Canva is a graphic design platform with a lot of features that help you create everything from Instagram posts to business logos, for free. It is very easy and uncomplicated to use because it has several fonts, templates, images, and graphics. Canvas has a simple and user-friendly interface that’s very well-designed and intuitive.
It is aimed to bridge the gap in the market for an easy-to-use graphic design platform. Thus barely a year after its launch, Canva had racked up three-quarters of a million users and presently has more than 30 million monthly active users.
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How to use Canva
Canva is available as iOS and Android apps or a website version for your laptop or desktop all you need to use it is to sign up with Google, Facebook, or an email address.
More than 250,000 templates,100 design types (social media posts, resumes, presentations, letters, and more), and hundreds of thousands of photos, font styles, and graphics are absolutely free on Canva.
Canva autosaves your design so you won’t have to start over every time, each user also has free 5GB storage on the Canva. Once you’ve made a Canva creation, the platform makes it very simple to download it, share it with others, and, in some cases, post it directly to other websites.
However, paying to use Canva Pro will get you even more functionality. Unlimited access to all the design content on the platform, over 420,000 templates with new designs added daily, and 75 million premium stock photos, graphics, videos, and audio
Going “Pro” also means your cloud storage allowance will get upgraded to 100GB, schedule social media content to publish at certain times and dates, create a “Brand Kit” to upload your own fonts, brand colour palette, and logos to use across the entire Canva platform. You’ll also get access to Canva’s impressive “Magic Resize” tool, which allows you to change a post you’ve created for Instagram, for example, to a perfectly sized Youtube post.
Designing from scratch: A Step by Step guide
Canva’s templates are fully customizable, you can change the colours, add texts, images, and a lot more. The tens of thousands of templates for every design on Canva provide a shortcut to every good design need.
Canva’s interface treats each part of your design as a separate element: The image is one element, colours are other elements, the text is another element, and graphics are another. This means creating with Canva is broken down into easy chunks you can tackle one at a time.
We’re going to take you through how to create a basic social media post using a simple Canva template so you can see all these elements edited and changed from the template to the finished product. However, in this article, we would be focusing on using Canva mobile apps.
Choose your design type
From the home page, if you choose to create a flyer or a social media post, or something else, remember to consider the dimension for your creations as there are optimal dimensions for each graphic. Also, custom dimensions can be used by searching for “custom-size” either in pixels, millimetres, or inches.
You can search for a keyword using the search menu and find a more suitable image. Click on your chosen design to begin.
Alternatively, you can upload your own images from your computer. To do this, click on the “+” button on the left.
Choose a background
Canva enables you to choose the background of your design. It can be an image or a colour.
Colours represent a lot of things. If you want a food-related design, red or orange would be a great colour choice as they provoke hunger. So choose a background colour that suits your very needs. To choose a colour, use the Color Picker tool in the toolbar at the top of the editor.
Photos can be imported from your local storage or chosen from the variety that Canva offers. To use a photo as a background, first, add a grid. Once placed on a grid, photos can be flipped, resized, cropped, and layered to create a variety of visual effects.
You can edit background images by adding filters to change the brightness, saturation, and clarity of the photo. This can help when layering text and elements.
A good background image supports the content of your design. Avoid too much going on in the background, so it doesn’t become difficult to overlay things like text or illustrations.
Add your elements
The contents and message of your design – text, icons, photos, or illustrations need to be combined in a way that is visually appealing. Canva provides over 400,000 free elements, to use an element, click on “elements” in the side panel.
All elements used in your creation should be necessary and have a balance. When you’re laying out your elements, ask are elements relevant? Are they balanced? Are they centred? Canva has automated measuring lines that help you figure this out quickly. Also, ensure elements are not too close to each other or the edge of the page.
The best creations are simple designs. Don’t overload your design with too many elements, as it can confuse the visual message of the image. Visual hierarchy involves the arrangement of elements according to their importance. Experiment with colour, size, and placement in order to see what works best.
Pick the right fonts
It is really really important to choose the right fonts as the look of your fonts can have a huge impact on your design. The content of your design should match your fonts. Fonts used to create a design for a picnic wouldn’t be suitable for a government event flyer
Stick to using not more than two fonts in a design to avoid a messy design Although choosing one font is hard enough you may need more than one typeface to create a perfect piece.
Choose complimentary fonts, which add visual interest while working well together. Canva has hundreds of pre-set font combinations to choose from. You can find these in the Text tab in the side panel.
Here’s a tip, if you’re choosing an elaborate font, ensure you pair it with a simpler font so your design is balanced, for instance, a traditional combination like a sans serif font and a serif font is ideal.
Choose less complicated fonts that suit your design, enable readability, and not detract from your message.
These 4 simple tips above would improve your design skills or kick start your graphic design career, creating appealing social media content, and event invitations. Canva has a lot of tools that make it a leading free design tool. Start today.