• Christina Siau

Introduction to Canva



Continuing our series of sharing some useful media resources with the CNM Community, today we share with you some tips and tricks for the widely known graphic design platform, Canva! I’m sure most of you have heard about Canva, used it before or have a friend who uses it. And it is not difficult to see why.


Canva is a free graphic design platform that allows you to create social media graphics ranging from posters, logos and presentation slides, allowing you to make your designs look more aesthetically pleasing. You can access Canva for free on their website at canva.com and making an account is simple and accessible too. Templates to suit your design needs, vectors and stock images are free to use, which make it a seamless and easy experience!


For those who have no idea how to use Canva, here is a brief guide on how to get started. And for those who are already fairly proficient at using Canva, stick around because we are about to share some tips and tricks with you that could make your life easier!


Part I: A Brief Guide


1. Create an account and access the home page


To start, you will first need to create a Canva account using your email address. Once you’re into the home page, you will see a range of templates you can choose from to suit what you are designing for. Spoilt for choice? Bring your cursor over to the “Templates” bar and it will show you a range of categories you can choose from to start your designing.

This is a really easy way to navigate which template you want to go for based on the nature of your work - such as if it is used for presentations, posters or logo designs. Alternatively, you can scroll down and choose which style you want based on the categories labeled for each template.



2. Choosing a template


Once you’ve chosen the right category for your design, you will be taken right into the designing page with even more templates to choose from. Here, you can also begin to change the texts, add in elements, photos, colours and vectors to spice up your material. Canva also makes it easy to choose templates from within categories - such as if you are pitching a sales Instagram Post, simply scroll down or search “Sales” under the Search template bar for easy access.

Once chosen, the template will pre-impose its fonts, designs and vectors that come with it onto your designing board. But that doesn’t mean you have to stick to it, you can switch it up and change the colours on the top panel bar or add in new elements or texts found on the right side of the designing interface.


3. Modify it according to your needs


What if you want to import your own photographs or other vector elements into your design? Not to worry, as you can just head over to the “Uploads” section in the right-hand bar and this will allow you to upload an image or a video from your computer! This is important if you want to customize your poster to make it look authentic or to add a personal touch to your design.


With that, we hope you have learnt a thing or two on how to get started on Canva. It is a seamless and accessible process for beginners who want to venture into graphic design. And for those of you who are already fairly proficient at Canva or want to learn more about its shortcuts and other tricks, read on for more!


Part II: Tips and Tricks on Canva!


Canva helps you to kickstart your designs while allowing you to make it customizable to your needs. But how do we make it more aesthetic while maintaining convenience? In this section, learn more about the shortcuts in the design platform that will save you some time when designing your product.


Texts


• To add texts, simply use the “T” button on your keyboard to add a text to avoid wasting time searching for one.

• To add hyperlinks to your texts, click on the design elements of the text box followed by the link icon, paste the link you would like to attach and click Apply!

• To represent boldness and confidence, we recommend using fonts like League Spartan, Archivo Black, or Anton which has that classic, sleek and bold look.

• For a minimalist look, we have fonts like Glacial Indifference and Montserrat Classic to fit the bill.

• To make your design look like its handwritten, try fonts like Selima, Bristol Regular, Permanent Marker, and Yellowtail to go with!

Elements


• To move all your elements together, hold the SHIFT key while selecting them.

• Alternatively, you can also ‘group’ the elements together by selecting all of the elements and clicking on "Group", which are found on the top right-hand corner of the design page. You can then move them around all at once! To delete one of the elements or prevent them from moving together, simply 'ungroup' them.

• You can also lock elements by clicking on the padlock icon also located on the top right-hand corner of the design page.

• To send an element forward, use cmd/ctrl + “]”.

• To send an element backward, use cmd/ctrl + “[“.


Scaling and Resizing


• To customize your poster/post/logo page, simply click “Custom dimensions” just before you click on your desired template on the home page. Knowing the actual dimensions will definitely help to ensure the design template you are going for is suited to your needs (eg. Posters, Instagram post, Website banner etc).

• To scale your element proportionately, click “alt + drag” and use the side or corner handles to size them. This will help you to size your elements and designs conveniently!


Images/Photographs


• Did you know that you can add photographs into letter elements on your design? To do this, simply search letter frames under elements and choose the letters that have the scenery view on them (this means that you can add your own picture to it).

• Add your photos or use the stock photos that Canva has provided which are found on the right bar of the design page and make your letter frames come alive!

With all the information and tips found on this page, we hope it has helped you in leveling-up your aesthetic game and saving you some time on designing. Canva is a user-friendly design platform and the good news is, that most tools on the platform are totally free! Isn't that wonderful?


If you have any questions or want to find out or suggest more tricks that we don’t know about, do share with us too! We will update this page regularly to make sure you get all the information you need to make your designs a stellar and aesthetic masterpiece.

Happy designing and stay tuned for more tips and tricks to other design platforms! :-)

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