Are you graphically challenged? Meaning that you can’t draw a straight line, or a crooked one, to save your life. But you need awesome graphics that don’t look like they came out of a ’90s Powerpoint. Today’s your lucky day because I’m here to tell you that you CAN quickly create your own blog graphics via Canva, as in how to use Canva on the fly (my words, not the developers). I wrote about it briefly for bloggers here.
You only need 2 main ingredients, Canva and any additional images not already in Canva, and maybe about 10 minutes. *disclaimer: the time is wholly dependent on your equipment (mobile, tablet or computer) and speed of Internet connection.
Yes, dearie, you must download it before you start that egg timer. Just skip yourself over to canva.com and download it. Get your account started. The brilliant folks there have even made it easier than chewing gum by allowing you to connect via Facebook or Google. You say you don’t want to do it that way? Then you can plug in your email address and go that route. *FYI, I am awful at remembering passwords so I prefer to go the encrypted route via programs like 1stpass or Lastpass. This might take an extra minute though but it’s worth the sense of security.
*super not-so-secret, but really quite brilliant hint: Canva is associated with Google and Facebook. Canva also has a way for you to publicize your work in their Design Stream (hashtag #designstream) that you can also watch in this slick video.
>> Photos or images you want to upload
If you know what you want to use on your graphic, have those edited and ready to upload to Canva. When I’m working on a client’s projects like an email or social media campaign, I like to have a working folder in my sidebar or desktop for that week. Sometimes I’ll grab a design element from my personal files or an image from my Dropbox. Canva is easy to use and even reminds you of your option to drag and drop into your Canva uploads.
>>Let’s get started
Now you’re ready to create some rocking graphics for whatever blog (or Facebook post, Instagram, Pin,Tweet…you get the idea).
- Open up Canva. Get familiar with the layout but note that Canva developers are brilliant and come up with new layouts and backgrounds all the time. So lovely procrastiworker, don’t get lazy there and ignore the new stuff. Lazy means stagnant later on.
- Select a layout. Are you writing a blog post and need a great graphic for your tweetable? Do you need an eye catching blog title? Try not to multitask here at first. Yes you can quicken the pace and have multiple Canva Windows open. But enjoy the ride at least in the beginning. *disclaimer: I’ve only tried to do 2 Canva graphics at a time and was pretty pleased as punch. It saves often but you’ll want to eventually sync up or refresh your account if you are multitasking. Make backups second nature to you and you won’t ever experience that sense of loss when a program closes unexpectedly before you’ve hit “save”…
- Free is free. Otherwise if you see an element that you absolutely love and cannot live without, it comes with a small price. Canva is truly affordable especially for small business owners. If you are planning to use it for business related graphics, read the fine print. Aka licensing. The Canva artists don’t come free all the time so if there’s a price, there are likely commercial limitations too.
- Downloading as a PDF or image. Before you click on download, read the fine print again. One, you can’t change it after a certain time (1 day). Two, this is where you buy design elements if needed. So if you need a client’s approval first, send the link to him first. You can even allow him to edit the graphic. *Keep in mind that anyone who receives the link will have to download the app in order to see it so give fair warning, especially if the recipient is prone to using a mobile device to read email. Canva is not easy to use on a mobile device.
- Mobile or laptop/PC/Mac? If you can work on your smartphone’s Internet, I’m duly impressed. I’ve tried using Canva on my Samsung Galaxy Note and had some trouble seeing design elements even on the ginormous screen, which looks more a mini-tablet than a smartphone. Personally, I recommend using Canva on tablets or larger computer screens. You’re working on visual products, after all. If you can, test on a couple different devices (iPhone, Android) and computers (Mac, PC). Do business like the pro that you are!
- Posting your work. When you’re downloading, you can share directly to Facebook or Twitter from Canva which is nice and easy but not necessarily good for your brand or that of your clients. Personally, I prefer scheduling my posts for Facebook, Twitter and other social media rogues.
Now, wasn’t that fun? So, don’t wait…go back to the home page and start all over again. After all, practice makes perfect.