Every web page requires certain graphic elements to stand out. A decade ago it was sought to attract attention with the design and even Flash animations were used.
Nowadays, we are more minimalist. Wanting to improve loading speed and highlight the message about the design, leads us to design websites with fewer elements.
And, since we use few images, we are going to use them well. However, it’s also not worth spending 3 hours to design a background image or YouTube thumbnail template.
Also, if you have a technical profile, designing from scratch may be very difficult for you.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to design a high-quality, professional-looking image without being a great designer?
With Canva you can design very top images for your clients’ web pages .
What is Canva and what is it for?
Canva is a graphic design web application that allows you to easily create images, animations and short videos.
This platform has revolutionized graphic design, making it possible for amateurs to compose images and simplifying the process for professionals.
The tool has a wide repertoire of templates that are very practical and that adapt to different formats depending on the nature of the composition, such as logos, banners or infographics.
How Canva works
Canva is a freemium tool , meaning you can use it for free, and it has a premium option if that falls short.
How Canva works is simple: you choose a template, modify it to your liking and download the image.
It has a drag & drop editor. You select an element, drag it into the composition and customize it however you want.
On the left you have a column with the different design options. Occupying the center and to the right of the screen is the canvas. Show your design , how it will look like once you download it.
We will see how to use Canva a bit later.
For now, I will tell you that you can design from scratch or choose a default template. Everything is fast, visual and intuitive.
In addition, you will be able to upload your own multimedia files, which gives you a lot of versatility when designing.
The Canva Print service offers you the possibility to print a design and have it sent to your home.
Advantages of Canva
Canva has many advantages:
1. It’s free
Its basic plan is free, at least for now. You don’t have to checkout to enjoy it. And it doesn’t seem like the business model is going to change.
Obviously, the Pro plan has a series of extra services, but the free version is perfectly valid and covers the needs of most users.
2. Very easy to use
The great strength of Canva is its ease of use. You don’t have to be a computer scientist or a graphic design scholar.
Its drag & drop editor, its minimalist style, and its minimal learning curve make it an accessible application for anyone who knows how to use a computer or a mobile device since it is also available for iOS and Android.
3. Wide variety of elements
You can add images, texts, geometric shapes, stickers, graphics and many other elements.
There are thousands of options to cover the needs of your compositions. Also, you can upload your own graphic resources.
It is important to note that the application is very flexible but it is not a photo retouching program, so you will have to do this task before uploading the image.
4. Free Image Bank
One of the tasks in which we tend to waste the most time is looking for images for our designs. Canva has its own bank of images, both free and premium.
In its free version, you have thousands of images at your disposal. If you want a premium image, you can buy it from €1 or upgrade to the Pro version.
5. Templates for all occasions
The most useful resource of the application is the wide repertoire of templates available. They are categorized according to their use, format and destination. There are templates for all social networks, to create ads, infographics and even a book cover.
The templates are professional looking and come with graphic elements and images included, so they are ready to publish.
In addition, its customization is very simple.
6. Remote access to your projects
Being able to work from any device is one of the great advantages of working in the cloud.
Just like Google Drive, Canva is hosted in the cloud, so you always have access to your projects.
It doesn’t matter if you are at home, in the office or on the go.
7. Collaborative work
Related to the previous point, the nature of the application makes it possible to create a project and share it with other people.
You can add specific people using their email or give access to anyone who has the link.
The collaborative options are:
- View: The collaborator can view the project.
- Comment: You can also comment on it and make suggestions.
- View and Edit: View it, comment on it, and edit it if you think it’s necessary.
Each role is designed for a particular situation. For example, if you want to share a design with a client, you will choose one of the first two.
If, on the other hand, you are going to share it with someone on your team, you can give them editing permissions.
8. Strengthen the corporate image
As a good pro web designer , you know the importance of corporate image.
Canva offers the possibility to upload your logos, icons and images, which allows you to preserve and enhance the brand image.
It has a functionality called brand kit , which allows you to always have the different logos, brand colors and text fonts at hand.
9. Download the files in various formats
It is of little use to you to create the best compositions in the world if you cannot download your compositions in the correct format.
If after downloading you had to convert to another format, you would lose quality in the process.
Canva measures up by offering multiple formats:
- PNG: high-quality image. In order for the background to be transparent, it is necessary to have the paid version.
- JPG: the image format par excellence. Create a file with a reduced size.
- PDF: here we differentiate between standard and high-quality for printing.
- SVG: vector format ideal for the web. Available in the paid version.
- MP4: quality video in a compressed format.
- GIF: short clip without sound. Ideal for showing a micro tutorial.
Also, you can choose the size you want, transparent background, and compress the file.
10. Save a lot of working time
Its ease of use, the number of elements and images available, and the fact that you can use high-quality predefined templates is a huge time savers.
The learning curve is minimal so, as soon as you have used a design program, you will get the tool.
Web designers are always short on time, so using Canva is a great way to save a few minutes throughout the day.
How to use Canva to design online
1. Create an account
The first step is to register on the platform. To register you have many options. You can use your Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Clever usernames. You can also create your account with your phone number and, of course, with your email.
Once you sign up, you’ll get a pop-up asking what you’re going to use Canva for. This is for the platform to recommend different templates depending on the option you choose.
The list of options is as follows: large company, teacher, student, personal use, non-profit organization and small business.
For a web designer, the most appropriate is small business.
Then you will see the option to try Canva Pro. As I mentioned, I think it is better to do it later, so click on “Later”.
2. Choose a template
Canva has thousands of templates categorized based on the medium and format each one requires.
In addition, you can filter by theme. For example, for a concert or look for designs on football, movies or music.
The best thing is that when choosing a template it already comes with the appropriate dimensions for each purpose. For example, a YouTube banner will fit perfectly on your channel.
Parts of a template but you can customize it to your liking. You can even create a composition from scratch. To do this, go to the top right corner and click the “Create a design” button. Next, click on “Custom Size”.
3. Customize the interface
Canva’s interface is highly intuitive. But the thing does not stop there, since it is also customizable.
By default, the following items appear:
- Templates: from here you can change the template.
- Elements: menu for graphic elements, geometric shapes, stickers and other resources.
- Uploaded: place where the images, videos and audios that you upload to the platform are stored.
- Text: Add headings, subheadings, and paragraphs. You can also select default font combinations.
- Logos: Only available in the Pro version with the branding kit.
- More: photos, graphics, styles, audio, videos, background and folders. When you select an item, it is added to the menu. You can remove it by hovering over it and clicking the X.
Canva’s interface is simple, straightforward, and family-friendly.
4. Create your composition
It’s time to use your graphic design skills.
Whether you’re an accomplished artist or not , designing with Canva makes things a lot easier for you.
The basic recommendations have to do with the psychology of color and knowing how to choose colors .
It is advisable to know how to select the appropriate shapes and, above all, to have basic notions of composition to place each element in its place and to have harmony.
As a general rule, start by selecting an image or a background color, add the shapes you want, color them and write the text according to your brand’s typography. If you want, you can add your logo.
And now you have your composition ready 🙂
5. Download your file
At this point, it’s time to use your creation and show it to the world.
To download it, go to the button at the top right that says “Share”. Once there, select the “Download” option.
The available formats are PNG, JPG, PDF, MP4 and GIF. SVG is added to these in the Pro version.
Select the desired format and click “Download” again.
Remember that you can also share your image or video directly on your social networks. In Canva Pro you can schedule social media posts.
Free Canva vs Canva Pro
The free version of Canva is more than enough to get you started. It is perfectly usable and has practically the same options.
My recommendation is that you try it. Once you get the hang of it and see that it’s useful for your work, you can move on to the pro version.
There are 5 advantages of using Canva Pro:
- The greater amount of resources: the images and templates available in the Pro plan is immense, far superior to the free one.
- ‘Magic’ Resize: This feature allows you to resize a design for use in another format. For example, you can convert a featured image from a post to an Instagram post.
- Brand kit: have your logo, corporate colors and fonts that represent you at hand.
- Storage space: the free version has 5 GB while the paid version reaches up to 100 GB. If it fills you will have to delete previous designs.
- Content publishing schedule: You can schedule a composition to be published on social networks.
These are the main differences.
There are some other interesting ones, like background removal.
Canva Pro costs €11.99 per month or €109.99 per year. For the Americas, the price is $6.49 or $54.99 per year.
There is also a business plan designed for multiple users that has some benefits but isn’t worth it for a freelance web designer or a small team.
The Pro version has a 30-day free trial. 3 days before it ends, they notify you so that you can cancel it if you are not convinced.
Opinions about Canva
Whenever you are considering using a tool, it is advisable to consult the opinions of other users.
The experience of other people can be useful when it comes to knowing the strengths and, especially, the weaknesses, since the latter tend to go unnoticed because you will not find them on the tool’s website.
Among my contacts, Canva has a great acceptance and good reputation. I know web designers, copywriters, copywriters, SEO consultants… And everyone who uses the tool is delighted with it.
If you go to platforms specialized in collecting user opinions, you will find that Canva has a score of 4.7 out of 5 on Capterra, a platform specialized in software.
My experience is that it is a very valid tool for making quick and easy designs, such as images for social networks, headers and banners for web pages, and even posters for events.
Obviously, if you want something more professional you can use Photoshop, but to obtain compositions of the same level as with Canva, you need to train and practice for a long time.
For the vast majority of designs, Canva is a perfectly valid tool that will save you a lot of time and dozens of failed designs.
In my case, I use this application to create the images for my posts and social networks.