• Ealing Business Buddies

Using Canva to create amazing social media graphics

Do you struggle to design amazing graphics for your promotional needs?

Are you worried about budget issues?

Does the idea of design, colour fonts scare the pants off you? Or bring you out in a cold sweat?

Particularly in these difficult circumstances, money can become a major factor stopping business owners creating eye catching, effective social media graphics that help them get more contacts and leads, as well as maintaining their current visibility.

There are solutions, one of which is Canva.


Canva is a basic online design software which allows you to create all types of marketing materials, from social media memes and headers to posters and leaflets. There is a free option which is suitable for most needs and a paid option for bigger organisations and teams, or if you want more flexibility.


Canva has lots of different grids that you can use to make your design look interesting and keep it consistent too. Some are really basic, such as one square, or 2 squares. Others are quite ornate, with diagonals, slices and other options.


To get you started Canva has extensive predesigned layouts. All you do is replace the image if you don’t like it, to one that is more suited to your message. Same with the fonts and/or colours and hey presto you have your design.

Brand colours

With the free option you’re able to use 3 brand colours (as well as Canva’s default palettes). To add your brand colours to the palettes, you need to know the hex number (#xxxxxx) for each colour. Your designer should be able to help you with that. There are also free RGB to hex converters available on line, so you can make sure everything is consistent to your brand.

You can also create your own colours using the included colour wheel option, so you can design your graphic in any way you want. Every time you create or use a colour, it remains in the colour palette for the particular project your use it in.

This means that if you add more pages into that project, you can use the same colours all the way through, allowing you to maintain brand consistency.

You can also amend those colours to make them into dark or lighter tones of the same colour. For instance, you can make the tint darker by increasing the black. This colour then also goes into the colour palette for the project.

If you opt for the paid version, you’re able to add more colours, so you’re able to include your secondary brand palette colours.


Canva has a range of fonts preinstalled, giving you a good range of typographic options. Some of the fonts are similar to standard fonts used in design and Word. One such font is Helvetische, the equivalent font being Helvetica. Aileron is another font which is available in Canva and in design or Word.

Aileron has 3 different weights, light, medium and bold, so it is a good, basic font for most designs. It’s similar to fonts such as Arial, Verdana and Calibri in Word

If you opt for the paid version, you have the option to add your own brand fonts. This helps you keep all your material ‘on brand’.

Font combos

As with the predesigned layouts, Canva provides font combinations that create certain ‘looks’. This is great for the novice user, allowing them to create something that works well typographically.

These combinations can also be adapted, changing the font and the size, once you get more confident.


There are lots of image options available with Canva. It has a basic range of free images preinstalled. It also has the option to buy some for very low prices ie $1.

You can upload your own images that you’ve taken yourself, or got from a stock library. It also has the cool option of letting you add photos from your Facebook camera roll and other social media sites, so you can make posts with your own pics on the spur of the moment if you’ve just taken a photo.

You can also upload your own logo files, as jpegs, or as pngs. If your logo is uploaded as a png, it should have a transparent background and you can use it over images to brand your graphics.

Shapes, lines, icons and charts

Canva has lots of different shapes that can be used in designs: squares, circles, triangles and stars etc. It also provides a vast array of lines, icons and charts that you can use as the start for your design.

This might seem a little overwhelming to start off with, so I would suggest just pick one shape and work with that for a while and then try a different one.

In the paid option there are also elements such as nature, people, food, business and so on. If you can’t find something there to suit your needs I would be very surprised.


As well as layouts, Canva also provides patterned backgrounds for your designs. You can change the ‘colourway’ (ie the colour) of these designs easily, again providing you with a way of keeping your material consistent and ‘on brand’.

Animated Social Media

In the new, upgraded Canva, you’re now able to created animated social media posts. As with the pre supplied fonts and layouts, Canva also provides pre-existing animated templates for you to use.

In the free option, you are able to change background colours, element colours, fonts, image effects and so on.

Images can have filter effects such as a retro feel or high contrast.

Colours come with suggested possible colour combinations or ‘colourways’.

You can also connect to different animated elements and change those, such as TV flashing background effects, or a glitch effect.

In the paid option you’re able to create transparent backgrounds to images.


Canva also now provides the ability to add music to your animated graphics. It provides some tracks for free.


As well as music, Canva also now provides stock video clips that you can use in your social media posts. You can also add your own clips.


Previously, you could add images from your desktop and Facebook. Now Canva enables you to add images and other media from a wide range of sources, including Pixabay, Pexels, Instagram, YouTube and others.

Examples of what you can make in Canva

Canva training

To help you get to grips with Canva, I have 2 offers available.

1) Offer 1

1:1 90 Minute training session for £99.

During the session I guide you through all the tools, how to use them effectively, including advice on design principles and techniques to add that extra zing to your designs.

At the end of the session you will be able to create

· A static social media post

2) Offer 2

3 x1:1 90 Minute training session for £249.

In the sessions I take you further into creating your own designs, taking you through the tools, including design principles. I help you create a leaflet or poster for print, explaining things like bleed, crop marks and creating a print ready pdf.

At the end of the 3 sessions, you will be able to create:

· A static social media post

· A print ready leaflet

· An animated or video social media post

To learn more about the design process check out my blog post 13 key steps in the design process here.

To book your Canva training sessions, or to discuss your design projects, call me on 0775 341 3005 or email info@iconiccreative.co.uk

@ Nicola Gaughan, Iconic Creative Consultants 2020


Ealing, West London

©2019 Ealing Business Buddies