As a newbie to the online world of working on the web, I love all the free resources, tutorials, tricks and tools I can get. With this What is Series, I’ll be sharing with you my favorite online tools and resources. I’ll give you some background, tell you why it’s good for your business, and where you can find more information about the tool if you want to keep learning more. And if you have more questions or want some personal training, just let me know.
My first What is Series post is about Canva!
What is it?
Canva is an easy-to-use graphic design tool that you use right in your browser. It allows you to make professional-looking images and graphics and offers tons and tons of free and $1-only resources. You can start with common templates for your social media profiles, common post types, print documents and even Kindle book covers.
After creating your mini-masterpiece, you can download your work as image files or PDFs or immediately share them on your social media networks.
Why I love it
I love this tool because my graphic design skills are limited with the typical design programs and they provide tons of resources for helping you to make awesome images. They have Design School with a blog, tutorials and teaching materials to help you master Canva as well as improve your overall eye for graphic design. In the tutorials you can try out simple design techniques, like layering images, manipulating text, and adding stickers and buttons, so you can get the hang of the program.
Another feature I love is that I can come back to previously designed images and continue working on them or just grab the hex code (for colors). You can also make a set of images right in the same session and download them all in a zipped file.
Hop on over to my public Canva profile and see some of the work I’ve done for clients and for myself.
3 ways it helps your business
What good would a tool be if it didn’t support your business? Here’s why Canva would make a great tool to bring into your work:
1. Images are important for building your brand
Whether you are advertising, blogging, sending newsletters or posting to social media, images make your brand and message POP! This great infographic from MDG Advertising shows us all we need to know about the benefit of using images in our marketing. If you’re not using images in promoting your brand, you may be losing out to the competition. And Canva makes it easy to make those images.
2. Templates, layouts, and pre-made designs make it easy for beginners
It’s hard to get going (or go anywhere at all!) if you’re starting from scratch and you don’t have to do that with Canva. They provide the inspiration, the templates and pre-designed elements for you to incorporate in your images. You can change the colors, add or remove text, and move them around as you like, but by starting with a smart outline, you’re already half way towards beautiful content.
3. It’s free and cheap
Canva is free to use, you just need to sign up and you’re ready to go. You can upload your own images and use Canva’s free elements (including lots of fonts and all the colors available in the internet) as much as you like. Free is great for your business, especially if you’re a new start up (like me!)
If you want more, you can use Canva’s photos, elements and templates for only $1 a piece. That’s a pretty great deal! And while I think the options are limitless with the free stuff, paying to have awesome looking content is a worthwhile investment.
Features to look out for
Canva provides a bunch of templates in the left side pane for use and as inspiration. If you’re looking to start with your own photo or a plain background, click on “Layouts” in the left pane and then scroll down until you see the blank photo templates with the blue sky and green rolling hills. Then search for the type of layout you want.
There are many layouts to start with under the “Layouts” tab, but there’s also a bunch more under the “Text” tab. These can be added to white background or photo, and you can change the colors, copy and fonts. They are perfect for adding pizzazz to your document or a call-to-action button on your image.
When working with the copy and fonts on your image or document, you’ve got a lot of options to work with. Click on the text and then on the down arrow to get to the drop down menu. Options include bold/italics/uppercase, formatting into lists, justification (left, center, right), spacing and transparency.
As you add more text or images to your image or document, you’ll need to make sure it looks aligned and spaced correctly. Enter the alignment helper lines. They will appear as you are moving an element around and then you can see if that element will be aligned with the other elements. Here my line appeared in the center.
I want more!
I have only scratched the surface of what this online tool can do for you and your business. Canva has helped me and my clients in creating beautiful content. I look forward to the day when I can create Kindle book covers, business cards and posters.
As for finding more information, the best place you can go for Canva is to Canva itself! They have tutorials, a blog and provide their resources on multiple networks. And there’s always a blog post out there with great tips.
Show Me Your Stuff!
Send me a tweet @SparkVA with your favorite image or document you created with Canva. Or share it with me on my Facebook page.