I had heard about Canva a few times before and although I had used it once or twice, I hadn’t yet made it my number-1 image design resource. (I have a PicMonkey Royale [<<affiliate link] subscription, so that’s the one I like to focus on the most.)
But alas, I went on Canva and a few minutes later, found a design that I couldn’t wait to make my own.
WHAT IS CANVA & HOW DO YOU USE IT?
To all you PicMonkey fans, Canva is like PicMonkey but with the HUGE difference that in addition to blank, well, canvases, Canva offers model/sample designs (or templates) you can design over for ALL kinds of needs–Facebook/Twitter covers, posters, cards, documents, presentations, invitations, etc. Inspiration-wise, it kicks a**.
But some that inspiration isn’t free (oh, no, no, no) and that’s why I won’t make the plunge just yet; PicMonkey already has a piece of my heart).
In fact, Canva charges $1 for every NON-free element you use in your design. Granted, 1) there are a LOT (hundreds, thousands?) of free elements (incl. beautiful, knock-your-socks-off overlays, layouts, and backgrounds) and 2) $1 isn’t that much, but in an age where we all value free as far as the Internet goes, even 100 pennies are still an investment–especially if you may need to change that design (that change adds up!).
Plus, I want to tailor EVERYTHING to my preferences. So instead of paying $1+ (especially when I’m already paying $33 for a yearly PM Royale subs), I grab a source, get inspired, and and take that inspiration elsewhere.
HERE’S HOW TO MAKE THOSE LUSTFULLY WONDERFUL IMAGES
1. Browse through Canva to find your dream pro design. Make sure you have a GOOD idea of what your copy (i.e., text) will be.
I wanted something that could accommodate just a few words–nothing major. In other words, I already knew what I wanted to say.I also wanted it to be striking and beautiful.
It’s very important to know what your wording will be beforehand; otherwise, you won’t be able to easily pick a template and you’ll spend a ton of time matching possible words to the template instead of doing the opposite (which is the right way).
This is the Canva template/”layout” I found:
Now in theory, it’s a pretty design, right? But my client’s needs had more to do with crafting and less to do with fine jewelry, so while I initially really wanted the diamonds background, I later realized it would’t fit.
(If it had been a free design, I could have decided to keep it because the diamonds also kind of look like rhinestones and gems. You ought to evaluate your needs and determine what’d be appropriate.)
If you’re happy with the Canva layout you found, design over it right there and stop reading this. (You’re done!)
NOTE: The image at the top of this post was actually created with Canva.
But if the template you found is not free and you don’t want to pay for it OR if you’d like to enhance it further and make it even more yours, read on…
2. If your desired Canva layout has a background image, go look for a similar (or even better) free stock image.
This is one I found on Unsplash and it didn’t take me long (excl. some browsing time) to fall in love with it:
I thought this image would make a perfect alternative background.
Play around with all the choices available until you find the one that’ll suit your design best.
Now on to the good part!
3. Let’s Picmonkey it!
So that Canva template was paid, right?
Open PicMonkey on a separate tab and keep the Canva image open as reference. (Trust me, you’ll need it.)
The sign I wanted had to be 8.5″ x 11″, which amounts to 2250 px x 3300 px. (Learn how to Convert inches to pixels.)
- On PicMonkey, I hit the “DESIGN” tab to create a blank canvas, entered those dimensions and hit “Create”
- I left that canvas white (#ffffff)
- Added that photo from Unsplash as my own Overlay and enlarged it so that it was bigger than the canvas
- I also got an icon of a pair of scissors (because I love icons and the design needed it) from Icon Archive and imported it
- And then, I created away and ended up with this!
- Those are two circles–the white one’s just on top of the green one.
- How did I get that green? With PicMonkey’s eyedropper tool! Where is it? It’s the rectangle next to the color gradient bar.
- The dashed lines are part of the School overlays
- That fonts are Futura Medium and Sacramento
We wanted another sign, so I created one that complemented the first one but that wasn’t identical:
4. AND THAT’S IT!
You’re done, lovelies! What did you think? Easy peasy, no?
As always, let me know if you have any questions; I’d love to help you as you set off on this design adventure.
I also want to start a Design series that uses Canva and Picmonkey (perhaps on my personal blog so as to not bog y’all down with non-Marketing stuff) so tell me: What do you look forward to learning to design the most?
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BONUS: A free Canva template I’ve actually used:
This one’s for a poster for my brand new app, THOUGHTStoPOSTS. >> Go and check it out!