It's amazing how many skills you need to master as a business owner or blogger just to feel like you're keeping up isn't it?! Never fear though, if being a design guru isn't listed on your cv this post is for you!
There is an easy (and free!) way to make gorgeous graphics for your website, blog posts, social media posts and other marketing materials and it's a little tool called Canva. It's basically a free, online website which is perfect if you don't have the time to learn how to use something like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop as it makes designing your marketing materials really easy!
WHY IS CANVA SO GOOD?
- It's free and very easy to use (did I mention that?!)
- It comes with lots of templates already set up for social media, blog graphics, business cards, marketing documents, posters, invitations, etc
- Canva saves your previous creations and stores them on the homepage (once you've signed in) which makes it easy for you to use your previous design again but change the wording or images
- There are lots of text options to choose from, already designed and just ready for you to tweak
- You can download your creations ready for print or web use
HOW TO GET STARTED using canva
To sign up for a free account go to canva.com. To create your first graphic you can either choose from one of their handy templates (which are already set up in the correct dimensions) or enter 'custom dimensions' if you need a specific, non-standard sized graphic:
You will then see a screen like this with your blank graphic / document set up ready for you to play with:
I'll quickly talk you through the key areas then you can have a go and start getting creative! Let's start with the main menu - the icons in the black side bar down the left hand side of the screen:
SEARCH - As the name suggests you can use the search bar to find images, backgrounds, illustrations, etc but here is where you can also find pre-set shapes, lines, grids, frames and more which are really useful. Canva will also automatically show you dotted, purple lines on your document to guide you to finding the centre and lining up elements.
LAYOUTS - A selection of different options for your blank document as shown in the screenshot above
TEXT - Just drag and drop any of the text layouts onto your document then a little black menu will appear for you to replace the wording with your own, change the colours, size, etc
BACKGROUND - Add pattern or change the colour of your backgrounds here
UPLOADS - Click on the green button to 'upload your own images' then drag them over to position them in your graphic. Any images you add will be stored here for a while so you don't need to keep uploading them each time! When you add an image to your design a further pop up menu will appear where you can edit the image with filters and do things like adjust the size or positioning.
ZOOM - You can also zoom in or out on your document using the + or - symbols which is useful if you're designing something small or intricate!
Finally once you're happy with your design just click on 'download' in the top right hand corner and select which format you'd like it in to finish.
Like anything it does take a little bit of practice and experimenting but honestly anyone can use it and produce professional looking designs (like this blog title graphic)!
Have you had a play with Canva yet? Do you have any tips or tricks you've learnt which might help others to get the hang of it?