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Create Attractive Graphics Without A Design Background On Canva

Bakari Chavanu 28-01-2015

When it comes to giving your website and social network content an attractive edge, Canva is the online graphic design application and resource that can make it happen.


I started a new blog site this year, and nearly all my designs for the site originate from Canva. I use Canva because it allows me, a novice graphic designer 5 Free Awesome Graphic Design Tutorial Sites You Should Check Out Read More with a basic understanding of the principles of graphic design 5 Basic Principles Of Graphic Design You Take For Granted Everyday In the visual age of the Internet it's relatively easy to create your own graphic designs, but they don't have to look homemade. Read More , to start with professionally designed templates, graphics, and font styles to make my site and social networks more appealing.

Since we last reviewed Canva Making Beautiful Designs The Easy Way With Canva [Signup & Free Credit] What if an application promised to make it possible for anyone to create aesthetically pleasing designs? What if creating a genuinely beautiful design was just a matter of dragging and dropping? Read More a few years ago, several useful tools and features have been added for all sorts of graphic design needs, including Facebook and Twitter account covers, email headers, real estate flyers, Kindle covers, and Facebook ad templates.

Getting Started

Canva is very simple for the newbie who has little inkling of design. After registering an account on Canva, start by selecting the design you want to use, (e.g. Google+ cover, Twitter post graphic, Pinterest design, photo collage.) The dimensions are set for your selected template, but you can select a custom design with your width and height.

Canva Templates

Canva provides a set of layouts you can customize for your needs. Naturally you can start from scratch and create a new background and search for images and icons you want to use. Many designs are free, while others cost a $1 per design or graphic element.


Canva paid design

For example, the following Twitter post layout is a paid design, which is watermarked. You can customize the design and even download it before deciding to purchase.

Canva twitter post

Canva gives you 24 hours after you pay for the download to make additional changes to a paid graphic free of charge. After I downloaded a paid design, I made a copy of it in Canva, opened it in the editor, removed the added words, and downloaded the graphic or illustration in case I want to use it again in the future.



New Designs

Canva has added numerous design templates — notable ones are the Kindle covers and email header designs. A professional Kindle book cover 8 Self-Publishing Secrets For Designing An eBook Cover A good ebook cover is a visual and emotional glance into the contents of your writing. But if you design your own ebook cover, there are some important things you need to take into consideration. Read More can run into hundreds of dollars, but if you’re an independent author wanting to save some money, Canva provides great templates for getting started with your own cover.

Canva Kindle cover

The new email headers are useful when you don’t want to design an entire graphic email, but would like to incorporate a design element that could make your special email more attractive.


Canva email header

Font Spacing

Basic designs tools are similar to what we use in all desktop design applications, but there are a few advanced features that might not be obvious when using Canva for the first time. For example, you can not only customize the font style, size, and text alignment  in any layout, but you can also use the advanced text spacing and line height tools.

Canva Text spacing

Add or reduce the space between characters in word for a more balanced design depending on the fonts you choose. With two or more lines of text, you can adjust the line height between them. This tool is not present in every design element, but you can look for it by clicking on the blue triangle in the font menu, and then clicking on “Text spacing.”


Create Attractive Graphics Without A Design Background On Canva Screen Shot 2015 01 16 at 2

Sharing Designs

Canva also expanded its sharing options to support Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and email. Shared designs get embedded into Facebook and Pinterest posts, whereas with email and Twitter, only the link to the design is shared.

Canva shared

Design Tutorials and Streams

Canva is doing an excellent job of providing tutorials about strategies and principles of graphic design and using its design tools. If you’re new to graphic design, you owe it to yourself to work through the Canva Design School, as well as read The Non-Designer’s Design Book, by Robin Williams. The Canva tutorials only a take a few minutes each to complete.

Canva tutorials

For inspirational purposes, Canva added Streams, which is nothing less than a huge library of awesome designs you can like and comment on.

Canva stream

Canva For iPad

I like browsing and sometimes working in Canva on my iPad.  The Canva app on iOS includes all the features of the online version, except for the Stream and tutorial sections, as well as a few missing template categories. The app is a free download.

Canva iPad app | Design with the Canva iPad app Safari Today at 11 53 31 AM

What Is Your Excuse?

Canva is easy to use and affordable. You can even upload your own images and artwork to the site, and make use of the templates and fonts for free. For design professionals, the Canva Marketplace has opened its doors. Contribute and earn from your creative designs How to Be a Profitable Online Graphic Designer If you're a graphic designer struggling to turn a profit, all is not lost. Here are some tips for getting your freelance career back on track. Read More . With tools like Canva around, there’s little excuse these days for not having an attractive online presence.

Let us know what you think of Canva and how you’re using it with your blog or other online content and social networks.

Related topics: Digital Art, Typography, Web Design.

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  1. Uday
    January 28, 2016 at 1:57 am

    Hey Rachel,

    How do i integrate this with my website?

  2. Rachel Chapdelaine
    January 30, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    Oh, yeah. I never pay for the images on there. I typically go for creative commons photos on Flickr or Pixabay. Check out this Canva GIF tutorial I recently made with a combination of public domain photos and creative commons.

    Let me know what you think!

    • Bakari Chavanu
      February 2, 2015 at 8:24 pm

      Hey Rachel, is there a link to your Canva tutorial?

    • Rachel Chapdelaine
      February 2, 2015 at 8:41 pm

      I thought I included it in another comment. :/ The tutorial is more GIF-focused, but I used Google image search(reuse with modification settings), Flickr (creative commons) and Pixabay (public domain) to find all of the images to keep the theme consistent. Sometimes, you just have to use multiple resources to find what you need. Hope you like it!

    • Bakari Chavanu
      February 3, 2015 at 6:58 pm

      Thanks, Rachel, for sharing. I've bookmarked it, and will definitely give it a try.