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Canva tips and tricks


Recently, Kara Miller introduced us to Canva in her article, Canva graphic design for dummies

Everyone said, “try it. It might be worth your time.” Truer words were never spoken. As I explored this easy to use application, I realized what a time saver it turned out to be.

It was my mission to find out everything I could about this web-based design application, what more could it do, what was I missing out on? Below are the top 10 tips and ideas I found across the internet: 

Note, the following are for the free version of Canva only
• Your Brand. Upload your logo and brand images to quickly use across a variety of your designs. With the free version you can’t add to the Your Brand section, however you can store it in your library. You can create a unique color palate in Your Brand, which is stored permanently in Document Colors. Use your specific color codes in the color wheel and Canva will remember that color while you are designing. Your color code will be a six-digit number and letter combination with the pound sign in front of it.

Decide on your organizations fonts to make designs consistent, what to use for headings, content text etcetera. You can’t store in Your Brand, so make a note of your choices in a template. There are a limited number of fonts available to you, so take the time to scroll thru and choose the ones that complement your company identity:

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• Templates for quick and easy posts. Create templates for Facebook and Twitter posts. For example, to welcome new members, award programs and upcoming conferences, we’ve created separate templates where we simply add the newest information and can post on Social Media – don’t forget to include a tag or hashmark to make sure the subject of the post will see it, like it and follow you.

• Customize library background images. If you like the texture/pattern of one of the free backgrounds, you can change the color by clicking on the color palette. Change the shade on a background by highlighting and choosing a different color or shade.

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• Working with frames and images. If you’re using a frame, double clicking on the image will allow you to move or resize it. You can click and drag to show just part of the image or grab the corners and make the photo bigger.
Clicking on the filters button (when you have photo selected), and then choosing advanced, will give you complete control over the look and feel of the photo.

Filter codes can be copied and pasted so you can have all your photos with the exact same setting.

The little arrow (when you have a photo selected) will allow you to flip it vertically or horizontally.

The little arrow in blue is the one that will flip flop your photograph.

Use an image and set the transparency to 60%. Then use the frames to highlight the same image for a neat effect.

• Font Effects. If you want to create a shadow on your text, copy the text, make it black, and send it behind the original text. With it selected, use your arrows key to move it slightly behind and down. It’ll create a shadowed look.

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• Watermark your work If you have a custom watermark or logo, have your designer make you a transparent PNG you can upload into Canva for when you want to watermark your graphics.

• Nudge elements by 10px. To move an element, you can just select the element and hit an arrow key, but that only moves the object 1px at a time. To increase the nudging distance, click the element. Then hit the shift button + any arrow key in the direction of your choice!

• Grouping elements. If you want to move a group of objects at the same time, hold down the shift key while you click on multiple elements. This will group them together. Once grouped, nudge/move elements as normal.

• Centering text. To quickly and easily center your text on a graph, make sure your text box is the same width as the element you’re trying to align it with. Then, simply navigate to the drop-down menu (as pictured) and hit the “center” option.

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• But how do I check my spelling? The free browser extension called Grammarly can check spelling and grammar as you type.

Check out other tips on designing in Canva. Canva provides some excellent tutorials to help you further explore. The tutorials will show you what to do and how to do it, letting you try your hand at recreating the examples. https://www.canva.com/learn/design/tutorials/perfect-presentations/

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Canva: Graphic design for dummies


When it comes to Photoshop skills, I like to describe myself as a “seasoned beginner.” With so many ways to accomplish the same effect, I’ve always viewed the software as a conundrum. It’s an easy excuse to say that I never have enough time to learn more. But when it’s crunch time and I need a last-minute graphic, I’m at a loss, with no easy way forward.

Canva is the easy solution. This free, online software describes itself as making “design simple for everyone.” It provides ready-to-use templates for everything from blog banners to business cards. I value their social media templates most; the exact dimensions and layouts for each platform makes it easy to transform marketing campaign graphics from one social media account to another.


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Canva offers preset layouts, as well. If you’d rather create your graphic from scratch, there’s a simple toolbar on the side that contains a variety of font options, images and illustrations. The drag-and-drop editor enables anyone and everyone to use it — even those who aren’t seasoned Photoshop beginners.


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Canva prides itself in making design simple, but is it too simple? By simplifying the functions, it limits design possibilities. I’ll admit that there have been times when I was unable to create an effect in Canva that I know is possible in Photoshop. When it comes down to it, online tools like Canva are great for discovering new ideas for graphics and creating quick and simple designs, but if you have a specific design in mind, programs like Photoshop and InDesign will always deliver.

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