A Newbie’s Canva Quickstart Guide – 10 Steps for Beginners

A Canva Quickstart Guide for Newbies

A Canva Quickstart Guide for Newbies

If you are not familiar with it already, you may be asking, “What is Canva?”

Canva is the superhero of design tools! It’s like having a magic wand for creating stunning visuals for any occasion. From spiffy social media posts to dazzling presentations, posters, flyers, websites, vides and even business cards – Canva’s got your back. With Canva, you’ll be a design wizard in no time! Abracadabra, let’s get designing!

Step 1: Sign Up to Canva – it’s FREE!

Sign up to Canva for FREE at canva.com

Canva’s website (www.canva.com) and sign up for a free account using your email address or social media profile. Creating an account will give you access to Canva’s features and templates.

If you want to be bold, right out of the gate, using my special Expert’s affiliate link*, you could even sign up for a FREE Canva Pro Trial – it’s totally your call.

Step 2 – Set Up Your Brand Kit

First port of call once signed up is setting up your Brand Kit, now called “Hub”. This is your secret weapon for maintaining brand consistency and saving the day! If you are on the FREE version of Canva you can save your main three brand colours. But the real magic lies in Canva Pro! With Pro, you can store all your brand assets (logos, palettes, photos, graphics, fonts and icons) in one place.

Also it allows you to create on-brand templates, and collaborate with your team like never before. No more brand bloopers, just powerful brand management that’s super easy and super fun with Canva’s Brand Hub. Whether you’re on FREE or Canva Pro – get started here.

Step 3 – Explore Canva Templates

Explore Canva Templates - many routes to get to the same destination

Once you’re logged in, you’ll be taken to the Canva dashboard. I always start off every Canva training session saying:

“With Canva there are many routes to get to the same destination it just depends on how your brain is wired”.

To keep it simple, why not just start by clicking ‘Templates‘ at the left side of your Canva desktop app (pc or mac) or your chosen web browser.

Now go spend a wee bit of time browsing through the wide range of templates available for various design types, such as social media posts, presentations, websites, business documents, posters or whatever you fancy more.

As a newbie it’s good to start from ready-made templates but for the more adventurous among you, you can start with a blank canvas too!

Step 4: Choosing Design Types
Creating Custom Size doc types in Canva.

Select the type of design you want to create, such as a social media post or a presentation slide. Canva provides you with pre-sized templates optimised for that purpose, saving you the hassle of manually setting up the correct dimensions. But you can always choose to set up any custom dimensions by selecting one of the options from the top right.

Step 5: Add Media or Elements

With Canva, the design world is your oyster! Choose from a treasure trove of free and paid elements like images, icons, shapes, videos and audio tracks too. Plus, if you’re rocking the Pro version, you get the keys to Canva’s entire media kingdom!

But wait, there’s more! You can also upload your own photos, logos, graphics, videos, and audio tracks – whether you’re on the FREE or Pro version. Unleash your creativity and make your designs pop with Canva! ???

Step 6: Upload Your Own Media

Uploading your own media to Canva.
If you have your own images that you want to use in your design, you can easily upload them to Canva and add them to your project. This allows you to personalise your design and make it truly unique. You can drag and drop straight from your computer to the document. Or you can upload them from the left hand side of your dashboard.

NOTE: You can even import files from your Google Drive, Dropbox, Instagram, Google Photos too! By the way, this also includes PowerPoints, PhotoShop, PDFs and Word Docs too. (A lot of people don’t realise that.)

Step 7: Choosing Your Fonts

Canva has thousands of fonts allow you to experiment with different styles. Take the time to experiment with different fonts to find the one that complements your design and conveys your intended message effectively. If you have a business/brand, then you’ll want to keep to the same two or three font families across everything you (offline and on) do for consistency and to be more professional.

Step 8: Photo Editing

Canva's Photo Editing suite has regular and AI features to help you.Canva has various features, such as photo filters, image cropping, transparency, and alignment tools, that can help you polish your design and make it visually appealing. Take advantage of these features to fine-tune your design and make it look professional.

FYI, I mentioned some pretty awesome magical tools in my previous blog – which highlights some fun Canva Pro AI tools like Magic Edit, Magic Eraser and Magic Design too.

Step 9: Collaborate With Others

Canva makes it so easy to collaborate with team members, family, and friends in real time or any time. You can share your design with others, invite them to edit or leave comments, and receive feedback. This makes Canva a great tool for collaborative projects, team work or on anything at all.

Step 10: Exporting, Sharing & Saving Designs

Once you’re satisfied with your design, you have many options of what you can do next.

You can:

  • download it in various formats, such as JPEG, PNG, PDF, GIF or Movie (and if you have Cana Pro you can export as an SVG file too!) Plus you can export as a PowerPoint too!
  • share directly to social media channels like FB, Instagram, Linkedin et al (and if you have Canva Pro you can even schedule your posts to go out over the next year if you’re so organised!)
  • publish as a website
  • share it as a view only link or one to collaborate
  • print your design with Canva Print (business cards, flyers, shirts, mugs and more!)

In Summary

Hope you found this useful. If you have any questions feel free to leave me a comment or why not explore Canva’s extensive help centre and tutorials to learn more about its features and functionalities. Happy designing!

About Thea

I’m Thea, Scotland’s first Canva trainer and a Verified Expert with a decade of Canva experience. I’m passionate about empowering businesses and individuals to tap into the magic of Canva and unveil their inner creative rockstar. I deliver workshops, webinars and 1:1s worldwide as well as done with/done for you projects too. Learn more about how I can help here.

Are you ready to try Canva Pro for FREE?Why not check out some of my Canva tutorials on Youtube.

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