plan comes at $30/month and gives a few benefits in addition to the Pro account. You can:
- Establish your brand’s visual identity with logos, colors, and fonts across multiple Brand Kits
- Control what team members can see, access, and upload in Canva with brand controls
- Built-in workflows to get approval on your designs
- Protect any part of your design from team edits with advanced template locking
- Unlimited Storage
- Single-sign on (SSO)
- 24/7 Enterprise-level support
For someone who is unsure if Canva Pro is worth the money, the platform allows you to try out the feature FREE for 30 days.
Canva is a platform with endless possibilities.
It is fun and easy to use. With Canva, you can create content that engages your targeted prospects in an efficient and robust manner. Creating visual content is often the difficult part of an effective content marketing campaign, but Canva simplifies this for you.
With little to no graphic skills, the platform enables you to create visual content quickly and easily. You can use these designs both online and offline, which is an added benefit to using Canva. In lesser time, you’ll soon be designing a large variety of engaging content that will attract your targeted prospects.
Further, Canva allows aspiring designers to push their skills while empowering businesses, simultaneously. Canva has certainly made a huge splash in the design world and there’s no wonder people have bonded with the platform on such a large scale.