When you start a small business, it’s common for you to take on many roles in your business including graphic design. There is a fantastic free tool called Canva where you can easily create beautiful graphics.
Canva will allow you to create professional graphics for social media, your blog, your website, proposals, powerpoint etc.
You can use a large part of Canva for free or subscribe to the pro account for even more capabilities at just a low $12.95 per month. It is an absolute game changer for small business, which is why I am so excited to share this blog with you. Right let’s get started!
Creating a design from scratch
On the Canva homepage, click the ‘Create a design’ button.
You will then see a variety of template sizes, and types or you can choose to create your own custom design.
For this example, I will use the Instagram Post which is 1080 x 1080 px. You will then have a blank canvas to design whatever you like.
Uploading an image
To upload your own images into Canva, click ‘Uploads’ and then click the ‘Upload media’ button.
You will see the option to upload from your device, Dropbox, Google drive, Instagram and Facebook, and upload your image from there.
Using effects on images and removing background
Once you have chosen an image to add to your design, I’m going to show you where you can remove the background of an image.
Select your image within the design and click on >effects >background remover. This will automatically remove the background and keep the main part of your image.
This effect is impressively accurate but if necessary, you can also use the ‘Erase’ and ‘Restore’ buttons to fix up any areas of the image.
By removing the background on images, you can get creative with your image edits and add either a new background or a simple backdrop colour like below as an example.
To do this click on the white part of the canvas where you have removed the background > then go to background colour > from there select the colour you want from the left hand panel shown below.
Adding text on your design
Click ‘Text’, and add either a heading, subheading or body text. Simply drag the desired type of text across onto your design.
Once you have added a text, you can make additional adjustments by either changing the font, colour, size, effects and more.
In the below example, I have added multiple texts with different fonts, colours and other sizing adjustments as you will see in the top bar of your design screen.
You can also add dot points for your text too, which is perfect if you’re creating a flyer or a document.
Adding a logo
To add your logo into Canva, you can upload it the same way as uploading an image. Go to uploads > images > located your logo and drag it across onto your graphic you are designing.
If your logo has a white background, you can also use the background remover here to give it a more professional look on your design.
As you may know, the way your brand looks and feels is extremely important when communicating your product, service or message. Canva can help you keep your brand identity consistent just by setting up a simple brand kit.
Here you can set up an easy reference for your brand by having your logo, fonts, colours and images all set up and ready to refer to when creating any new designs or content for your brand.
Setting up your brand kit
To start setting up your brand kit, click on the ‘brand kit’ button on the left of your home screen.
The first thing you can do to set up your brand kit is add in your logo. Your logo is likely to be used in nearly every design you create so it’s a great time saver to have a transparent logo ready to go in your brand kit.
Simply click the plus button to upload your saved logo.
Next, choose the colours that make up your brand identity and have that exact shade ready to go with every design. Again, just press the plus button and choose the exact shades that make up your brand identity so you’re always staying consistent with your colour palette.
Lastly, you can either upload your own purchased fonts into your Canva brand kit, or simply save some of the fonts already on the website so that you can easily find these fonts for your designs.
Setting up your brand kit will help give you more clarity and make future edits simple and easy when using Canva.
Using existing templates
No matter what it is you’re wanting to create, Canva’s templates are completely customisable, easy to use, and give you a great amount of inspiration.
Firstly, you will see a large variety of templates to choose from on the homepage of your Canva account.
Otherwise, you can click on ‘Templates’ and use the search bar to find a template category for what you’re trying to create. There’s a great amount of options to choose from.
For the purpose of this blog, I have chosen a random template for an instagram story that I can completely customise with the help of my brand kit.
As previously shown, you can upload your own picture and replace the template picture given.
If you don’t have any pictures to upload, you can also click on ‘photos’ and search for any of the pictures that Canva offers for you to add onto your design. Drag and drop your desired photo onto your template like I have done in the image below.
Next, you can click on any part of the design and change the colours with the help of your brand kit.
Click on the background of your design and the little coloured square on the top left corner to change the colours. You will see your brand kit colours appear.
To add a title and a subtitle, click text and add a text to your page.
When you want to change the fonts, the uploaded fonts in your brand kit will appear and be ready to use or you can pick a font on Canva as mentioned earlier.
Finding creative elements to use
Canva also has thousands of elements to choose from and add to your designs. You can search through these by going to Elements, then by typing in relevant words to suit the type of element you’re after. It might also be worth researching Canva elements that are on trend too.
Some of my favourite elements trends at the moment include; Newbrushstroke, Bloggerdoodle, Freeformpro, and block lady.
You may also be able to see that editing on canva will even allow you to add audio or video to your designs. Depending on your business and designs, this could be a great way to edit designs and stand out from the crowd.
Saving your templates
Don’t forget to save your amazing designs so that you can use them again and stay consistent with your brand. Canva will autosave as you go.
And then once you’ve finished a design, go to the homepage and click ‘your designs’. Click the three dots on the top right of your image and then click ‘move to folder’. This function allows you to save the design in a folder so that you can refer straight back to it and easily copy it for another similar design you want to create.
Or you can download the image and save it to you desktop or device.
As you will see, there are many great functions to Canva. Setting up your business and using your time wisely is made much easier with some of the functions I’ve highlighted today.
I hope you can now create, quick, easy and beautiful designs for your business by implementing these tools on Canva! And if you are struggling with marketing your small business, check out Marketing School, my 8 week online course to help you master your marketing for once and for all: