August 8


How to use canva for beginners

By Kehinde Lawal

August 8, 2020

canva, canva for beginners, how to

Canva is a free graphic design tool that helps you create a visual voice for your business.


In this article, you will be shown how to create an abundance of quality images quickly, easily, and affordable.


Canva welcome page


Signing up to Canva is easy. You can choose the traditional sign-up route by entering your email address and choosing a password.

Or, you can use one of your social media accounts to make it that bit quicker. Simply connect your business’s Facebook or Google+ account and you’re ready to go.

You will be given options as to what you will be using your account for.

You will be given a personal account by default which is no different to any of the others with regards to the features you receive.


There is an option to pay for upgradable features but we would advise testing out the free version before committing to anything you don’t need. 


Once you finish signing up, canva will launch a demo highlighting some important information for you as a new user. A good place to start is editing your profile. You can edit this to show your name, username, website, and location. Just enter the details.

Should you decide to publicise your designs, this information will come in useful. This can be beneficial if you are in the graphic design space and you want to show off what you can do.


That way, only the designs you choose to make public go public, the rest are private and for your use only.


Canva has an enormous amount of layouts, all with specific dimensions to suit the requirements of whatever platform you need your image for.  They include Social Media Posts, Documents, Blogging, eBooks, Infographics, Marketing Materials, Events, and Ads.

Types of canva posts


And, if the set dimensions in those layouts do not match the size you want you also have the option to use custom dimensions. The option for this is located in the top right hand corner of your screen, see below.

canva custom dimensions


This way, you don’t have to start from scratch. Canva has a wide selection of templates available that you can use for all of your businesses’ design needs. When you get more comfortable create your own designs, upload your own images etc.


Since Facebook is generally the most common platform, we’ll start with a Facebook post. When you open Canva, just select Facebook Post at the top of your screen. Once that’s selected a blank workspace will appear in the centre of your screen.


canva blank canvas


To the left you will see some sample layouts. We chose a “Yard Sale” one, clicked and it immediately populated the blank space.



Now you can stop there if you wish and download the image and post it immediately to your Facebook page. Alternatively, you can do a little editing.

Remember every element of this is completely customisable. If the first thing you would like to do is change the feature image, simply click on it and select the trash button on the top right of the screen.


You’ll have the choice of using stock images or uploading your own. Just go to the upload section and upload your photo. Then use the drag and drop feature to insert your chosen picture. All of the other elements can be moved resized and have their colours changed by simply clicking on them.

Should you want to add new elements such as text or graphics, just select the elements tab on your sidebar and take your pick!

Simply save and download your masterpiece and you are ready to post. Bear in mind that these steps are applicable to all chosen templates.


This is one of the reasons we love Canva. It’s sorted out all the sizing options up front. Remember, the sizes of your designs are vital. Different platforms require different dimensions. A header designed for Youtube may not work for Facebook as the profile photo may cut off vital text so make sure to resize where necessary.

Here are the different dimensions for the various platforms to give you an idea.

  • Facebook Cover Photo: 851 x 315
  • Twitter Header: 1500 x 500
  • Youtube Channel Art: 2560 x 1440


canva gridsThe templates are completely customisable. You can upload your own photos to customise the various elements like background images, fonts and colours. Any additional elements that are not featured in your chosen template can also be added.

Of course, you don’t  need to use a template. As convenient as they are you can start from scratch. Simply select your dimensions and insert a grid by selecting them in the “elements” section on your sidebar. Grids are a feature that allow you to divide up your design and insert various images.

Once your grid is in place you can now insert an image to play with.

canva stock imagesCanva has a huge amount of quality, free images to work with. The images are sorted into folders so they are easy to access and navigate. The folders are themed and are named after topics such as business and seasonal so you’ll always find something that fits..



If rooting through folders is something you do not want to do, Canva has a search tab which will allow you to search for specific images.

There is an enormous amount of free photos to choose from and another wide selection of very affordable photos for only $1.00. It’s very affordable. Now, your social media posts, marketing materials etc can always look great.


Once all the core work is done you can really begin to experiment with canva and use all of its features. Canva’s main features include:

  • Text Insertion
  • Colour Palette
  • Filtering
  • Transparency
  • Branding etc


Text overlay on your images is a great feature to be able to access. The text in your images can include information about your business or  a call to action. A call to action combined with a great visual will encourage people to share your post, resulting in exposure for your business. You can make your text stand out even more by using features like their text templates etc



Canva has a wide variety of colours for you to choose from. But, we would highly recommend choosing a select amount of colours and sticking with them. A carefully chosen colour pallete will, over time allow your customers to recognise your content across all forms of social media.  Someone who does this really well is Peg Fitzpatrick or Jeff Sieh with his Manly Pinterest Tips.


canva filterUSE FILTERS

Carefully chosen colours are a great way to group your photos together but, you can also do this using filters.

Canva has a variety of set filters which are all customisable.

Filters can change the visual and atmospheric elements of your photo.

We use the “drama” filter here at How Great Marketing Works.



One thing people often forget to do is to name their image appropriately. Name it something meaningful, include whether it’s for Facebook, Twitter or if it has a custom size. That way you’re never relying on your memory as to it’s usage requirement.

If you decide to use the image on a blog post, this will also help your SEO.


Canva for work is quite affordable at $12.95 per person per month and allows you to have access to more features than you would have in the free, personal one. We use Canva for work ourselves and would highly recommend it.


With Canva for Work, your team can share access to templates, make designs of their own and / or edit yours. Team members can be added on different levels such as template designers, administrators and members.

CANVA TUTORIALCanva has an option for you to “Show Your Team”. A member of your work team can then use the remix option to add and detract whatever they see fit to the design, whilst the original is still intact.

When you and your team are finished, click the download button on the top right of your screen and choose a format for your image. Your canva images will always be saved to your profile so you have options to go back and edit them.


With Canva for Work, you have the Magic Resize Option for each image you create. That means if you need to create the same core image across platforms, just click the magic resize function and you can output the same image with multiple dimensions. It’s a fantastic time-saver.

canva exampleSTAY ON BRAND

One of Canva for works main features allows you to centralize brand colours, logos and fonts. You can then create branded templates that ensure consistency across all platforms

Adding your business’s brand to the images you produce with Canva is quick and easy. All you have to do is upload it, drag and drop it onto your design. Branding your content is a way to steadily gain exposure for your business over time and gain trust from your followers.



Like most things in life the more you work with Canva the better at it you will get. Play around with all its features and get designing. Over time you will see your designs gradually improve and you will produce content at a faster pace.


Kehinde Lawal

About the author

I'm a young Nigerian passionate about technology.

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