The goal of every solopreneur is to build up the skills needed to run their business effectively while keeping expenses to a minimum. But with limited time and resources, it can be challenging to create high-quality graphics for social media, Ebooks, lead magnets, and website designs.
Oftentimes, the graphics we create ourselves don’t quite meet our expectations, and outsourcing can be costly. That’s where Canva comes in.
I’m going to share processes and tips that will help you improve your graphic design skills using Canva. Canva makes it easy for you to create professional-looking graphics without spending a lot of money or learning complicated software. Its intuitive interface and powerful design tools help you improve the quality of your graphics quickly and efficiently.
So, if you’re feeling bleh about the graphics you’re currently creating and want to switch it up to eye-catching designs for your business, keep reading.
Sidenote: if you know how to use Canva, you can skip ahead.
What Is Canva?
Once upon a time, in the land of creative possibilities, Canva emerged as a humble tool for graphic design wannabes. But holy frickin’ moley, did it grow up fast! With its magical evolution, Canva has become the go-to platform where even the most design-challenged among us (yours truly) can create stunning visuals.
Canva is a versatile online graphic design tool that allows you to create stunning visuals for various purposes. It aims to empower solopreneurs like you to design professional-looking graphics without the need for extensive design experience or expensive software. You can create social media graphics, eBook designs, lead magnets, and website graphics that reflect your brand’s unique style and captivate your audience.
No need to go all fancy-pants! Just make sure your computer has the latest version of Chrome and an internet connection, and you’re good to go with Canva. Check Canva’s browser support for more options.
Get an account setup and Canva has a very generous free plan you can start with.
The fascinating tale of Canva’s origin is filled with inspiration, and if you’re interested, I’ve included a link here for you.
Note: Canva has a mobile app for Android and iOS, but it’s not very easy to create graphics on your phone. However, it’s worth noting that the app is available if you prefer to use it on the go. There’s a desktop app available, but I won’t be covering that to keep the focus on improving your skills, and not about the tech.
Personal Observation: I’ll admit something. I love the idea of doing everything from my laptop. I love “the idea” but this is what I’m running:
Picture this: on the left, a sprawling 32″ monitor; in the center, a captivating 52″ curved monitor; and on the right, my trusty laptop completes the setup. This is the reality of my workstation.
This is “my” perfect setup for Canva.
I’m sharing this because how your environment is set up will help remove obstacles while improving your graphic design skills using Canva.
Old computers and monitors may not show the colors in Canva accurately, so what you see may not be the same as what others see.
If you’re using a small Chromebook, you may struggle to see all the elements in Canva and have to spend more time rearranging them.
My future self tells me that when I go on my next working vacation, I’m going to look at investing in a laptop with a large screen. I will be heavier to carry, but won’t have to use hotel business services to hook up my laptop to an external monitor.
Why Is Improving Your Graphic Design Skills Using Canva Important?
Here’s a fun fact for you: According to Jeff Bullas, studies have shown that people can recall 65% of the visual content that they see almost three days later. In comparison to about 10% of written content three days after it’s read.
As a solopreneur, creating visually appealing graphics is crucial for capturing your audience’s attention and conveying your brand’s message effectively. By honing your graphic design skills using Canva, you won’t have to settle on subpar designs anymore.
Moreover, Canva provides you with a cost-effective solution. You don’t have to spend money on hiring graphic designers or expensive courses to create professional graphics. Canva offers easy-to-use features that allow you to do it on your own! This way, you’ll have complete control over your visual brand identity without draining your resources.
Let’s dive into the ways that you can improve your graphic design skills using Canva.
Creating Engaging Social Media Graphics
Social media platforms are powerful tools for promoting your business, but standing out in an atmosphere of noise can be challenging.
Canva makes it easy to create eye-catching social media graphics. Recently, on October 11, 2022, the company announced that it now has 100 million users.
While there may not be 100 million people creating social media graphics, there are still a lot of individuals who do. Therefore, it’s important to improve your skills in this area. Let’s work on leveling up your graphics game!
Once you’re logged into Canva, choose the design type you want. You can do this by searching for a type, clicking on an icon or browsing the “You might want to try…” section.
After choosing the Social Media icon, you can either start designing a graphic from scratch or select a template for the specific social media platform you want to create content for.
Let’s take Instagram; you can create a variety of graphics (width and height sizes)
- a standard square post — 1 image or video — 1080×1080
- a carousel — a slide show up to 10 images or videos — 1080×1080 or 1080 x 1350
- a story — a vertical sized image or video — 1080 x 1920
- a reel — 1 or more vertically sized images or video that create a short video — 1080×1920
Don’t fuss that it’s not perfect; that’s where you’ll get to do some customizing. But if you want to create from scratch and choose these sizes, Canva will display templates to fit those sizes.
Customize the template with your brand colors, fonts, and imagery. Canva offers a vast library of high-quality stock photos and illustrations to choose from, ensuring your graphics are visually appealing.
Remember, simplicity and clarity are key when designing social media graphics. Avoid overcrowding your visuals with too much text or unnecessary elements. Let your brand’s message shine through with clean and eye-catching designs.
Designing Professional Ebook Covers
Ebooks are valuable resources for establishing your expertise and attracting leads. A well-designed eBook cover is crucial for grabbing the attention of potential readers. With Canva, you can create professional eBook covers that make a lasting impression.
Start by browsing Canva’s extensive collection of eBook cover templates. Select a design that aligns with your brand’s style and the topic of your eBook. Customize the template by adding your title, subtitle, and author name. You can also incorporate relevant images or illustrations to enhance the visual appeal.
Remember, an eBook cover should convey the essence of your content and entice readers to explore further. Use striking visuals, bold typography, and compelling color combinations to create a cover that stands out and represents the value readers will find inside.
Crafting Stunning Lead Magnets
Lead magnets are powerful tools for capturing email subscribers and growing your audience. With Canva, you can design visually appealing lead magnets that provide value and entice visitors to sign up for your email list.
Start by determining the type of lead magnet you want to create, whether it’s a checklist, template, guide, or any other valuable resource. Then, select a template that matches the purpose of your lead magnet. Customize the template with your brand elements and fill in the content that will deliver value to your audience.
Remember, lead magnets should be visually appealing, easy to read, and offer a clear benefit to your audience. Use Canva’s design features to enhance the readability of your content and create visually pleasing layouts that guide readers through the information.
7 Tips for Maximizing Your Graphic Design Skills Using Canva
Here are some additional ways to level up your graphic design skills on your own using Canva:
Explore the Templates
Canva is chock-full of professional-level templates that you can dissect and learn from.
Try this: Pick a template that you love and reverse-engineer the design to understand the choices made in typography, color, layout, and imagery. Repeat this as many times as you can.
Daily Design Challenges
Make it a habit to create a design a day. Canva runs similar types of challenges, and you’ll get an email when they run them.
Try this: You could pair up with a friend to be an accountability partner and do your own challenge. It could be a graphic for social, a flyer (yes they are still a thing), or even an infographic. The goal is to get familiar with the tool and to constantly flex your creative muscles.
Experiment with Features
Canva has a plethora of features and functionalities that you can play around with. From the magic resize tool to the background remover, there’s a lot to explore. YouTube has some amazing experts such as Ron from Design with Canva who’s always up on the latest features and I love his accent. Try following along with a few different experts to get different points of view on various Canva features.
Design with a Purpose
Instead of aimlessly playing around, set a goal for each design. Maybe you want to create a stunning Instagram post or a catchy YouTube thumbnail. Having a specific idea of what you want to create can focus your design efforts and push you to explore more relevant features.
Try this: if you’re planning on creating graphics for clients, and you’re just getting started, pretend your ideal customer needed some work done. Come up with an idea and sketch, then create it in Canva.
Bonus points for this one: ask a friend or someone who could act as your idea client. Get them to give you some challenges for graphics, and your job is to design it and get their stamp of approval.
Design is an ever-evolving field, and what’s popular today might not be tomorrow. So, keep up with design trends. This could be in the form of trending colors, fonts, or even layout styles for new features offered by social media platforms.
Take Advantage of Free Resources
Canva has a vast library of free resources including images, icons, shapes, fonts, videos and animations. Make full use of these to enhance your designs.
Try this: Create one design, then duplicate it 5 times. On each version, just change one element. Which do you like better? Then get feedback from other people to see which they liked better.
Feedback and Iteration
Share your designs with friends or family, or even on your social media channels. Constructive criticism can help you improve your designs significantly. And remember, it’s okay to iterate. Every revision is a step towards perfection.
Perfection is an impossible goal to reach. Practice and experiment.
You know, even small improvements can add up to something pretty remarkable. Making a 1% improvement every day might not sound like much, but those tiny 1% increments actually amount to a whopping 37 times better after a year! Tiny steps forward can lead to some amazing progress in the long run.
Start improving your graphic design skills using Canva today! Canva is a great tool for solopreneurs who want to create high-quality visuals without spending too much money. Its user-friendly interface and powerful features make it easy to use and produce stunning designs. Whether you’re looking to create graphics for your website, social media, or other marketing materials, Canva (free) and Canva Pro won’t disappoint.
I hope this guide on improving your graphic design skills using Canva has been helpful.
Until next time, stay inspired.