A Beginners Guide on How to Use Canva

Coffee on bed

One of the main reasons we’re not all using Canva is because not everyone knows where to start! Sometimes the thought of being in complete control of your own marketing can seem daunting, but within minutes you’ll find out how the process is not only deceivingly simple, but also the number 1 way to create cohesive, on-brand designs.

Are you ready to become a Canva pro? Let’s jump in!

Discover Your “Why”

Discover how to use canva

I’m not saying you need to do all the soul searching (yet!) but knowing your “why” is the first step to making the most out of Canva. Consider your purpose for creating a design. Are you promoting a brand? Do you want to send a reminder to your audience? Is it to advertise a new product?

When advertising my Canva challenges, my target audience is you, the social media community. Because of this, I ensure my posts are ready for every platform, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Your purpose may be to advertise your new business on Pinterest, meaning your design will need to be pin friendly. This is great! Just keep your “why” in mind as you work through the following steps.

Choose A Template

Now for the fun bit- choosing your first template. You can explore a library of hundreds of pre-made templates all built with a different purpose in mind, this is the perfect time to come back to your “why” and pick the perfect one for you.

Tip: To avoid getting lost in the world of templates (trust me, it’s easily done!) try searching on Canvas Explore section. This allows you to find templates by category, from Blog Graphics to Seating Plan, everything is there for you!

Don’t worry if you can’t find a template that reflects your vision exactly. The great thing about Canva is that every single design is 100% customisable, you could even start from scratch with a blank canvas! Let’s give it a go…

A step by step guide to canva

Eye-Catching Imagery

Think back to the last time an advert caught your eye. Was it a page in a magazine? A sponsored ad before your favourite tv show? Or a billboard on the street? Something these all have in common is eye-catching photography. Choosing the right image for your design is super important, and super fun!

Have a browse on Canvas background library (that just so happens to be colour co-ordinated!) for a stand-out background that aligns with your purpose and brand. After that, take a look at their image library, where you can search for specific photos to highlight what you’re all about. If you can’t find one you like out of the 400,000 free options, feel free to upload your own!

Once you’ve chosen, simply drag and drop.

Learning how to use Canva is quick and easy

Adding Elements

Let’s inject some personality! To add a bit of va-va-voom to your designs, you can easily insert various elements, such as illustrations, shapes and frames! Again, you can either search directly for what you have in mind, or freely browse the icons and shapes.

Maybe you want to bring attention to a release date by adding a border or guide the viewers eye with a frame. Have a play and figure out what works best for you.

Note: Often, Canva will feature seasonal stickers for you to use on your designs. Check them out during the next holiday season!

Striking Typography

Going back to those eye-catching adverts, they most likely also involve an element of text. Pairing your chosen imagery with striking typography is the key to bringing the whole thing together.

I suggest you replace the place holder text with your own before changing the font. This way you can see how your own text will look amongst your imagery.

Even if your branding is minimal and clean, using a bold font surrounded by clean space is a great way to bring your design alive!

Create striking graphics with Canva

Staying On Brand

What’s the next step? Personalise your design with your own branding. Just as you can upload your own photography, you can also upload your own logo. This is vital for any business, so make sure each of your designs has your logo stamped somewhere visible!

The aim is for your designs to be instantly recognisable by your audience! Through your brand colours, logo and fonts this is easily done – and Canva helps you along the way by giving you the option to save these elements, ensuring all your creations look cohesive.

Next time someone catches sight of your designs, they just won’t be able to scroll past!


“But what if I want to post my design to different social media platforms?” I hear you ask. Don’t worry! I’ve got you covered.

By the click of a button, Canva can re-size your designs to the exact dimensions needed for each and every platform. From YouTube to LinkedIn, you’re all sorted. You can turn a single graphic into many, with the ability to quickly rejig the layout if necessary.

The different versions of this design will be stored together so you don’t need to worry about losing them. They’re just waiting to be shared!

Find out how to use canva

Sharing And Posting

Let’s recap!

You have in front of you on brand designs filled with purposeful imagery, eye-catching typography and information that powerfully expresses your “why”, all ready to be shared across the board.

If you’re after a second opinion, click “Share”, and allow your team to view and edit your designs easily.

Get posting! Save and upload your final designs directly to each platform or embed them into your blog or website via the computer-generated link.

How Does It Feel To Be A Canva pro?

I’m betting it feels pretty good! You’re now fully equipped with the tools to create, share and post your designs like a real, professional graphic designer – except a lot less expensive!

Thanks to our ready-made templates and these 8 easy steps, all the hard work is done for you. So, get creating, I can’t wait to see what you make!

Want to take a peek at our gorgeous Canva templates, just pop over to our Template Store.

Congratulations! You’re a Canva Pro. Now you’re ready to edit our templates to your heart’s content. Check out The Template Lab HERE.

Create promotional graphics in canva