An introduction to Canva and Canva Pro

There are many different graphic design tools out there, and finding the right one can be tricky. We’ve used a few, but Canva is now a firm favourite, and so we thought we’d do an introduction to Canva and Canva Pro, just for you.

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“What is Canva?” I hear you cry!

Canva is a graphic design platform that allows you to create and design all sorts of stuff. Social media posts, images for your website, powerpoint presentations and marketing materials are all now super easy, thanks to Canva.

The best part about Canva is that you don’t have to be familiar with graphic design at all.

Let’s put it this way, if we can get to grips with it, then anyone can! 

You can use Canva on a desktop or mobile device and, for us, it is one of the best design apps we’ve come across.

As a communicator by ‘trade’, there is often the assumption that you are indeed a multi-skilled wizard! You’re not just great at identifying strategic communications opportunities, mastering stakeholder engagement and writing engaging and persuasive copy, but you should also be an adept graphic designer! 

Both design and copywriting are very skilled areas. Each having their own, very different skill sets (and qualifications required). Having access to something which is reliable like Canva, that helps you create impressive graphics quickly, means you can continue doing your ‘wizard’ impression for years to come!

In this brief Canva review, we’re going to talk about:

  • Creating designs using Canva templates – including how to search Canva layouts and creating Canva YouTube channel art
  • Creating custom designs – Getting to grips with Canva sizes 
  • Canva Pro pricing – Is it worth paying for Canva?

Creating designs using Canva templates

The best thing about Canva, whether you have the free version, or Canva Pro, you’re going to find something that you love.  

Another great thing about Canva templates is that they are categorised by type so it’s really simple to find what you need. You can go in and grab an Instagram story template, Facebook post or Pinterest graphic really easily. 

Even if you use one of the templates, they are still completely customisable, so you still have total control. It has a drag and drop interface, making it mega easy to use. If you’ve got minor tweaks, or if you want to overhaul the whole thing – you can do it!

How to search Canva layouts. You can do this by clicking on the templates tab and then either browse by category, or you can go straight in and use the search bar to find exactly what you’re looking for.

We’ve used a Canva template for our Chosen Charities featured images. In fact, we’ve used so many of these templates, it’s hard to keep track! Another one we found really useful was for our YouTube channel art.

Canva YouTube channel art

When we created our Canva YouTube channel art, we did find something a bit frustrating. YouTube channel art is particularly tricky to design as it displays so differently on different platforms and devices. 

If you use the whole template and don’t understand the different ways in which it displays, you’ll have a really impactful TV banner – but when you see it on a mobile, you’ll find you’re missing half the image you put so much effort into creating.

After a bit of searching, we found a really helpful way to do it. This template from a YouTube tutorial by Justin Brown at Primal Video gives you a handy size guide that you can download as a jpg image.

Save that image, and import it into your Canva template. Adjusting the transparency, sit this over the top of your design, then you can see where to position your key features. And hey presto – that problem has gone away!

Our YouTube channel art is below – it looks rather odd out here on it’s own, but head to our YouTube channel and you’ll see it fits right in! (Feel free to subscribe while you’re there!)

Creating custom designs

Canva isn’t just great for creating social media posts, presentations and animations. You can also use it to add some pizzazz to your blog posts, your website sidebars, banners and featured images. This is where the custom designs come in.

You can create images to any dimensions that you need to so it’s easy to fit almost any requirements.

One of the reasons the custom design feature is great is because it’s really important that your branding is consistent.

Whether you are a small, independent start-up or part of a larger organisation, recognisable content that people associate with you at a glance is key. This is another great feature of Canva.

Your brand kit.

You can create brand templates by adding your brand colours and fonts which make it even easier to build up your designs. 

Even in the free version, you can upload some of your key brand colours. Adding your fonts etc is reserved for the paid versions, such as Canva Pro, however,

TIP: If you’re using the free version, just make a note of the font combinations that you can use for your headings, sub headings and body text so that each time you create a design, you’ve got it to hand.

If you need a hand with any of this – they also offer some amazing resources to help you along with your branding, Canva sizes and editing.

In their resources section you’ll find:

  • Font combinations
  • Colour wheels
  • Palette generator
  • Logo makers
  • Photo editor
  • Design size guide

And lots of ideas to support you in your design journey.

You can even create quick and easy animated graphics

Canva Pro pricing

Is it worth paying for Canva? We love Canva, and for us, it is a great long term option and much cheaper and easier to use than other graphic design software or buying someone in to do this for you.

Even if you need graphic design assistance from a professional for bigger pieces of work, Canva is fantastic for your day to day design needs.

Because Canva integrates with so many things, it’s even easier to use and great value for money. It already integrates with Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, GIPHY, Dropbox, Mailchimp and many, many more.

You can also print directly from Canva which means that yet another task has been taken care of, allowing you to get custom prints straight to your door.

Canva for charities / non-profits

As you know, we work with and support lots of charities and non-profit organisations and we have great news for you! 

If you fall into this category, then sign up for ‘Canva for Nonprofits’ and you’ll get access to the premium version of Canva – for FREE!

You’ll get access to over 60,000 templates, 2 million photos and images, 800,000 illustrations and icons and over 700 fonts.

It’s a no-brainer if you’re looking to create captivating, eye catching content to tell your story.

Overall, we think Canva is great, so if you want to check it out and give it a try, click on the button below and we’ll take you straight to the Canva site

Another great place to brush up on your skills is Skillshare – they have lots of Canva based tutorials and often run free trials so why not take a look?  




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