Creating images used to be difficult. You’d need a lot of training and a lot of practice to start being good at it. And image editing tools are usually on the complicated side. A lot of options, a lot of features. A little intimidating for a beginner.
So I guess that’s the reason why Canva was created. To help people that needed an easier tool to design images. People that wanted to make beautiful graphics without having to learn all the advanced techniques that take time and practice to apply.
Well, Canva is the easiest tool I’ve ever used or seen for creating images. It has enough features to make incredible images, but not too many and make it hard for you to use it.
How Canva Helps You
Canva is a free, online tool. That means you don’t have to pay or download anything to use it. It has a lot of pre-made templates to help you if you don’t already know what exactly you want and tools to edit them out if you do know.
Canva has an extensive collection of images. 99% of the time you’ll find exactly what you want between the free photos. So you don’t have to pay for any photos if you don’t want to, don’t worry!
Canva has a lot of templates to choose from. Here’s the full list (Yeah, it’s a long one…):
- Animated Social Media
- Instagram Post
- Instagram Story
- Facebook Post
- Facebook Story
- Facebook Cover
- Facebook App Ad
- Whatsapp Story
- Twitter Post
- Twitter Header
- Tumblr Graphic
- Youtube Thumbnail
- Youtube Channel Art
- Snapchat Geofilter
- Pinterest Graphic
- LinkedIn Banner
- Tumblr Banner
- Twitch Banner
- Soundcloud Banner
- A4 Document
- Daily Report
- Recipe Card
- Birthday Card
- Photo Collage
- Photo Book
- Graphic Organiser
- Desktop Wallpaper
- Book Cover
- Wattpad Book Cover
- CD / Album Cover
- Comic Strip
- Class Schedule
- Lesson Plan
- Report Card
- Seating Plan
- Table Of Contents
- Business Card
- Trifold Brochure
- Product Label
- Gift Certificate
- Gift Tag
- ID Card
- Blog Banner
- Email Header
- Business Proposal
- Marketing Proposal
- Blog Graphic
- Magazine Cover
- Media Kit
- Etsy Shop Icon
- Etsy Shop Cover
- Birthday Invitation
- Wedding Invitation
- Facebook Event Cover
- Facebook Ad
- Instagram Ad
- Leaderboard Ad
- Wide Skyscrape Ad
How To Use Canva
First, let’s see all the steps together:
And now let’s break this down step by step:
Step 1: Choose A Template
First of all, you need to choose a template. What do you want to make?
- A logo?
- An infographic?
- A card?
- A banner
If you need an image for a specific platform, Canva helps you with a lot of ready templates. Social media images, blog header images, infographics…even if you want to make your CV to stand out, Canva is here to help you!
Just click on Create a design and choose one of the templates you see.
Instead of using a ready template, you can choose the dimensions of the image you want to create.
The dimensions are the width and the height of an image – usually in pixels. The format is width x height. For example, 940×652 is an image that is 940 pixels wide and 652 pixels high.
To create a design with custom dimensions, click on the blue Create a design button on the left and then Custom Dimensions. Fill in the dimensions you want and click on Create Design.
Step 2: Choose the Layout
After choosing the template/dimensions, it’s time to choose the layout from the left sidebar. If the sidebar is closed, click on Templates.
Don’t get distracted by the layout’s topic. You’ll change a lot of things in it. So if the layout is about healthy eating habits and you want to make an image about the greenhouse effect, it’s fine.
Choose based on the layout!
Step 3: Add Photos
After you’ve chosen the layout, it’s the time to get the photos you want.
Go to the sidebar and choose Photos. Search for what you want and scroll down until you find an image you like. Then you can either click on it to get it on your design or drag and drop it on the place you want.
If you choose the drag n’ drop method and you drop it on an existing image, it’ll take its place. If the dimensions of the two images are different, the new dimensions are the same as the old image. If you want to change them, double click on the image.
If you want to use your own images, you need to upload them first. Choose Uploads from the left sidebar and click on Upload an image. While the image gets uploaded, you’ll be seeing the upload symbol on the Uploads button.
Step 4: Add Text
If you want to use text on your design, you can either choose a template that has already text on it or go to Text on the sidebar, choose one of the text templates and edit that one.
Don’t forget that anything that’s on a template you can do it yourself, too. The templates are just to give you a little help.
Besides the basic stuff, let’s see what else you can do on Canva:
You can use graphic elements with transparent background. They can be used on top of other images or without other photos.
Set A Background
If you use only elements without a background or photos that don’t cover all the available space, you can fill the rest of it with a background colour or an image.
If the images cover all the available space, there won’t be any space to have a background. So if you choose a background and nothing changes, it’s usually because images are on top of it.
To change the background, click on Bkground (Background) on the left sidebar and choose a colour or an image as a background. You’re free to use an image from the Photos as a background, as well.
Now, let’s see the toolbars on Canva.
The main bar is on the top of the window and it’s always visible:
- Home: Return back to create a new design
- Rename the project
- Create a new design
- Show margins
- Show print bleed
- Save (Not really needed because Canva auto-saves the changes)
- Make a copy
- Resize: Change the image dimensions
- Copy & Resize: Make a copy of the design and resize it to the new dimensions
- Share: Share the project with others
- Download: Choose the file type you want (PNG, JPG, PDF standard, PDF print, Video, Animation) and download the image. If you have the Pro version, you get two extra options:
- Transparent Background
- Compress File
- Publish: You can publish your image directly to:
- Facebook group / page
- Google drive
Secondary Bar – Right Part
If you choose something on your design, the secondary bar appears under than the main bar. The secondary bar has two parts. The right part that stays the same and the left side that changes based on what you chose (text, photo, element).
Let’s start with the right part:
- Duplicate: Duplicate the chosen element.
- Move the chosen element forwards or backwards
- Align to page
- Copy Style
- Lock: Lock the chosen element to its position
- Grouping: If you want to group two or more elements, you can select them by clicking on them holding down Shift and then click on Group – it appears only when there are more than one chosen elements.
- To ungroup, click on one of the grouped elements and click Ungroup.
Secondary Bar – Left Part (Photos)
If you click on a photo, the secondary bar is the one below. Let’s see the left part:
- Crop: You can crop an image by double-clicking an image or click Crop
Secondary Bar – Left Part (Elements)
If you choose an element then here is the secondary bar you’ll see:
- Colours: You can change the colours of some elements. Click on the colour you want to change and choose the new colour in the window that pops up.
Secondary Bar – Left Part (Text)
If you choose a text element, here’s your secondary bar:
- Font Size
- Font Colour
Ready to Go?
If you’re finished, you can:
- Share your design with others so that they can see and/or edit it.
- Download it. You can download the image as a PNG, JPG, PDF standard, PDF print, Video, Animation – depending on how you want to use it. If you have the Pro version, you get two extra options:
- Transparent Background
- Compress File
Let’s Do It!
Let’s see a few examples of graphics you can make with Canva:
Creating A Logo
Here’s a detailed tutorial on how to create your logo and then a few logos:
Creating An Infographic
Infographics are awesome for sharing information with your readers. They are easy to remember and fun to read:
Creating A Business Card
If you need to make a business card, here’s an easy way to do it:
Creating A Planner
Do you want to plan your day/week/month? You can find a lot of great templates to use without even changing them:
Creating My Planner/Calendar
And here’s how I make my own planner. It’s simple, easy to make and very practical. What’s awesome about making your own planner is that you can make it EXACTLY how you want it to be to fit your needs.
Easy, right? If you want to download my planner for 2020:
What I Love
Here’s what I love about Canva:
It’s VERY easy to use
You don’t need previous experience to use it. It’s very easy to learn.
The free version is so good
Even though there is a premium version, the free one is awesome! You don’t feel like you miss something.
It provides a lot of images
There are a lot – and I mean a lot – of images so you don’t have to search for images elsewhere.
I love this feature and you don’t even have to enable it. It’s on from the beginning and it saves every change you make on your design every few seconds.
What I Hate
And here’s what I don’t like on Canva. As with everything, there are disadvantages to everything, right?
The editing is pretty basic
Which is great, because it’s so easy to use.
But, of course, more tools means more options. I wouldn’t mind if they made a more advanced version so that we could choose which one we want.
Some of the images aren’t free
I love the free version, I was on it for almost a year and I didn’t have any complaints about it. There are a lot of free images, but of course, there can always be even more.
You can’t work offline
Since Canva is an online tool, you can’t work offline, so you need an Internet connection.
The only real downside I’ve had with the free version is that you can’t download a PNG image with a transparent background if you have a free account. If you really need an image with transparent background – and you don’t want to pay for it – you have two options:
- Download it with a background colour that doesn’t exist in your image. Then go to Lunapic or another tool and make the background transparent.
- Signup for Canva Pro (Premium Account) and cancel before the trial ends. You get 30 days for free and a couple of emails to remind you that the trial period ends soon.
Is Canva Worth It?
Definitely! Canva is my go-to answer when anyone asks me about images and logos.
Who Is Canva For?
Anyone who wants free images for their site, project, etc.
Whom Isn’t Canva For?
Professionals who want advanced editing software. As I said, the editing is pretty basic, so if you’re looking for Photoshop-level software, you’ll be disappointed.
What if I Want More?
If you’re looking for more, you can try Canva Pro. If you’re not sure, you can try it for a month and you can cancel any time. They also send you an email a few days before the trial period ends so that you can remember to cancel before they charge you.
Here are the benefits you get with Canva Pro:
That’s pretty much all you need to know from Canva. Just 4 easy steps to make the design you want!
So… what do you think about Canva? Go ahead and let me know in the comments below!
If you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer! Any suggestions are always welcome, so tell me about topics you’d like me to write. And if you liked this, check out more free resources for bloggers.
See you next time!
Hi there, I’m Jenny.
Blogger/Internet Marketer/ Occasionally Cool Person
Want to get in touch?
If you have any questions, suggestions or just want to say hello, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. If you’re nice, I won’t bite!