How To Use Canva Like A Boss

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Canva.com is my go-to program for all things graphics when it comes to the blog. As a designer I think the program is intuitive and easy to use when it comes to social images. I’m even using it for the non-profits I volunteer with and for helping my clients set up “DIY” graphics. I’ll set up their brand and style and let them create their own daily share graphics. This works well for them, because they aren’t getting charged small fees for each graphic, and it works for me, because I prefer to do larger jobs and the small graphics can be a drain on time management. The creation of canva.com has definitely changed the way I design for online work.

But, like anything – if you don’t have a grasp on the mechanics of design – things can still be a challenge. Here are a few tips when creating your next Canva.com design, so you can Master canva.com and use the graphic program, like a boss!

Using Canva.com like a boss
Top Five Tips on Canva

Hierarchy

Visual Hierarchy is probably the most important elements in design. No matter how good your image is, or how powerful your message, if the casual observer can’t understand, it won’t sink in. Visual Hierarchy is one of the hardest design principals to get for some people, especially if you don’t have that “coveted” eye for design. It’s the reason why I can look at a 1st graders artwork, that looks like mostly scribbles and shapes, and know that the child has an artist’s understanding of design. I get asked a lot – how do you know? It’s about the visual hierarchy and use of the page. It’s also why a designer cringes as soon as the client says “make the logo bigger.” It’s one of the stupidest things you can say to a designer – unless your logo is so small it can’t be seen.

The Western, human eye reads top to bottom and left to right. If you put the most dominant item in the center of the page – the casual viewer will always read that first and then go down – and will most likely not go back to the top to start over.

Make sure the biggest element, and most dominant element reads in this way. The information you want to be distributed first will be at the top, details in the center and the general information at the bottom. You can play around with this – but it’s good practice in design.

 

Using Canva.com like a boss
Top Five Tips on Canva

Using Codes to Find the Free

 

Finding the Free Images and elements can sometimes be tedious. Canva.com added a “free images” section, but what about illustrations? Use this code in the SEACH box and you’ll discover all the FREE to use icons:

I found this on http://MichelleMacconnell.com awhile ago – and I’ve never looked back. They don’t tell you this in the Help section.

Free Icon & Illustrations on Canva.com, type in the seach bar:

brand:BAAMOuJH0Ec or brand:BAAAAP7rQ8M

Using Canva.com like a boss
Top Five Tips on Canva

Backgrounds

 

Image backgrounds were always very frustrating in Canva.com. That was until I figured out to drop a Single Box Grid onto the back – and insert my image. This way I can add a filter, change transparency, and manipulate my image with all the functions Cavna.com allows.

Using Canva.com like a boss
Using Canva.com like a boss
Top Five Tips on Canva

Font Usage

They always told us in design school “No More Than Three Fonts!” Like it was a rule carved in stone. Granted I like to break rules and I’ve used a ton of fonts in one design – it’s called Typography! – but it is a good rule. When selecting fonts I would think about three key elements:

  • Headers
  • Sub Headers
  • Body Copy

Either assign each a font – or use the same font for them. Keep in mind, multiple fonts and typefaces will confuse the eye and each time you change the font or the weight/slant of the font, the eye STOPS. This is why making type bold and italicizing certain parts of text emphasizes the type. This stops the eye and emphasizes it. Even if you go with a LIGHT and a BOLD of the same font family, it’s still changing the font.

Top Five Tips on Canva

Keyboard Shortcuts

If you have keyboard shortcuts set up for your browser you might have some conflicts. Some of these might open commands in your browser and not on canva.com

Mac users – CTRL is Command – ALT is Option

 

T – Add text element

Shift + Arrow Key (directional) – Move element by 10 pixels in direction of arrow

Arrow Key (directional) – Move element by 1 pixel in direction of arrow.

This is how you should move them once you have a grid background because dragging them around will replace the background.

CTRL + B – Bold  text

CTRL + I – Italicize text

CTRL + G – Group elements

This is how you align elements. They have to be grouped together first. I suggest ungrouping them before you download though, grouped objects sometimes download with issues. 

CTRL + SHIFT + G – ungroup elements

CTRL + A – Select all elements

CTRL + “+” or “-“ – zooms in or out

 

3 Comments

  1. Amanda @ Vivalabooks

    I recently started using Canva, and I absolutely love it for graphics! I’m having fun learning as I go, but this would have been very nice to have when I started. Thanks for all the tips!

  2. Kathryn Dee

    Brilliant as usual Rachel. I always learn something valuable from your posts. Thank you honey and keep up the good work.

  3. Zi

    Thanks for this Rachel! I’ve been having a hard time doing everything in Gimp. This canva.com site is such a gem. Doing graphics in this website looks easier to do. There are already lots of samples that I could work on.

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