Effective use of design is arguably one of the most important aspects of creating a memorable brand. There are plenty of paid services you can use to create branded content, but new business owners often don’t have the budget (or skill) to invest in more complex marketing tools. If you’re looking for a free option that is easy to use, with almost complete creative control, look no further. Because Canva is the option you are looking for.
Canva is a phenomenal free design service that allows you to design almost anything you could possibly need for your brand’s social media marketing. With predefined templates for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest posts, along with a million other templates you might encounter as a business owner, Canva is your go-to service for branded image design.
In this easy step by step post, I’ll show you how to use Canva.
- Visit Canva.com, and create a free account.
- There will be a 23 second tutorial demo for you to watch. This demo goes over the basics of how to use Canva. After the demo, there is an interactive tutorial in which you can play with the features.
- In the first step, the tutorial wants you to change the color of the circle. Simply click the circle, select the color of the circle in the Options menu, and change the color to your liking. You can also enter custom HEX colors by clicking the Plus sign in the circle under the color Options menu.
- Next, we’re going to put a hat on the chimpanzee! Go to the search bar in the upper left hand corner of the screen. Enter the word “hat,” and choose from the selection of free hat icons to place on our little friend.
- Now we will update the background of this slide. Click on the Backgrounds option on the far left menu. Choose from the background colors listed, or upload your own JPG or PNG file.
- For this slide, we’ll put a picture of our favorite food in the box in the middle of the slide. Enter the name of your favorite food in the search bar in the upper lefthand corner, and choose from options provided.
- This slide wants us to choose a custom layout for the design. Click on the Layout option in the lefthand menu, and select a layout option. To change the pictures in the layout, simply select the image, and update it according to the images you would like to use.
Tutorial complete! Now it’s time to create your own beautiful designs!
It really is that simple. Intuitive, functional design that even the most inexperienced small business owner can handle. They really have thought of everything!
Now that you have the basics down, you’re ready to start designing like a pro. The best part about Canva is that the majority of the services and design options are completely free. If you do choose to use a premium design or icon, it’s only $1.00. That’s right, only $1.00. If you’re wondering how “nice” the free options are, and whether that $1.00 fee will add up over time…well, I’ve been using Canva for YEARS and have yet to pay a cent. Every need has been creatively met by the available free options.
Canva most recently released a service called Canva for Work, in which you can use Canva to create all of the branded content that you will need for your organization, as well as collaborate with other designers in your organization to perfect your branded content. This is a paid service, in which you can choose to be billed monthly or yearly, with discounts for paying annually. Even as a paid service, Canva leaves its expensive competitors in the dust by being able to create compelling and effective designs for a fraction of the cost of many of the more complex tools.
To get your started on your design journey, here are a few idea of what you can create with Canva:
- Social Media Headers and Featured Images
- Blog Graphics
- Blog Headers
- Inspirational Graphics
- Engagement, Wedding, Graduation, Pregnancy, Birth Announcements
- Greeting Cards
- Album Covers
- E-Book Covers
- Recipe Cards
- Email Signatures
- Gift Certificates
- Business Cards
The possibilities are virtually endless. Happy designing!
PS. Remember the “KISS” (Keep It Simple, Stupid) rule when designing graphics for your blog or brand. Design tools can often have us trigger happy before we even know it, littering our marketing pieces with special icons and a million fonts with all of the bells and whistles. Ditch the clutter and reign in your excitement – Be sure any graphic you create is strategically focused and clearly depicts your voice and brand.