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Canva Nuts & Bolts: Graphic Design Made Easy

Know Your Way Around Canva

Figuring out how to create graphic designs for various purposes using an online tool such as Canva can be challenging for firs time users. This article takes you one step ahead by familiarizing how the design environment works. Think of it as a blank canvas where you have all items available to create stunning design concepts, put it together and share it with the rest of the world!

Important Design Interfaces to Remember

Your Canva Gallery

The first page you see after logging in is your own gallery. The gallery is divided into two sections; the upper and lower sections.

The upper section contains blank canvas templates intended for specific designs such as for: Pinterest, social media, presentation (slides), poster, Facebook cover, blog graphics, Kindle cover, Twitter header, Document (A4), card, photo collage, business card, invitation, Facebook ad, Facebook post, and Facebook app. Your canvas can also be customized to your desired dimensions in pixels, millimeters, or inches.

Your gallery is set to show your creations as the default setting. Other tabs on the gallery include Editor’s Pics similar to featured designs by other users; and Design Tutorials created by Canva intended to teach graphic design basics using Canva.

The lower section contains your finished designs. You can edit them anytime or delete them from the gallery by putting your mouse pointer over it. You can also invite friends to experience this wonderful online tool by supplying their email address on the Give Instant Access box.

Design Interface

The design interface provides two separate areas; design tabs and the assembly area.

The assembly area is where you put everything together. Navigation buttons are available together with a blank canvas. Navigation buttons allow you to go back to your main gallery, download your design, undo, or share your work using social media buttons (Twitter/ Facebook). You can also put a name for your design by clicking on Untitled design. By the way, your canvas is not limited to one page; you can add multiple pages and copy specific designs from it too. Simply click on Add a new page or copy this page respectively.

The design tabs contain search, layouts, text, back ground, uploads, and zoom buttons.

Search tab lets you search for images you require. Free and paid images are available on Canva. Paid images are $1 each. Another thing you can do to search for images on Canva is to click on the Search tab, this pulls up all images arranged according to categories such as: lines, banners, I love Canva, grids, text holders, speech bubbles, shapes, frames, icons, stickers, arrows, infographics, web wireframe, technology, buttons, dress ups, food, animals, hand drawn, and travel.

Layout tab gives specific arrangement, similar to containers, for your images. It is perfect to use in making a collage for your design, particularly for food menus, hotel amenities, product range, etc. It basically showcases whatever you have that you wish to show.

Text tab offers two varieties of text that you can add on your canvas. The first is text fonts, where you can specify up to 3 default text fonts you often use; simply click on Change defaults. The other is text holders where it allows you to insert text on pre designed graphic images similar to banners.

Background tab shows different varieties from one color to image backgrounds. Image backgrounds cost $1 to use on your designs while simple backgrounds are free to use. If none of these images suit your needs, you can always upload your own images.

Uploads tab is where you see all your uploaded images on Canva. Either you upload images from your desktop or download images from your Facebook collection. In case you need to work on certain details, simply click on the zoom buttons at the bottom of the page.

Once an image is selected all you have to do is double click or drag it on to your black canvas to apply it. Different images have different properties which you can modify by right-clicking. In another tutorial I am going to show advanced techniques you can apply on your work based on easy to remember graphic design principles.

Canva automatically saves your work, so once done, you can download it by clicking on Link & Publish. Your designs can be downloaded as .png, or .pdf. It also allows you to include all pages you made as well as an option to see crop marks. Once you select either .jpg or .pdf there is no need to click download image, simply choose which format to download and it is done. If you do not want to keep copies of your work on your hard drive simply copy the link provided to access your work on Canva. You can set an option to allow everyone who has access to this link to edit it. This is great for collaborative projects!

With this article I hope you get acquainted with Canva, and there is no other way to do it than by starting to make your design now!

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