Canva is a free online tool for creating beautiful designs and professional graphics. Preparing social media images with Canva is made easier with its clean, easy-to-use interface. The tool comes with free images, fonts, graphics, and templates, allowing Digital Marketers to design images for use on social media platforms and websites quickly.

Features of Canva

Key Features

  • One-click registration with an existing Facebook or Google+ account
  • Clean, easy-to-use interface
  • Recommended sizes for different social accounts
  • Custom-sizes for any design document
  • Comes with templates to create designs
  • Free images, fonts, graphics
  • Ability to upload Images and Logos
  • Download in .jpg, .png, .pdf
  • Automatically share on Facebook and Twitter
  • Share link
  • Embeddable on websites
  • Work with a team of 10 members
  • FREE!

Pricing

The tool is free for individual use and allows for a team of up to 10 to collaborate with its limited functionality. This allows a small marketing team to access pre-set social media templates to make sure image grid remains consistent.

Alternatively, the full feature, Canva for Work, costs $12.95 per user per month. This version allows a team to upload and share assets and colour palettes onto the platform.

Extended Canva for Work Features

  • Full functionality of Brand Kit
  • Custom fonts upload
  • Unlimited team members (pay per user)
  • Unlimited design folders
  • Photo folders for images
  • Magic resize

Preparing Social Media Images with Canva

Step 1–Create a Design

Digital Marketing and WordPress Tutorials - Free Digital Marketing Tools - Canva Dashboard Create a Design - Leow Hou Teng

Preset Design Templates on Canva

Create a design on Canva with the help of preset sizes – from popular design types to social media posts, documents, eBooks, marketing materials, event invites, and advertisements. This helpful setting allows users to set up the right document size for their designs quickly, saving the hassle of checking the sizes for use on different social media platforms.

Continue Reading
Besides the preset sizes, users can create custom-sizes for different design documents. Hopefully, Canva will add a feature for users to define their custom sizes for future use.

Step 2–Select a Layout

Digital Marketing and WordPress Tutorials - Free Digital Marketing Tools - Canva Preset Layouts - Leow Hou Teng

Preset Layouts on Canva

For preset sizes, Canva comes with almost an unlimited set of layouts to choose from. This is the single most useful feature on Canva as it allows non-designers to easily design professional-looking social media images.

Digital Marketing and WordPress Tutorials - Free Digital Marketing Tools - Canva Preset Layouts for Custom Sizes - Leow Hou Teng

Basic Layouts for Custom Size Designs on Canva

For custom-sizes, the layouts provided are organised in columns and rows.

Step 3–Add Images, Texts, Design Elements

Once a layout/design is selected, a user using a preset size can change the images and text without having to pair the right fonts/sizes or design elements.

For custom-size documents, users can select from pre-designed text templates, backgrounds, and graphic elements to create their designs. On the homepage, users can access thousands of design inspiration to help them with their design.

Other design elements such as a logo may be uploaded and added to the document.

For designs that require more pages, users can add additional pages in the document itself. This function allows them to create eBooks and organize related campaign materials together.

Step 4–Export Images

When the image is completed, export the file in .png, .jpg, or .pdf. Upload these files to the corresponding websites or social media platforms

Step 5–Share the Design

Instead of downloading the document, users may share the design directly through an email invitation, on social media, as a link, or embedded on a website.

Additional Step–For Paid Customers Only

Canva for Work customers have the option to resize the document with the ‘Magic Resize’ tool. This tool is useful for resizing artwork for different platforms or websites. It can also be used for preparing images for desktop and mobile use.

Alternative Usage for Canva

#1 Resize Images

Other than preparing social images with Canva, use it to resize and crop images that are required for search optimisation. Since images should be displayed at the exact dimensions on a website, resizing, and cropping images is an important step to ensure optimal page speed performance.

#2 Ensuring Grid Consistency

Although Canva does not have an option to create templates for non-paying customers, a simple hack can allow different users to access grid templates.

Digital Marketing and WordPress Tutorials - Free Digital Marketing Tools - Creating Blank Templates Folder on Canva - Leow Hou Teng

Create Blank Templates with Brand Grids on Canva

Digital Marketing and WordPress Tutorials - Free Digital Marketing Tools - Duplicating Templates on Canva - Leow Hou Teng

Using a Design as a Template on Canva

  1. Create a document with the correct dimensions
  2. Add Logos and Grid
  3. Add a text template and label the document
  4. Add the dimensions in the text box
  5. Add a note to remind teammates to duplicate the files
  6. Create a folder ‘Blank Templates’
  7. Add the file into the folder
  8. Repeat the steps above for other commonly used dimensions
  9. Whenever a specific file is needed, duplicate the file by clicking on ‘Use as Template’.

#3 Ensuring Brand Assets Consistency

The free version of Canva has limited functionality in this area. Users can share 3 brand colours with their team. For the paid Canva for Work, teams can upload brand logos, fonts, and specify common type sizes for headings, and texts.

However, since the $12.95 per user per month price tag is rather expensive, I personally will not recommend paying just to get this function.

#4 Team Collaboration

Since Canva allows users to work in teams, designs may be shared across the team. Team members can add a comment on projects that are shared, avoiding the hassle of communicating with other tools.

Digital Marketing and WordPress Tutorials - Free Digital Marketing Tools - Canva Team Collaboration - Leow Hou Teng

Creating Teams on Canva

However, as a productivity or team management software, Canva has limited capabilities in this area. It will be great if Canva adds additional features in the paid version subsequently, such as adding a social media calendar to organise designs according to publishing dates.

Conclusion

As a free tool, Canva is a useful tool especially for non-designers to prepare social media images with Canva. This prevents the need of purchasing expensive professional design software such as Adobe Creative Cloud that may have limited use for non-designers digital marketers.

As a paid service, Canva may lack unique features to entice users to pay for it. Additional features such as an inbuilt social media calendar may subsequently attract users to pay for such a service.

READ  15 Free Google Tools for Content Marketing
Hou Teng

Hou Teng

Art Director, Digital Marketing Strategist at LeowHouTeng.com
Hou Teng is a Singaporean graphic designer, specialising in both print and web. After graduating from Nanyang Technological University, School of Art, Design & Media, he has worked in advertising and launched an education startup as a side project. He has also worked briefly in a renovation start-up in Shen Zhen, China. While his strengths are in branding and layout design, he is also skilled in digital imaging, web design (HTML & CSS), WordPress content management and administration, search engine optimisation, and digital marketing.
Hou Teng