Updated: Jun 6
Let’s face it: graphic design can be challenging and time consuming. Even though there are tons of software out there for us to use for our small business ventures, it takes time and a lot of effort to learn them. We can spend hours tinkering with tools and settings as we try to figure out how to get our ideas down on the blank page in front of us. Before we know it, it’s the end of the workday, and we don’t have anything ready to post online or share with clients.
Fortunately, the task of creating promotional material or any graphic design pieces is becoming less daunting thanks to accessible and user-friendly platforms. Canva is arguably the most popular and widely used of these platforms, and it’s certainly for good reason. In this week’s blog, we’re talking about how to get your business started with Canva and on the path towards effective and aesthetically pleasing content and marketing strategy.
What is Canva?
Canva is an online graphic design and publishing platform geared towards beginners, both for personal and business purposes. It simplifies the designing and editing process, and it’s a much faster way to make whatever digital materials you might need compared to other software like Adobe Photoshop or InDesign. While Adobe products have rightfully earned their place as the industry-standard software for professional graphic designers, Canva appeals to the masses with its free templates and drag and drop interface. Canva also offers users access to a wide selection of free video tutorials on various design and marketing subjects. If you ever get stuck and need some help with your design, you can refer to the Help Center, too. With Canva, everything is within arm’s reach, which gives you the chance to channel your saved time and energy into your other important business operations.
Canva’s design simplicity extends to its subscription options and fees. For those just getting started with the platform, you can use Canva absolutely free. With just the basic subscription, you’ll still have access to over 250,000 free templates, 100+ design types, and 5GB of cloud storage amongst a number of other features. For those wanting access to premium content, Canva Pro is the next step up from Canva Free, which boosts your experience to include access to 100+ million stock media (photos, videos, audio, and graphics), 610,000 professional designs and templates, and lots of other features to take your designs to the next level. If you might need access to the features of Canva Pro for several people, you can take advantage of the Canva for Teams bundle. Here’s a quick breakdown of these subscriptions:
Canva Free: free (duh!)
Canva Pro: $149.99 CAD/year or $16.00 CAD/month for one user
Canva for Teams: $199.90 CAD/year or $19.99 CAD/month for the first five users (more users after the first five can be added for additional fees)
How can I use Canva for my small business?
When it comes to using Canva for your small business, the possibilities really are endless: invitations, flyers, posters, presentations, cards, infographics, business cards, Instagram posts, resumes, book covers, menus, letterheads, newsletters, photo collages, tickets, bookmarks, invoices…should we keep going? Whatever you might need to get done, Canva can do it, and do it well. For small businesses new to the platform, here are three of the main ways you can use Canva to create designs and materials to better develop your digital marketing and content strategy.
For your company branding
Whether you’re an established company or just breaking out into your industry, it’s incredibly important to make sure your brand is visible on all your materials. Your logo and your company name should be featured on your social media posts, your email newsletters, and anything else you might be using to present your products or services. Thankfully, Canva makes branding all these different marketing pieces quick and easy with drag and drop technology and simple transparency tools. You can seamlessly integrate your company logo and name into all your designs, and you don’t need to worry about any tedious editing.
If you don’t have a logo for your company just yet, Canva can still help you. One of the platform’s newest features is their Free Logo Maker. You can easily customize your own logo or work within a template, and you can download and share the design when you’re finished. If you’re worried about choosing pleasing colour combinations or the right shapes and style for your logo, Canva’s intuitive design gives you suggestions to lead you to a sleek and professional final design that you can download in versatile PNG format.
For your social media accounts
Canva has become a go-to platform for businesses that rely on social media for their marketing and content strategy, and it’s for good reason. Canva makes it easy to pick the right sizes for all your posts, stories, banners, thumbnails, and profile photos. When you first open up a new document for a design, all you need to do is scroll down or search for exactly what you’re creating, like a YouTube banner, a Facebook cover photo, or a square image for Instagram. The pixel sizes are all built into Canva and ready for you to use, and you can convert to centimeters, inches, and millimeters if you need to. Canva also has a quick-reference Design Size Guide compiling all their sizes for social media, as well as documents and A, B, and C series paper. Canva can support your business with templates for all of the following applications:
YouTube: thumbnail, banner, video (4K), profile picture, banner in desktop display, banner in tablet display, banner in mobile display, and banner in TV display
Facebook: profile picture, cover photo, image post, shared link images, tab images, event images, carousel ad, and single image ad
Instagram: profile photo, square images, images, and stories
Twitter: header photo, profile photo, post, cards image, and summary card image
LinkedIn: profile photo, cover photo, and shared image
Pinterest: profile photo, board cover photo, and pin sizes (portrait)
Twitch: profile photo, profile banner, video player banner, video thumbnail, cover image, and info panels
SoundCloud: profile photo, album cover, and minimum header
Tumblr: profile photo, banner, shared image
Etsy: cover, profile photo, shop icon, shop banner, thumbnail, team logo, and item listing
For your promotional materials (digital and hard copy)
As much as we might like to think that the future of marketing is through social media, you can still actively use Canva to create more traditional promotional materials that you can email and print out for your clients. Like social media sizing, Canva also has built-in sizes for posters, business cards, invitations, and other content pieces you might use to promote your business. So, instead of relying on your plain, text-based email newsletters, you can update your communications to feature images and your company branding. And, of course, Canva can help you do that quickly and easily: you can pick a template, swap around the colours, fill in your information, and then export it to upload online or print it out. The best part is that you can transform these designs into other sizes and formats for social media, maintaining all your fonts, colour palette, and overall style. If you’re keen to catch the eye of the press and get your business out into the public eye, you can also take advantage of Canva’s Media Kit Maker, which will include templates for sleek and professionally designed pieces like the following:
Your company profile
Biographies of team members
Your company history and mission
Statistics (e.g., your number of clients and the impact of your services)
Your contact information
Let’s get started with Canva!
For small businesses, Canva is an incredible resource for getting a start on developing professional and effective marketing materials. The versatility and ease of access of the platform really is unmatched by any other software at the moment, and we wholeheartedly encourage you to sign-up and take a deeper dive into everything Canva has to offer. As you work towards building your small business’ brand identity and online presence, please feel free to reach out to an expert on the CodeMasters Inc. team for credible advice and support. We’re happy to provide a free consultation to assist with your web designs and development, as well as your digital marketing and social media strategy. Contact us today.
Images used in this blog courtesy of Canva.com.