Lately I’ve been obsessing over graphic design and creating new images to promote CreativeIncome and FaveCrafts. I love art and graphic design and I love seeing the impact my designs have on blog traffic, site design, and social media engagement. I may have minored in Art in college, but here are three fun facts:
- I don’t use Photoshop
- I’ve only taken two formal graphic design courses
- I don’t spend much time designing
How do I do it you ask? Canva.com! It’s about to change your world.
Let’s take a step back though. How will this help you and your creative business? Let’s just say, there’s a lot of businesses just like you out there and it can be very easy to get lost in the shuffle. Graphics can help brand your business as being unique, professional, edgy, and classy. Let’s ditch Comic Sans and graphics made in Microsoft Paint, please, and trade in for new and exciting designs!
How it works:
- Sign up for your free Canva account.
- Click on one of the template options (choose the Social Media template to follow along with my tutorial).
- Any design you begin to create is saved to your free account so that every time you log in, your designs will be there.
- Canva is comprised of free images as well as images that cost $1. There are plenty of options for designs that won’t cost you a penny.
- Each design can be downloaded to your computer as a PDF or as an image file.
The Social Media Template
Social Media can be a great source of traffic for your blog, Etsy shop, or website. Even if you don’t have a Facebook page for your business, you can still use graphics to promote yourself on your personal Facebook to share with friends and family. Social media moves so fast these days – it can be hard to get your voice heard over all the chaos. Make it easier with a custom graphic that YOU made in Canva.
Start with the Social Media template. Stay tuned for more tutorials on the other templates!
After clicking on the Social Media template, you will see an array of pre-made layouts in the left column. *Note that every image that has a Canva watermark is NOT free. So while most of these designs look like they are straight out of a catalog, you will need to upload your own photos to replace the ones in the template if you want your design to be free.
Here is my breakdown of what you will find in the left navigation. Click around and explore!
Search – Click on the magnifying glass or in the white bar that says Search 1,000,000 images…and seriously, there are a bunch! Again, not all free, but there are PLENTY images that are free (The will be labeled with FREE). When you first click, there will be a bunch of categories for you to choose from or you can type in your own search terms to find something more specific.
Layouts – Have fun! The layouts for this template range from being photo-centered to being more like posters that don’t use a photo. Both layout styles are very effective. Scroll through and click on any layout you want to try. Don’t like it? Click on another layout to start over.
Text – This section is totally customizable in terms of size, style, and font. Choose from the first three options to add a text box to your layout or from any of the “stickers” below that hold text. Every piece of text in those stickers can be changed upon adding it to your design. It’s really quite cool the way it functions.
Background – Whether your choose a layout or choose to go with a blank slate, you can add a textured background or a plain background to your design. Click on the color bubbles, the + sign for more color options, or one of the textured backgrounds to add it to your design.
Uploads – Here’s where the fun part comes in! If you are planning on using photos in your design, I would usually start my design by uploading them here. Click on the blue bar to upload your photos from you computer and they will appear in your collection below. And, just like how all of your designs save to your account, your photos will too.
This is one of the layouts you can choose. All of it is free just the way it is!
You’ll want to customize this template with your business name, address, website, promotion code – anything you want really! Each piece of this template can be changed an altered to be in your business style or colors. Have a logo for your business already? Be sure to upload it into the Uploads section so you can add it to your design. Branding is very important!
Ready to save? At the top you will click on Link & Publish. Make sure that in the far right corner, Canva says it is done saving your design.
You will see this screen next. What is cool about Canva is that you can show people your design without having to send them a giant file in an email only to have to go back in and redesign something. All you have to do is grab that link and send it to someone so they can see what you’ve made. Checking the check box below will let anyone edit your design, so choose wisely. This is especially useful for creative businesses that have more than one person working on a team or if you just need design advice from a friend.
For the social media template, choose the Image option and save it somewhere on your computer for easy access when you go to post your design on Facebook etc.