The Ins and Outs of Canva: 10 Tips and Tricks to Help You Get Started

In the world of digital marketing, Canva has become somewhat of a buzzword. Anyone from social media managers to small business owners have been using the free online design tool to create eye-catching graphics, social media images and web banners to name a few. Whatever marketing image you need, guaranteed it can be made on Canva!

So, what is Canva exactly?

Canva is an easy to use, complete graphic design tool made for both the beginner and experienced designer. You can design anything from posters and business cards to social media graphics and web banners, and everything in between. Depending on your experience and comfort level, you can either start from scratch or with one of their amazing templates.

Who should use Canva?

The great thing about Canva is that it is a user-friendly tool and can be used by anyone with the app or desktop version. It is best suited for small business owners, online entrepreneurs and marketers who want to design things quickly and easily. 

How do you use Canva?

Canva makes it easy to create graphics using their free, professionally designed template library filled with thousands of templates perfect for any project. The templates are customizable, so you can change the layout, background, colours, and fonts to match your brand. You can also add in additional elements like icons, illustrations, or frames – with a simple drag and drop!

If templates aren’t your thing or if there isn’t one that fits your needs, then you can also build your design from scratch. You can easily choose a blank design with the exact dimensions you need for your project. From there, you can build your image with elements, text, photos, and backgrounds.

One thing to note about Canva is that there is both a free and paid version of the program. With the free Canva account, you’ll still have access to templates, photos, and graphic elements which is more than enough to get started. However, if you want access to everything Canva has to offer, it may be worth looking into the paid Pro version instead. In the Pro version, you have access to all stock photos, fonts, elements, and templates. You also have more storage as well as additional editing options. Choosing between the free version and paid version will depend on how often you plan on using the program, and how you intend to use it. For the occasional graphic, the free version is more than enough!

Our 10 Canva tips and tricks

1) Create your very own brand kit

One of Canva’s best features has to be their brand kit feature. It allows you to save specific colours and fonts related to your brand. This helps maintain consistency and brand recognition, especially when creating social media graphics. It’s also a great way to save frequently used colours and fonts.

2) Get perfectly aligned text and images

Canva makes it super easy to align text, elements, and photos in your graphic projects. Instead of manually positioning each object or relying on your own eye, you can easily use the position tools to align and group your text and images. You can also group and ungroup elements in your project to make it easier to position them where you want them to be.

3) Canva also works in layers

As with many other design programs, you can layer your design elements in Canva too. You can bring certain elements forward or back, which creates depth in your design. You can also use layers to create shadows, transparent overlays or to change the shape of the elements in your design.

4) Background remover

This one is probably pretty self-explanatory, but it is one of the most useful features in Canva. With just one click you can remove the background from any headshot, product, or logo. The image eraser makes it easy to remove specific areas of the image once the background has been removed. It’s by far one of the most used tools in the Canva toolbox.

5) Filter elements and sort fonts by style

Canva has a wide range of elements that you can add to your graphics. You can search for the elements by name, type or even by color. To search by color, type what you’re looking for in the element search bar, click the filter icon and select the colour palette you’re looking for. You can also filter the elements by orientation (square, vertical, horizontal) as well.

Canva also allows you to search and sort fonts by font type. You can search categories including handwriting, website heading, title, modern, bold, and retro. When you type in any one of these keywords in the font search bar, Canva will curate a list of relevant fonts for you to choose from.

6) Use Pixabay and Pexels inside Canva

Finding the right stock image or photo can be tricky but Canva makes it easy with Pixabay and Pexels libraries right inside its editor. Through Canva, you get access to a large variety of stock images that you can use directly in your designs! This makes things easier for you as you don’t have to search for images to add to your design on various websites.

7) Use Smart Mock-ups

You can easily create product mock-ups directly in Canva with Smart Mock-ups. Smart Mock-ups allows you to place your visuals on t-shirts, mugs, or magazine covers. You can also add your image on to mock-ups of phones, laptops, greeting cards and more – perfect for social media posts. To get a Smart Mock-up, simply add your photo to your design, click “edit image” and scroll down the options until you see Smart Mock-up.

8) Use Tidy Up for even spacing

Have a bunch of elements on your page that are just spread around all over the place? You can spend all your time aligning them manually or you can try Canva’s tidy up feature. First, select the elements that you wish to align and click on position. Then choose a direction to align (left, right, centre, middle, top, bottom). Finish by selecting the tidy up feature to apply equal spacing between the elements in your graphic.

9) Canva templates

It’s been mentioned before but it’s worth saying again – Canva’s templates are one of the best things about the program! Their template library is filled with thousands of pre-formatted designs that are easily edited to fit your needs and brand. The templates are a great starting point for those new to Canva (and new to designing) as they give you an idea of where to place elements, and which font and colour combinations to use.

10) Magic resize tool

This one is just for those who choose to upgrade to Canva Pro, but it’s a good one to know as it can make your life so much easier! The Canva Pro magic resize tool allows you to create a design then magically resize it with just one click. The tool resizes your design to pre-set dimensions without stretching or cutting off images, so your graphics look professional every time!

Canva is an amazing graphic design tool and one that you should seriously consider using. From speeding up your design workflow to elevating your brand visuals, it’s one of the most helpful tools out there. If you haven’t already, sign up for the free version of Canva. Play around with it a bit and see if it’s right for you. If you want access to more features, consider upgrading to Canva Pro. It will be well worth the investment! And remember to keep these handy tips and tricks in mind when you decide to take the Canva plunge!