The Digital Glue Podcast

EP: 65 - How to Design In Canva Like a Guru!

April 12, 2022 Episode 65
EP: 65 - How to Design In Canva Like a Guru!
The Digital Glue Podcast
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The Digital Glue Podcast
EP: 65 - How to Design In Canva Like a Guru!
Apr 12, 2022 Episode 65

“Good design is about making something intelligible and memorable. Great design is about making something memorable and meaningful.” ~ Ditter Rams 

Welcome to Episode 65: How to Design In Canva Like a Guru!


 As the saying goes … “good designers don’t use Canva”. But that’s not necessarily true and a bit of a stigma in today’s design world. In my personal and professional opinion, fully trained designers should know BOTH! I truly do believe that graphic designers and Canva can (and should) coexist! 

Think of things this way … Canva is like the McDonald’s drive-thru of design. It’s cheap, efficient, easy to use, and utterly satisfying when in a crunch for time. So, whether you’re a designer who needs a quick fix, or a newbie to the land of design and marketing for your business, today I’m going to share with you some helpful design “untangling” tips to give your designs the *POW!* they really need -- and in such a way that it’s not recognizable that you’re even using Canva at all.
 
 
Here's what we will be untangling in this episode ...

  • 8 types of can photo searchable terms you need to know
  • 4 major Canva integrations to make your life easier
  • 5 steps to creating transparent text effects
  • How to create text masks for images
  • How to design a powerful presentation (for PowerPoint)
  • A lovely bundle of need-to-know design tips


Are you ready?
Pop in your awesome earbuds and let's dive in!

Show Notes Transcript

“Good design is about making something intelligible and memorable. Great design is about making something memorable and meaningful.” ~ Ditter Rams 

Welcome to Episode 65: How to Design In Canva Like a Guru!


 As the saying goes … “good designers don’t use Canva”. But that’s not necessarily true and a bit of a stigma in today’s design world. In my personal and professional opinion, fully trained designers should know BOTH! I truly do believe that graphic designers and Canva can (and should) coexist! 

Think of things this way … Canva is like the McDonald’s drive-thru of design. It’s cheap, efficient, easy to use, and utterly satisfying when in a crunch for time. So, whether you’re a designer who needs a quick fix, or a newbie to the land of design and marketing for your business, today I’m going to share with you some helpful design “untangling” tips to give your designs the *POW!* they really need -- and in such a way that it’s not recognizable that you’re even using Canva at all.
 
 
Here's what we will be untangling in this episode ...

  • 8 types of can photo searchable terms you need to know
  • 4 major Canva integrations to make your life easier
  • 5 steps to creating transparent text effects
  • How to create text masks for images
  • How to design a powerful presentation (for PowerPoint)
  • A lovely bundle of need-to-know design tips


Are you ready?
Pop in your awesome earbuds and let's dive in!

As the saying goes … “good designers don’t use Canva”. But that’s not necessarily true and a bit of a stigma in today’s design world. In my personal and professional opinion, fully trained designers should know BOTH! I truly do believe that graphic designers and Canva can (and should) coexist!

They should make Adobe Suite platform number one, and have Canva as a backup for those rush design requests needed on the fly with barely 5 minutes notice from the client. Any well-trained designer knows how to manipulate Canva to an entirely other level, one that most people don’t know how to do.

While this topic being highly controversial -- and a bit complicated – the truth of the matter is, it’s highly unlikely that any worthwhile professional designer would ever use Canva to create business-critical assets like logos, business card designs, or brochures from scratch. If a designer does so without a really good reason, that’s a huge red flag. (Trust me, I’ve seen it happen to fellow clients of mine, and it wasn’t a good situation – which we quickly rectified of course!) And let’s not forget that some designers won’t even touch Canva on principle.

Think of things this way … Canva is like the McDonald’s drive-thru of design. It’s cheap, efficient, easy to use, and utterly satisfying when in a crunch for time. Especially if working alongside a team or a VA who also needs access to the workable file but may not have (or be a guru) in Adobe land. But just like the McDonald’s drive-thru, if you as a designer, use Canva too much … you’ll get hooked! And once hooked, you’ll start using it more and more, even when you know you shouldn’t be. And the designs created will showcase a lot of the same stock imagery as everyone else is using and look and feel “samesy”. And that’s really not great – for the design, the client, and one’s reputation.

Free design tools are simply give anyone and everyone with the ability to create presentable professional looking graphics designs in minutes. These tools can be used in conjunction with professionally designed graphical assets, keeping costs low and brand recognizability high. So Canva doesn’t completely replace the work of a designer, in fact the two can jive n’ thrive together.

Our quick rule of thumb … if you need help creating something that is crucial and central to your brand, like a logo, a colour palette, packaging, signage, or something that is going to represent you for years to come, then get a designer on board.

However, if you need something smaller and more incidental like a post for social media, a blog or podcast graphic, or a simple infographic, then designing in Canva can absolutely be an efficient method. And don’t worry, as a designer myself, I won’t hold it against you for using Canva. I use it myself from time to time for a few basics. And if you’re a client of ours, and ask us nicely, we can even set up a template or two for you!

As a professional designer, some of the perks to using Adobe Creative Suite over Canva comes into play when you need a pleasing gradient flow, or a realistic shadow, gridlines to allow one to adjust exact angles, curves, and corners, and most common … creating print-ready files with crop marks and bleeds. Canva offers none of that. But the snap line-up feature does help a little bit!

But all this is beside the point. Today we’re here to talk about how to design in Canva like a guru! So, whether you’re a designer who needs a quick fix, or a newbie to the land of design and marketing for your business, today I’m going to share with you some helpful design “untangling” tips to give your designs the *POW!* they really need -- and in such a way that it’s not recognizable that you’re even using Canva at all.

Ready to begin empowering yourself through your designs?

Then let’s go …!

First and foremost …
8 TYPES OF CANVA PHOTO SEARCHABLE TERMS YOU NEED TO KNOW.

You’re hunting for THE perfect image but feeling stuck and don’t have all the fancy stock image subscriptions the average designer does. Well, all you have to do is type the following keywords into the “search photos” bar …

  • Flatlay
  • Copy Space
  • Copy Space Frame
  • Mockup
  • PNG (for images without backgrounds)
  • Gradient Background
  • Place For Text

And VOILA!
Your Canva design life just got easier!

 

Next up …
4 MAJOR CANVA INTEGRATIONS TO MAKE LIFE EASIER (and speed up your workflow!

First to get to all the gloriously wonderful apps, just open a design or a fresh new page to create one and in the left-hand sidebar, look all the way to the bottom where you will see 3-dots and the word “more” then search for the app name. Once you click on it, the app will shoot itself to the sidebar as a shortcut for ease of use in all future designs.

  • Brandfetch: Simply entre the website URL, get the logo of said website, then use the logo within Canva wherever you want!
  • Pexels: Click on the “Pexels” integration and use any Pexels images in your design.
  • Draw: Click on the “Draw” integration, choose the right tool and colour and get extra creative by creating drawings!
  • Embeds: Copy the URL of your resource, paste it into “Embed” where it says “paste web link here” in the bar, then include the resource on your design.

There are hundreds of app integrations you can add based upon your marketing or AI design needs, so hop into that “app” feature and add whatever else tickles your virtual fancy.

 

Next up …
5 STEPS TO CREATING TRANSPARENT TEXT EFFECTS!

  1. Import a new image into your project design and “remove background”.
  2. Insert your text so it overlaps the images you just fiddled with.
  3. Duplicate the text then position the first set of text backward on the image (meaning behind the image). 
  4. Then on the second set of text, apply the “hollow” effect.
  5. Now just simply reposition the second set of text with the effect applied over top of the first set of text. And WHAM-O! … a beautiful, eye-pleasing transparent effect!


Next up …

CREATING TEXT MASKS FOR IMAGES!

  1. Search for photo placeholder letters and insert then into your design project.
  2. Drag the photo you want to use inside each letter in the design until your mouse cursor is directly over the letter. Then you will see the image “drop” into place.
  3. Ensure the image is the same size then shuffle accordingly so everything is aligned and not overlapping – especially if you want the image to flow throughout the placeholder letters without breaking flow.
  4. Group all the elements together, adjust the size then place wherever you want.


Second last guru tip of the day …

DESIGNING A POWERFUL PRESENTATION (for final use in Microsoft PowerPoint).

This Canva tip is actually one of my most favourite ones of all, because as we all know too well, PowerPoint is not the most user or design friendly. Especially for creating grand visual impact and flow. So, what I like to do is create with the blank “presentation” page size in Canva … This way I can let the client’s brand shine and have absolutely ZERO LIMITATIONS to what I want it to look like. Or if more comfortable you can choose one of their professional “presentation” templates. Then simply just click the “share” button, rolling your mouse down to the “more” option at the very bottom, give it a click, then scroll down to the section where it says “save” and click “Microsoft PowerPoint”.

Once the file is done downloading, just save it to your preferred location of choice, open it up and do a few tweaks as sometimes during this transition, the font names are different from Canva to PowerPoint so double check all fonts and sizes are the same and done like dinner!
 
 

And last but not least, the usual bundle of need-to-know design tips

  • LIMIT YOUR TYPEFACES FOR FONT SAKES. Applying lots of fonts not only makes your design hard to read, but what’s even harder is finding which ones will actually look good together. And this my virtual friends is where your brand style guide comes into play.

  • DON’T BE SCARED OF SCALE. Make your design dynamic by changing the scale of the objects and elements and this will give your design features and elements visual order.

  • WHITE SPACE IS YOUR FRIEND. So, please oh please respect the space of the elements within your design. Give your objects -- and their neighbours -- space to breathe. Your composition should be evenly spaces, ensuring there is no overcrowding of shapes, images, or text.

  • BE CLEVER WITH YOUR COLOURS. Colours are super important in every design as they create visual harmony. So, by choosing a warm or cool or monochromatic colour combination, you will create a tonal foundation for your design.

  • USE FONTS TO HELP INFORM THE MOOD. Fonts have feelings to yah know! So, figure out the mood of your content. Is it contemporary or traditional or bursting at the seams with excitement? Then simply apply a typeface that reflects the spirit of your subject matter.

  • KEEP THINGS SIMPLE. Don’t overload your design just because you can. And surely don’t hassle yourself with complex styles and palettes. Some of the best designs in the world are also the simplest.

  • CREATE MULTI-PAGE MAGIC. If you happen to be creating a multi-page document, make sure you apply the same style fonts, sizes, elements, images, image or text filters and so on to all pages within the design for consistency purposes. And the easiest way to ensure aesthetic unity across the entire document is by duplicating pages then editing the elements that need changing. 
     
  • USE HIERARCHY TO CREATE ORDER. The most visually dominant feature in a design should be the most important part of the message. Apply color or scale to an image or piece of text to see how it changes the hierarchy of elements and what grabs attention first.

  •  AVOID CLICHES. The most creative people think outside the box. They don’t use typical icons or symbols one is used to seeing everywhere to represent the topic. They flex their creativity … search, sketch and repeat … to find new and original icons or ideas to visually communicate with their audience.

 

In the end, whether you’re a designer or not, design plays a significant role in content success. You should not underestimate the power of graphics and visual content in today’s highly competitive (and overcrowded) environment. To grab the attention of your audience, you literally only have 8 seconds, so you must have an outstanding visual to make them stop and engage. 

Designing creative, attention-grabbing visuals is most certainly not as easy as it sounds, but with the right approach, the right direction, and a little practice and play, you can learn it. Using Canva is easy -- but utilizing it to its full potential of it is difficult.

And not limited to everything I shared with you today … take some time to expand your mind – and your designs! – as there is a wide range of exceptional features in Canva – even with the free version.

I hope you feel enlightened to take on the design world in Canva after this epical “untangling” episode. And please, do let us know your queries or suggestions in the comments. We’d love to hear your thoughts, or if you’re intrigued to learn more.

HAPPY Canva’ing!