How to Use Canva to Make Your own Design

Are you in need of some design help but don’t want to spend the money to hire a professional? Or maybe you’re a small business owner who wants to DIY some of your own marketing materials. Canva is a great online design tool that’s perfect for beginners. Its intuitive, user-friendly interface allows you to express your passion for art and design without having to invest any time in studying or learning. In this blog post, we’ll show you how to use Canva to create beautiful designs for your blog, social media, and more. let’s dive in. It saves you time and streamlines the creative process.

What is Canva?

Canva is a design and publishing platform. It allows you to create designs for your social media, Blog, website, and more. Canva was founded in 2012 by Melanie Perkins, Cliff Obrecht, and Cameron Adams. It was originally designed for non-designers to be able to create their own designs without having to hire a designer.

Canva started out by offering a photo editor and designing images for your blog and social media platforms. The product has evolved into an all-in-one tool that can help you create all kinds of different content types like presentations, infographics, posters, documents, social media posts, flyers, and more.

Canva is free to use with the option of purchasing premium elements in the app. Canva has a large library of photos and graphics that are completely free to use

If you’re a student, lucky you because Canva offers a free Pro account to all students who can provide proof of enrollment at their school. This opens up all the features of the Pro account.

How to use Canva for Beginners – Step-by-Step Guide

  • Go to the homepage and choose a template that suits your needs. The templates are organized into groups such as Blogs, Facebook Posts, Instagram posts, Logos, Banners, etc.
  • Once you find something that fits your idea for a design, click on it to open it in the editor window.
  • When you are ready to create something from scratch go to the top menu and click Create a Design button then select the Blank Canva option from the drop-down list.
  • Click on the background icon on the left side of your screen: choose any color or upload an image or a patterned background if necessary (you can also change those later). You’re all set to start creating!

I have been using Canva since the beginning of 2022 and I love how easy it is to navigate around the app. If you are new to Canva or maybe you’re thinking about using it but aren’t sure how then this post is for you. I know that when I first started using it, I was overwhelmed with all the different elements inside the app so I hope this post will help you get more familiar with the canva app.

homepage canva explore tab "birthday cake" results

We’ve got a variety of templates you can use to make your design with canva, or you can start from scratch. If you’re not sure where to begin, try the explore tab! In the search bar up top, type in what kind of design you want to make and Canva will come back with some templates that might be useful. So if you want to make a birthday card, type “birthday cards” into the search box and hit enter on your keyboard.

You can browse through all of the results, or scroll down for more specific categories. When you find one that looks like it could be helpful, click on it and either edit it to suit your needs (if it isn’t quite right) or print/download/share it!

Creating Something from Scratch with Canva

  • Click “create a design” at the top left
  • Choose a template size – something like a Facebook post is probably most relevant for me but there are others as well
  • Canva will open up with an 18k gold-colored background – change this by clicking on it once (or if this is how your template starts out, just move along)
  • Drag over any elements you want – text boxes, images, shapes… add more than one element by holding shift while selecting them

You can use Canva on a desktop or mobile.

Canva is available on desktop and mobile! If you have an Apple or Android device, you can download the Canva App from the App Store or Google Play Store.

Both versions are free to use, but you will need to create an account to save your designs and access more features as well as stock images and photos.

Open up Canva in your web browser on a desktop computer or launch the app on mobile (you can also log in via mobile by tapping Sign in > Log in with email).

Using Canva Templates to Make Your Own Design

  • There are premium elements you can buy for your designs, but most of the content is free.
  • You can use Canva to make free graphics and designs by finding free elements in the search bar or by using a filter. The free elements will have no crown
Free elements guide for canva
  • There are also premium elements you can purchase for a small fee, like this one:
Premium element guides for canva
  • You can adjust image opacity and transparency.

Add text to an image – You may want to add text to an image for a number of reasons, such as writing a quote on top of a photograph.

Watermark your images – If you are using an image from Canva’s library, you can make it unique by adding your own watermark.

Make distracting backgrounds less distracting – If you want the viewer to focus on the image and not what is in the background, you can use opacity to make objects in the background less obvious.

Fade out or blend colors – Let’s say that you have two colors next to each other but they don’t match perfectly and it looks bad. You can use transparency or opacity to fade out one color into another so they look better together.

Make something completely transparent – Sometimes you want something that is completely transparent so it blends with its surroundings or appears invisible. This is easy with Canva as well because 100% opacity makes something appear invisible!

 Add your Own Images, Logos, and Illustrations

You can upload your own images, logos, and illustrations to Canva, in addition to the ones provided by the company. You can also use your own fonts. You can easily manage your team’s brand colors by adding and saving new colors to Canva, or you can pull them from an existing hex code. This is a great feature for those who have branding guidelines that they need to stick to.

Export your Graphics as PNGs, JPGs, PDFs, and GIFs.

Once you’re done, you can download your design as a PNG, JPG, PDF, and GIF.

JPGs and PNGs are great for social media graphics and website images such as blog post banners.

PDFs are great for print materials like flyers, posters, and booklets. You can also upload them to a site like Slideshare for presentations. GIFs work well if you want to animate your image or if you want to instantly create a meme that looks professional and eye-catching.

Make your Own Presentation Slides with Canva

Hey, have you ever wanted to make your own animated graphic for an Instagram post or story? Yes, of course, you have. Good news: It’s super easy to do in Canva. All you need is a Pro account and the right type of design. You can create either a GIF or a short video that plays on a loop.

First, let’s look at how to make a GIF. Go to “More” on the homepage and choose “Animations.” From there, it’s just like making any other design in Canva—choose the right dimensions and start adding graphics and text boxes until your piece is complete. All that’s left is to publish it when you’re happy with how it looks!

And yes, if you don’t want to use a GIF, there’s another way! You can make a video instead! Pick from their video templates or upload your own template from elsewhere online (just be sure it doesn’t violate any copyright laws). Add moving vectors or gifs, static images, and text boxes until your masterpiece is complete then hit publish for the world to see (or just maybe yourself)!

If you’re a Canva Pro user, you can create as many folders as you’d like to organize your projects within the app itself and collaborate with team members on designs more easily. Simply click “Create a folder” and give it a name. You can then drag your projects in and out of folders at will.

Canva Pro 30 Days Free Trial: Take your design to the next level


Now you know: you have an amazing tool for designing things for free at your fingertips. Here’s a recap of what we covered in this Canva tutorial:

  • Creating a Canva account
  • Navigating the Canva toolbar
  • Using elements and grids in your design
  • Uploading photos and changing the background color or image of the canvas
  • Saving your design to access it later or share it with others.

So what are you waiting for? Go create!

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I'm an ambitious digital marketer, blogger, and active life Longtime Learner with an insatiable curiosity for new things.

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