Canva has steadily become a key arrow in the busy marketer’s quiver. It allows you to create engaging designs quickly and consistently thanks to its templates and enables team collaboration in real-time.
I have personally been using this tool for over three years in two different roles, and I have learned a few tips and tricks I’ll share with you to help you make the most out of Canva.
But first, let’s take a deeper look into the Canva Visual Worksuite and its most valuable features:
What is Canva?
If you have been in the Marketing and Design space over the last few years, you probably already know what Canva is, but let me explain for those new to the scene.
Canva is an online graphic design tool that allows you to create and recreate visual materials for any of your marketing needs. It has free templates for social media posts, presentations, print documents, and custom graphics with a wide range of royalty-free assets - even more with the Pro and Teams subscription, which also allows you to set up your brand kit and color palettes - great for maintaining consistency across your team.
The best, and perhaps most controversial aspect of Canva is that it doesn’t require the type of design and technical knowledge other software like Adobe demands. However, the ease of use and WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) interface of Canva don’t make up for poor design. You can easily create multiple assets but will still need to pay attention to the visual identity to ensure consistency across multiple templates.
How to start using Canva?
Just head over to
canva.com and create your account. Once you're set up, you can start creating your designs by choosing a template or a custom size for your visual asset.
Once you’re in your new design, you can drag and drop elements from the library or upload your own. Photos, graphics, video, music, GIFs… anything you can think of to make your design more engaging and visually striking.
You can export your design in a wide range of formats (PDF, Powerpoint, PNG, JPG, etc.) according to your needs. If you’re unsure, Canva recommends the best fit for your template.
New Canva Features
However, the design tool is just the tip of the iceberg in the Canva Visual Worksuite. Their team has constantly been improving the platform, listening to feedback, and releasing new products to work better and save time with Canva. During my time working in Marketing & Design, Canva has been the fastest-improving and most user-friendly software I’ve used - Yes, Adobe Creative Suite, I just said that.
This past September, they held their own “CanvaCon”,
Canva Create, where Canva announced the biggest changes and product launches to date.
Let’s have a look at these new features:
Unlimited shared space to get you and your team’s ideas flowing. I love this feature and have already started using it to plan my projects.
It combines all the previously mentioned resources in an infinite white space to allow as much freedom to create as you can have. It’s a great tool to get started with Canva and familiarise yourself with the app. You can find it
here. Canva Docs
Canva Docs will integrate what we already know and love about Canva with a text editor, allowing you to create blog posts, reports, and other documents similar to Google Docs. As its signature feature, it will promote teamwork and collaboration across teams, allowing you to share and set different access permissions, leave comments, assign tasks, and, even better, embed other Canva designs within the document. Your team would then be able to view these whiteboards, presentations, and visual assets without leaving the original document.
Canva Docs Beta is due to be released in a few months. You can join the waiting list
here. Canva Websites
Canva takes its signature shareability to a new level with Canva Websites. Use their 100M+ assets library to create responsive, interactive, and engaging websites through unique secure links. Start from scratch or make use of their hundreds of templates.
You can start creating your own
here. Design Tips for Canva
Ok, we have dived into all these new features, but are you using Canva Pro to its full capacity? Are you looking to get started and aren’t familiar with shortcuts? Let’s take a look at some Canva tips to streamline your workflow and feel like a pro:
Quickly duplicate an element: Have you ever worked on a design where you have all the data you need in your clipboard ready to paste, only to find out you need to duplicate an element first and then paste the data there? To avoid losing your clipboard data by copying and pasting the element, press Alt (Opt in Mac) and drag the element. This will duplicate it directly without placing it in the clipboard.
Copy text style: Instead of manually changing the size, font, colour, and effects of a new text box, you can select the box you want to copy, click on the paint roller icon on the top right corner of your design, and click on the new text you want to adjust.
That’s an easy way of ensuring all your text looks consistent throughout the design.
Duplicate maintaining horizontal or vertical alignment: Using the first tip we’ve learned, we can easily duplicate elements, but have you ever wanted to duplicate an element and align it vertically below the first one in one move? When you move or duplicate an asset whilst pressing Shift it will maintain the vertical or horizontal axis. A picture is worth a thousand words, so check the GIF below to get an idea:
The magic key: That’s right, Canva has a magic key! I only found out by accidentally pressing “/” on my keyboard whilst in my design canvas. I was then presented with a mini menu allowing me to easily access shapes, lines, and other useful graphics. Try it out! Elements
Canva not only has an extensive library of stickers and visual elements, GIFs, and photos, but it also has other special elements that will take your presentations to the next level:
Lines and shapes: These work pretty much in the same way as they do in Adobe Illustrator if you are familiar with the software. You can adjust the width and height, stroke, style, and color, and give you lots of freedom to build custom designs.
Graphs: If you search for “graphs” in the graphics section, you’ll find a good handful of different data visualizations that will greatly help you create reports and data presentations. You can, of course, add your own data, choose the chart style to better represent it, and personalize the style. Some of them have beautiful gradients and styles, and can really improve your presentation game without the need for any other software.
Frames: Canva’s frames allow you to drag and drop a picture on it and frame it. These are a really easy way of cropping and shaping any picture.
I use the circle frame to create event speaker headshots or the basic rectangle one to make sure my pictures are the right size, but there are hundreds of them to suit any of your design needs.
Canva also has other features that aren’t as commonly used, and that have saved me lots of time!
Animations per slide and per element: When creating a presentation video, you can select a premade animation for the entire slide. Sometimes, some elements might not look great with said animation or just not animate at all. You can also animate each element individually, so there’s no need to remove the animation at a slide level; you can just adjust the animation of the element that doesn’t flow with it!
Music: I only recently found that Canva also has an extensive royalty-free music library, which I can use to export a video presentation directly from Canva, instead of downloading the presentation only and then adding music to it in Adobe Premiere. This is probably the tip that has saved me the most time, and I can’t believe I didn’t know about this!
Background remover: When you upload an image to Canva, you can edit it and use the background remover to create a cutout of the subject. Of course, the result depends on the image, and you can’t adjust it as you would in Photoshop, but I have found the AI works pretty well in most cases.
Canva has also recently launched a video background remover. It works in a similar way as it does with a static image; this tool can save you literal hours in After Effects!
Canva Print: One of the things I dislike the most in design is adding crop & bleed marks in Illustrator, as I can never be sure I am leaving enough space. When designing a document in Canva, you have the option to export it as a PDF and include crop & bleed marks automatically, which has made my life easier when designing for print!
I hope these canva tips and tricks will come in handy when creating your next - or first - Canva project as much as they help me daily!
If you need help with your graphic design, Social Media campaigns or presentations, you can
contact us, and the team at AZoNetwork will be happy to help.