How To Start Designing With Canva (Free)

Where to begin?

So you want to start creating with Canva, but just don’t know where to start? No need to panic! Canva is a super quick and easy tool to get creative and share professional graphics, perfect for building your brand or advertising on social media – did I mention it was free?

Let’s get started. Sign up and design along with me…

Consider The Purpose

When going into Canva, it’s good to already have in mind what it is that you want to create. Get to know the ins and outs of why you need a graphic and the purpose it will serve.

It’s also a great idea beforehand to have a rough idea of what you want your graphic to look like. You may already have a vision in mind, great! If not, think about your brand and its personality – this should give you an idea of whether you’ll be creating a clean and minimal design or a loud graphic with pops of colour!

Templates For You

To avoid staring at a blank, white canvas – I call this designers’ block! – browse by category to find a template that suits your needs. Don’t let the photographs or colours put you off as all of this is customisable, and you can replace them with your own.

Remember when picking a template to keep your purpose in mind, this will help you to stay on track and not just pick something because it looks pretty. It’s easily done!

Time To Customise

Remember when I said that each template was customisable? Here’s your time to shine!

Clicking on an element within your template will bring up a blue box around it, this means we’re editing it. The toolbar above gives us the option to ungroup, duplicate or delete an element, whereas the menus on the left are full to the brim with libraries of photographs, fonts and illustrations to replace them with.

It doesn’t take long to get into the swing of things and find your own rhythm when it comes to designing, so the design process is a really individual thing. My personal preference is to work the bottom, up. Starting with the background, images, then the font etc. I always leave adding additional elements until last as I see them as more decorative pieces, but it’s really up to you!

Adding A Background

Depending on the purpose of your graphics and your business brand, your background could be either a photograph or solid colour. Either way, both options are available in the same menu “Background”.

You can browse the backgrounds for the perfect landscape, still life or textured back drop before dragging and dropping them on to your template. Before you release, you can see the background automatically fill the page. If you don’t like it, just drag and drop another! Same thing for the solid colours at the top of the menu.

Inserting Images

It’s really easy to navigate through the menu to find “Photos”. This is where we’ll hang out while replacing the photographs within the template with new, more relevant ones.

You can use the search bar to look for a specific image – all the free ones show up first and say “Free” as you hover over them making the process quick and easy. The scroll bar underneath the search bar suggests similar options for you to browse also.

If there’s nothing you fancy, or you already have branded imagery created and ready to use, you can simply upload these! Head to menu again and visit “Uploads” to find files from your computer.

Tip: You can use any of these images as your background, too! Simply drag and drop as we did before.

The World Of Fonts

I don’t know about you, but this is a world I get lost in often – let’s stick together!

Let’s begin by replacing the place-holder text with your own. Including a title, the body and include dates or prices where necessary. Usually, we want all the important details to be the most visible, so ensure everything stands out!

The “Group” and “Ungroup” options allows you to move your headline, headers and body individually or together. This is super handy when it comes to using several fonts and working out how they best fit together – experiment with it!

Additional Bits And Bobs

The bulk of your design is complete. Yay! Now for all those finishing touches to make it look super profesh…

“Elements” is the section that covers everything from illustrations to charts and graphs. This is where we can add a touch of magic and a little personality, so from here on out it’s over to you! Although I do recommend that you checkout the seasonal elements for any holiday-themed graphics, as well as the “Stickers” to catch the attention of your audience.

Have a play

I’m letting you loose in the world of Canva to explore and play for yourself. You really can’t go wrong, so just give it a go and see what happens!