How to harness your inner creative with Canva

Think you’re not a designer? Think again. Sarah Hall shares her Canva top tips to help you get creative and fulfil your graphic design potential. 

Sarah Hall profile pic

Sarah Hall

“I am just not that creative”, is what I hear time and time again.  And that is what I love about Canva, you don’t need to be.  

Canva is a graphic design tool that allows you to drag and drop.  There is no complicated code, you don’t have to start from scratch and there are literally thousands of templates to choose from.

I’ve been using Canva for about four years and it’s been a game changer.  As someone who is much better at starting with ‘something’ rather than a blank page, Canva provides all I need to get cracking, with templates for everything, from a Facebook post, to a wedding invitation.

Canva is pretty intuitive, but my tips might help you get the most out of it.  

Selecting your Canva templates 

Canva allows you to select from a large number of pre-sized templates. If you want to design an Instagram story, for example, it will have a ready-made template in the correct and optimal dimensions.

Always start with the right size

While the paid-for version of Canva allows you to resize at any point in the design process, you’ll have to restructure some of the content within your design to make it work. If you’re using the free version of Canva, you won’t be able to resize once you’ve begun, so to avoid wasting your valuable time, choose the right template size at the start.

Use the search bar

Once you’ve selected your size Canva will suggest pre-designed templates with graphics and text already in place. There are thousands. In fact there are so many templates, photos and elements in Canva, that using the search bar is a must.  You can search for something specific, or something vague – look for inspiration and see what comes up.

Go off-road

If you can’t find a template that you like on Canva, there are also thousands for sale from sites like Etsy and creativemarket.com. So there’s no need to start with a blank page. 

Brand Consistency graphic

Keeping it consistent using Canva

ingHaving a consistent style across your posts helps people to instantly recognise your brand, and builds awareness. There’s a few ways Canva helps you to do this.

Save your brand colours

One way is to store a set of brand colours that you can access easily at any time while you’re designing. If you don’t know your brand colour you can use the free Colorzilla Chrome extension to find your hex number (all colours have a unique hex number that allows you to match it easily in design tools) and then paste it straight into Canva.  You can store three colours on the free version, and 100 in Canva Pro.

Canva allows you to change the colour of most of the elements including shapes, text and backgrounds. When you’ve chosen your template you might be tempted to change these straight away but wait until the end so you can change them all at once when your design is finished, saving you precious time.

Arrange folders by image size 

Being organised from day one will also help to ensure consistency and save time. Canva allows you to save your designs in folders. Batching them together by template size helps you to find them easily and to see how they will look with each other once they are in place in your social media channels. If they don’t look consistent, you can make the necessary design changes.

Batch create

Canva is a time-saver, but if you are going to get those creative juices flowing, it’s still worth allowing yourself a couple of hours to create multiple posts at once.  You can copy and paste, try different images, versions, fonts etc. Ultimately, this will save you time and ensure the consistency that is so important for your brand.

Don’t be shy, get stuck in

If you’ve never used a design tool before, it’s understandable that you might feel nervous, so give yourself some time to play and get familiar with it. Once you’re feeling confident, you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve. Great images turn scrolling prospects into engaged customers. So what are you waiting for?

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