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Powerful Tips for Beginners: Everything you need to know about Canva

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Do you want to create and edit designs fast? Are you someone having trouble using complex design tools? Whether you are an absolute beginner or someone with enough knowledge of design, Canva might be the answer to all your design problems. So what is Canva? Canva is an online design and publishing tool with a mission to empower everyone in the world to design anything and publish anywhere.

A brief history of Canva

Canva was founded in 2012 by Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht. Melanie understood there was a gap in the market for an easy-to-use graphic design platform. She was a student at the University of Western Australia at that time and was frustrated by how complicated the design software was to use. Therefore she built this amazing tool that can be used by anyone having zero knowledge of designing. With over 75 million monthly active users, today it provides the perfect alternative to non-designers. 

Why should you use Canva?

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1. It’s free 🤩

There are so many options available in the free version even though Canva offers a premium version of the software. This includes using templates, customizing the sizes, and using many more design elements. 

2. It’s super easy and fast to use 🚀

Unlike other design software, Canva is built in an easy way for anyone to use. You can check my guide below to get started with Canva!

3. It gives access to a lot of stock photos, videos, templates, and other elements 💣

Canva gives you access to millions of pre-designed templates to get started. It also has different design elements available ranging from graphics such as photos, video, and audio to different fonts. It lets you add a brand kit and use it in your designs in the premium offering. 

4. Collaborate with team members or friends 💌

How cool is it to have many team members editing the design in real time? Canva allows multiple people to have access to the same design. Anyone in your team can get access to edit or view the design you created or even make a copy and use it for their own work. 

5. It’s an excellent tool for content creators 🤖

Another interesting feature of Canva is that you can create custom design sizes for different social media platforms. With the premium version, you can resize the designs and copy them to different drafts. Not just that you can post right away or schedule the post to be published on the relevant social media platform with just a click of a button.

A step-by-step guide to using Canva

Let’s create a design in 4 easy steps

Step 01: Create an account

Firstly, If you don’t have an account let’s get started by creating an account.

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Visit the Canva home page and get started by simply clicking the Signup button. You can use an existing Google or Facebook account or an email to sign up. Next, you’ll be taken to the Canva account dashboard. 

Step 02: Create your very first design

Secondly, you can click the ‘Create a design’ button on the top right corner to see the options, to begin with. There will be 3 options,

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  1. Use one of the suggested templates: the design template will open up on a new tab and you can start updating the existing design elements added to it.
  1. Create a custom design type: here you’ll get a blank page with the custom size. You can look through templates by navigating to the ‘Templates’ tab on the left menu. Or else you can navigate through the different options available on the menu and start adding content to the blank design. 
  1. Upload a file or an image to get started: upload any existing files to start editing your design.

Step 03: Browse different options to edit your design

Thirdly, depending on the element you select there will be several options to edit;

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  1. Image: Adjust the brightness, contrast, or saturation, add a filter, or add a color tone. You can even remove the background of the image with one click. 
  2. Colors: Select the element and change the color using the color wheel or using the hex value of the color. 
  3. Typography: Change font sizes. Add styling such as bold, italicized, underline, uppercase, or use numbered or bulleted lists for your text. Adjust text alignments. Add various effects or shapes to the text. Change the font type of the text and add animations to it. 
  4. Position: Align the design elements to the page such as top, left, middle, center, bottom, or right.
  5. Transparency: Make your elements or images transparent or adjust the visibility.
  6. Animate: There are multiple options to animate your elements and text or even the entire page. 
  7. Crop: Crop the images and elements or adjust them to fit the element in a certain way. 
  8. Flip: Flip elements vertically or horizontally.
  9. Lock: This feature is helpful when you have a number of elements in the design. With this feature, you can lock certain elements and stop them from moving or changing the position and focus on the rest of the styling. 
  10. Group/ Ungroup: By selecting multiple elements you get the option to group them. You can position or add styling to the grouped element easily. If you don’t want the elements to be grouped you can choose to ungroup the elements. 

There are more options you can try out such as;

  • Audio: There’s an option to add audio to a particular design using the ‘Audio’ option on the left side menu.
  • Upload: Upload any media such as images, audio, or video. 
  • Text: Select from a range of font combinations for your design.
  • Logo: Add your branding to the design.
  • Elements: Use different gradients, stickers, icons, graphs, and charts to make your designs more interesting.

Step 4: Share, publish, save or message your design

Finally, after editing your design you have a no.of options;

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  1. Share the design with your team or friends using a link to access the design. Or you can present it live or even record it while presenting using Canva.
  2. Publish or schedule the design directly from Canva to your favorite social media platforms.
  3. Save/ download the design choosing from different options depending on the format of your design. You can even save it to Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive.
  4. Message to anyone via email, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, and many more messaging options.
  5. Print your designs in high-quality resolution. This feature is only available for certain regions. To see if your region has this feature, check this list.

How to use the Canva App?

Did you know that Canva can be used on your mobile phone? Canva is not just a desktop app. You can install the app and start using it directly from mobile. Here’s a step-by-step guide to using the Canva App using mobile.

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  1. Install the app: Go to your Apple App Store or Google Play Store and search for Canva and install the app. 
  2. Create/ login to an account: Once installed you can see the Canva app appearing on your phone. Click it and you’ll need to login into an existing account or signup as a new user. 
  3. Access your designs: you can access the designs created using the desktop version and edit them. 
  4. Creating a new design: Select an option on the top navigation and start editing.

What does Canva offer for free?

You can play around with the Canva free version to see if it suits you. You can try out various features included in their free version such as;

  • Select stock images you have the rights to use, import them and add them to designs.
  • Choose from thousands of their free elements, stock photos, and fonts, and use them in your designs.
  • Create custom dimension graphics or select from their existing free templates library.
  • Export in a range of file types including PDF and JPEG once you have created the design.
  • Share view or edit access with your team to improve your design.

5 Reasons why you should be using Canva Pro

  • Access to 400K+ premium presentation templates and over 75+ million premium stock images, photos, graphics, and even videos to choose from.
  • How cool is it to create designs with your own branding? Canva allows adding brand colors, fonts, and logos with a branding kit so you can easily access them.
  • Did you forget to put the right dimensions? Don’t worry, Canva lets you resize designs with a single click.
  • Upload any number of fonts and logos you own and use them in your designs.
  • Export designs in different formats including animated GIFS or MP4 videos.

Start using Canva Pro now!

Canva for Education

Whether you’re a teacher or student, Canva for Education makes it easy to create, collaborate, and communicate visually in the classroom and beyond. So don’t forget to check their Canva for Education page for more information.

Are you a student? Try out Canva Pro free

As a student, you can create amazing designs, documents, and presentations in minutes for all your creative projects and studying needs. So here’s the exciting news! Canva has partnered with GitHub Education to provide the most-loved design tools for free to student developers. 

If you qualify for the GitHub Student Developer Pack, you can claim a free year of Canva Pro. You’ll get a whole year of Canva Pro – that’s $119 of value, with nothing to pay. You can signup and get started for the free year using this link.

How to learn Canva really fast? 

Who has a lot of time to waste hours getting just one design done? So working smarter with keyboard shortcuts will help you get more done and maybe help improve your graphic design skills a little in the long run. Go through the Canva shortcuts infographic to design faster and save time! 

Don’t waste any more time, simply get started and experiment with your design skills using Canva. Moreover, you can check out this Getting Started Guide or watch their latest video tutorials to learn more about editing designs using Canva.

Let me know your favorite Canva features in the comments section. Also, don’t forget to check out my Design Blog to read more interesting articles related to design! 😃❤️

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