Canva is a fabulous tool for creating blog graphics that look super professional. Best of all, it’s totally FREE. At least the version I use is free and that’s what I’m going to talk about today.
You can get a paid version that offers more features and customization options, but for a lot of people starting out in blogging who maybe aren’t ready to purchase a ton of programs, the free version works perfectly well!
I have been using Canva for the last year and I’ve literally created hundreds of blog graphics, documents and social media images. There is a ton of stuff you can create using Canva including eBooks, flyers, invitations, documents, ads, business cards and more!
By the way, I’m not writing this to get affiliate income from Canva, I really want everyone to be able to design beautiful, custom graphics of their own.
For this tutorial, I’m just going to focus on creating a blog graphic and experimenting with some of the design elements. Once you get comfortable, test out your skills creating other documents and images.
If you’ve been using Canva for awhile and you’re already farmiliar with its’ features, I’m sure this tutotrial will seem SUPER basic. But, if you’re new to Canva, or maybe not 100% on all the features, hopefully you’ll be able to learn something new!
Before getting started, you’ll have to sign up for a Canva account (if you don’t already have one of course). Again, it’s totally free. Just use your email and create a password. This is where all your colors and designs will be saved.
Ok so here’s a breakdown of what we’ll cover today:
- choosing an image style & creating your template
- browsing through Canva designs or uploading your own
- exploring different “elements” and freebies within Canva
- editing images and text within your graphic
- layering elements on your image
- saving your graphic in the correct format
Exciting right?! Let’s get started!
1. Create your template
Starting from the main Canva page after setting up your account, you’re going to click “create a design” on the left side menu and it will open up all your possible templates. Canva has a TON of documents to choose from: business cards, planners, documents, eBooks, labels, etc.
For both blog and Pinterest graphics, the best templates to use are the vertical style rectangular ones.
2. Choosing a design
Canva has a huge variety of cool features we’ll go over in a minute, but first, let’s look at the large collection of “pre-designed” layouts to choose from where the style, font and color scheme has already been created.
Click on “Layouts” and scroll through all your options. If you’re open to paying a few bucks, there is a much wider selection, but if not, no worries! The free stuff is pretty awesome too. Make sure it’s free by checking for the “free” button in the bottom right corner of each design.
After choosing a layout you like, you can customize it as little or as much as you want by changing fonts, sizing and colors.
3. Setting your background & using your own images
If you’re not sold on any of the Canva layouts, check out the backgrounds they offer as well. You can use a solid color or browse through the selection of patterns.
Most bloggers use stock photos for their blog and Pinterest graphics which is easily designed using Canva. If you would like to add you own image, click “Upload” and you can import images that are saved on your computer or even Facebook. Not sure where to find stock photos? I wrote a post about the best websites for stock photos not too long ago!
Canva also offers a ton of free stock images to choose from- we’ll get to that in a second!
4. Explore elements
This is where is gets SUPER cool! Click on the “Elements” tab to browse through all sorts of features for your graphic. I’ll do a quick run through of what Canva has to offer.
FREE PHOTOS: Here, Canva has their own selection of awesome stock photos to choose from. Most are free but some may cost you a couple bucks.
GRIDS: Under “grids” you will find a selection of pre-designed grids great for photo collages, charts and infographics.
FRAMES: Create a beautiful frame for any image! Click on the frame you want, upload your image and then drag the image to the center of the frame. It will automatically crop to size and fill the frame.
SHAPES: This tab is a gold mine of addons for your design! Add full shapes, shape outlines, fancy frames and decorative graphics. The size, colors and transparency levels can all be adjusted (which we’ll get to later!).
LINES: Here is where you will find underlines, fancy lines, arrows and lines for flow chart style graphics.
ILLUSTRATIONS: Browse through the illustrations to find tons of free stuff: animals, holiday themes, sports, food, emojis and more!
ICONS: Similar to illustrations but the icons tab includes social media buttons and less detailed images you can use to design your own icons.
CHARTS: Charts are awesome especially if you’re creating infographics from scratch. Choose from a simple bar or line graph to pie charts and the good old “venn diagram”! All the charts are 100% customizable.
I LOVE CANVA: Canva logos with cute designs for marketing.
5. Adding text & logos
When you click the “Text” tab on the left hand side, you’re given the option to add a large heading, subheading or paragraph style font to your image. In this section, Canva also offers totally customizable logos you can use and change to your liking! It will give you some pretty awesome inspiration if you’re trying to think of a good logo for your biz.
6. Start Designing!
Before we dive into the design, let’s cover the basic commands within Canva. Along your top bar, you have the standard prompts: File (where you can save a work in progress or make a copy), Undo (undo any formatting- thank god!), Help, Share (send on social media or copy the link to share with someone), Download (the final step), and Make Public (share with others in the Canva community).
On the right hand side of your graphic, there is also a “copy button” to duplicate your image. This is great for documents, eBooks, planners, or a workbook, if you have a standard format or layout you want to use over and over again while just changing some content.
Choose your colors by clicking the top left corner of your design area and add your custom color by clicking the plus “+” box under “document colors“. These colors will remain saved here for your whole design.
Canva allows your to adjust the transparency of ANY image or background you upload to your graphic- pretty cool! In my test graphic, the paint splatter was too bold so I clicked the “transparency square” in the top right corner and set it down to 59%.
Ok, so this is where I really fell in love with Canva (lame, but totally true!).
Add a text box to your image and type the text you want. Pick your font and size on the left hand side. You can also change the font color and either keep it centered, or stagger it to one side.
On the right hand side, use the “Spacing” button to adjust the space between letters and the height between text if you have more than one line of text. Pretty neat!
You can also use the “Arrange” button to move your text forward so it’s on top of all your layers, or back behind whatever layers you want. This work the same way for both text boxes and images.
Now it’s time to experiment and have fun!
Add shapes, change colors and transparencies, and try different layering techniques. I decided I didn’t like the paint splatter image anymore so I simply clicked it, deleted it and added a different image.
As you’ll see below, in only a few minutes I tested different fonts, underlines, shapes for color blocking and threw in a heart for good measure!
Voila! Click download and choose the format you prefer. If you created a worksheet, checklist or eBook, then PDF format is best. You can save either one page or multiple pages depending on the type of graphic you created.
For images, saving as a PNG is best.
Now you have your beautiful Canva graphic saved and ready to use on your blog and social media!
Here’s how it turned out:
So, how fun and easy was that?!
All of your graphics and uploads will save on your Canva account so you can always go back and tweak or reuse images. This will help you create and maintain consistent, beautiful graphics for every blog post you write!
I hope you found this helpful. Anything I missed? Let me know! 🙂