I’m a huge fan of free tools, especially when those tools make my business look professional, coherent, unique and well, just.damn.cool!
The thing is, I’m not a designer. I haven’t trained in design and my career and previous business never required that I learn how to use Adobe Creative Cloud. Plus the accountant in me doesn’t see the benefit of spending time learning how to use it and paying a $20+/month fee for what I create for this blog.
So I hear you ask… If I don’t use Adobe, what do I use to create all my graphics for my blog, business and social media?
I use Canva and it’s one of my essential business tools that I use every day, a couple of times a day. I’ve recently moved onto a paid plan, but prior to that I used this tool for 3 years for free and still created amazing graphics.
So what is Canva + why should you love it?
Canva is an online tool that helps you easily create beautiful designs + documents, using the drag-and-drop feature and professional layouts to design consistently stunning graphics.
WHY SHOULD YOU BE USING CANVA?
- It’s free option is fantastic.
- It’s easy to use, so you don’t need to have designer skills.
- It has every template you need and examples to help you get started.
- It comes with a great range of free images, icons and fonts.
- It has the option of purchasing images for single use for $1.
- It saves your visuals so that you can come back to them in the future.
- You can adjust the colours, tones, lightness of your photos with the cool photo filter function.
- And it’s cloud based, which means you can share a link with a designer who can take your design to the next level.
HERE’S A QUICK GUIDE ON HOW TO USE CANVA
Create a new canva.com account and this is the first page you will see.
CHOOSE YOUR TEMPLATE
You’ll be able to choose the template you’d like to begin with or you can create a custom size image.
When you choose a template, Canva shows you layouts that they’ve already created, as you can see on the left hand side. You can either use a free one, purchase one or take inspiration from one. It’s really easy to distinguish between a free or $1 template.
EDITING YOUR IMAGE
It also really easy to start from a blank page or add to + edit your visual, like I’ve done on this blog posts thumb image above.
I’ve selected my layout, added in a border, some text, made sure the background was the right colour and an image I’ve purchased from Haute Chocolate.
As you can see, it’s easy enough to:
Add elements – which could be icons or grids, frames or free photos, charts or illustrations
You can add text to your graphic – there’s a great selection that should match your branding
A background – some have textures to give you something unique
Or you can upload your own images – and make adjustments just like you would in photoshop.
EDITING A PHOTO
There is a really handy photo filter function. If you’ve purchased a stock image and you want it to look unique, you can crop the image and play around with its colours to make it look unique to your business.
And that’s the basics of using Canva. It’s really really simple to use and it allows you to create great visuals that reflect your brand and help you engage more with your readers and visitors.
RECOMMENDED READING: Learn the fundamentals of creating a great marketing visual that easily converts
If you’ve been thinking about using Canva, have a play around with it and let me know in the comments below how it’s helping your business.