Ah Canva!

Melanie Perkins, the woman who started this company (and who is now one of the richest in Australia under 40) should be proud.

Really proud.

Because in my book, Canva rocks.

In my book, it's one of the best tools I’ve run across since I started online marketing in the 90s.

To my mind, true success online comes when you build each digital asset on the triumvirate of Words, Design and Technology.

In other words, how you look is just as important as what you say (or what platform you’re saying it on).

But the reality is that most of us are not graphic designers (nor do we have the budget to employ a full-time designer).

This is where Canva steps in…

  • It gives all of us non-graphic designers access—at last—to the world of design. Without the fuss, aggravation or cost.
  • It is super simple to use.
  • Intuitive.
  • And inexpensive.

Why Canva is one of the best tools out there.

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Free actually. (Unless you use an image from their database which will set you back a minimal $1).

And the designs you can create are really amazing. With this tool, there’s no need to settle for anything less than a brilliant, professional-looking blog.

Here’s how it works. Step-by-step.

Step One: Pick a Design

After setting up an account with Canva, choose the graphic template you desire. You can pick templates pre-sized for specific purposes, i.e. Facebook ads, blog graphics, presentation slides, etc.

If the pre-sized choices aren’t suitable for you, you simply customize the size of your design. To do so, simply click on the “Use Custom Dimensions” button in the upper right hand corner….

…and then manually insert the dimensions you need:

Step Two: Select Your Layout and Background

After selecting your dimensions, you want to pick out a layout. There are dozens of layouts already created for you by the Canva team each with its own look, text, and filters.

If you decide you don’t like any of the pre-designed layouts, you can start from scratch on your own.  Canva provides various ‘bare bone’ layouts that will help you organize your creation from the ground up. To access these basic layouts, scroll past their pre-designed layouts until you see something like this:

Step Three: Choose an Image

Once you have decided upon a layout, it’s time to upload an image. Once again, you have a choice. You can either pick one of the thousands of images available to you in the Canva library. Or simply upload your own images. Add your own image with the upload tab.

To select an image from the Canva library, use their search function. Many Canva images are free, while others are available for a nominal fee of $1.

Plus they are easy to find! Just go into the search bar and type in the topic for which you’d like an image.

To demonstrate, we are going to look up the word “Canva” and see what kind of images we can find.

Best part? You don’t only have photographs to choose from! Canva has a lot more on offer including shapes, illustrations, icons, charts and much more…

Step Four: Image Editing

Now that you have an image, it’s time to edit it! You can resize any image simply by dragging the corners (to enlarge or reduce it). To rotate an image, simply click on the circular arrow at the bottom of the picture. You can also crop the image, flip it (vertically or horizontally) and alter its transparency.

The color of different elements of your design can be easily changed using the ‘color circle’ on the tool bar. You can either choose one of Canva’s suggested color or use a color wheel to match the color you are looking for exactly.

Step Five: Add Text

The fun isn’t finished yet! Canva’s text options are almost endless. There are several pre-designed templates to choose from or you can simply use their basic text options to make a creation of your own.

You can customize font type, size, and color as well as adjust text spacing and line height.

(Time-Saving Tip): Once you have the font and colors you like, you can save them as the default for future projects.

Step Six: Publishing

After editing your image, you can publish it with one click. When you publish, you’ll pay for any of the priced components you used but each component is usually priced at $1 so it really shouldn’t break the bank.

Canva saves your designs, so you can make more of the same style or edit your previous designs. (If you used a paid image, you get 24 hours to re-edit the image before you’ll have to pay the use fee again.)

Finally! A step-by-step guide to Canva! 

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Finally, if you get stuck (or simply looking for inspiration), Canva’s Design School is full of quick and easy tutorials. 

Bottom line, Canva is the non-designers designer dream. It makes creating professional looking images, ads and graphics accessible to everyone (and is a ton of fun to use!) So get onboard the Canva train.

If you are online, you really do need to be using this awesome resource.

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About the Author

Nicknamed the 'female David Ogilvy’, Sue Rice is famous for her exquisite writing skills and strategic savvy. A native Californian and Stanford University graduate, she launched her career on Madison Avenue in the 90s and eventually helped run BBDO Europe in Paris as their Communications Director. Now a 7-figure entrepreneur, Sue helps businesses create high-quality content that attracts clients, builds brands and skyrockets sales.