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6 Easy Graphic Design Tips for Beginners: Your Guide to Designing in Canva

Want to create eye-catching graphics but don’t have time to learn complex professional design software or the principles of design and typography? Then Canva is the perfect choice for you! Canva can help bring your vision to life with it’s easy to use interface and vast array of features.

And one of the great features about Canva is the thousands of templates that are ready for you to customize to your needs. They’re a good shortcut to design and are fully customizable, allowing you to change the colors, images and more to suit your needs and brand.

But sometimes you need something that is more outside the box and custom-made. That’s where this article comes in! We’re breaking down the process of creating a custom-made graphic in Canva from scratch, with tips from choosing your dimensions to making your design look good.

Tip 1: Look for inspiration

Before you even open Canva, take some time to think about what you want to create and how you want it to look. Browse images online, and research exactly what you want to create. If you’re creating a large-scale project, you may also want to come up with a mood board containing a collection of images, colour swatches, and other visual pieces to help you organize your thoughts. It can also help to create a common colour palette or theme that can then be applied to your project.

Sketching a rough draft of your design on paper before you begin can also help bring your vision to life. Think about what you’d like to include in your design and where it might look the best, then use that sketch to get started in Canva.

Take a look at various images on social media, websites, and print. Find designs that you love and try to replicate the same general layout, use of filters and elements. Don’t be afraid to replicate, just make sure that you are not creating the exact same image. Put your own spin on it with your brand colours and fonts to make it a design you truly love.

Tip 2: Choose the right dimensions

To start, choose what type of design you’d like to create from the Canva homepage. There are a number of pre-set dimensions available to use for your graphic, whether it’s a social media post, flyer, or newsletter, to name a few. If you don’t find the dimensions you need, you can also use custom dimensions by searching for custom size. Here you can choose from pixels, millimetres, or inches.

Tip 3: Choose a background 

The background you choose for your design can be either a solid colour, image, or textured background. Your background image should support the message of your content and should be simple enough to allow images or texture to be placed over top.

When choosing a colour, think about what colour best suits your needs and brand. You can also use Canva’s colour palette tool to help you find colours that work well together.

If you choose to use a photo as a background, first add a grid. Once in a grid, the photos can be resized, cropped, flipped, or layered to create several visual effects. You can choose a photo from Canva’s library or upload your own.

Tip 4: Add elements to your design

Once you have decided on your background, it’s time to add elements to your design. This can include text, icons, photos, illustrations, or graphics. These should be added to your design in a way that is both visually appealing and balanced. In other words, elements shouldn’t just be placed haphazardly on the page, they should be laid out in a balanced way. Look at your design and ask yourself, “Are the elements balanced? Are they centered? Are they too close to other elements or too close to the edge of the page?”. If you answer yes to any of these questions, go back and move things around to create a more cohesive design. Remember not to overload your design with too many elements as it can detract from the overall message of your design.

And don’t be afraid of negative space, also known as white space. Negative space can be any area within a design that is free from images, text, or elements. Having areas of negative space within your design can help with grouping, adding emphasis and improving overall legibility of your design.

Tip 5: Choose your font

Fonts can make a huge difference when it comes to the overall look and feel of your design. Choose a font that matches the feel of your brand as well as the message you are trying to convey. You may also need to choose more than one font for your design, although it’s recommended that you don’t use more than two fonts in your design at one time. Using more than that can make it appear messy and disorganized.

When choosing your fonts, make sure they complement each other. Fonts that complement each other also add visual interest to your design and can make it look more cohesive. Canva also makes it easy to choose complimentary fonts. They have hundreds of pre-set font combinations to choose from. You can also create your own combinations, but remember, keep it simple. If you choose an elaborate font, then pair it with a simpler font so your design remains balanced. Also ensure your message can be read easily and clearly with your chosen font.

Tip 6: Enrich your image with a filter 

Don’t be afraid to use filters in your design. Filters are a great tool for changing the tone of an image. What’s more, using a specific filter on a number of posts or designs can create a theme and enhance your brand recognition.

To add a filter in Canva, select your image, click on the filter button, then choose from any one of the 14 custom filters available in Canva. You can also change the intensity of the filter, the brightness, contrast, and saturation.

With Canva, you don’t have to have a degree in graphic design to be good at creating eye-catching graphics. Don’t give up if your first design doesn’t turn out exactly how you had hoped. As with many things, practice makes perfect, and your designs will improve the more you work at it. Keep practicing, keep creating and you might just surprise yourself with what you come up with. However, if designing in Canva is still too intimidating, then reach out to a graphic design team like Trilogy Solutions. We can definitely help bring your design vision to life!