Updated January 2021

When I first started using Pinterest for my business I was a novice with regards to pin design. I had never used a design program before and had never heard of Canva. I wasn’t particularly creative and everywhere I looked on Pinterest, instagram etc I saw beautiful designs! 

I soon discovered they were all made with Canva! So I set out to discover the program myself and I can honestly say that creating pins is now one of my favourite parts of my job as a Pinterest Strategist.

Canva is not difficult to use and with a few simple steps I can help you on your way. Have a read and tell me if you think I am right. 

Canva

Canva is a graphic design platform that allows users to create social media graphics, posters, presentation and other visual content. Users can use pre-made templates or create their own. The basic package is free to use, which when you are just starting out is more than sufficient, or you can upgrade to Canva Pro and/or Canva for Enterprise. 

Free version

The free version of Canva offers you:

  • 8000+ free templates
  • 100+ design types (social media, presentations, posters, letters etc)
  • Hundreds of thousands of free photos and graphics

Canva Pro

The next step up for SMEs is Canva Pro. 

Canva Pro, which costs £8.99 per month if you pay yearly, offers you:

  • Everything the free plan offers
  • You can create your brand’s visual identity with logos, colours and fonts (1 brand kit)
  • One-click design resize
  • 60,000+ free templates
  • 60+ million premium stock images, photos, videos and graphics
  • Possibility to upload your own fonts and logos
  • Custom templates

Creating an account and setting up your brand kit

This tutorial is really for the beginner so if you are already using Canva for a while and are looking for an answer to a specific query then you can stop reading (I don’t want to waste your time!).

Create an account

First things first, you need to sign up and create an account! It is not difficult to do. Click ‘Sign up’ in the top right hand corner.

Signing up for an account on Canva.

Once you have created an account. Your main dashboard will look like this:

Canva dashboard overview.

On the left hand side you can see your menu. You can see everything you have created in the ‘All your designs’ folder. You can also make specific folders in which you can keep your designs. 

Brand Kit

The third option from the top is Brand Kit. One of the advantages of Canva Pro is that you can create your own brand kit. This means you can set your logo, brand colours and fonts. I would take a little time to set this up as it will save you time in the future. Mine looks like this.

The design process

So you have set up your Canva account and you have created your brand kit, it is now time to start designing. I will try and cover as much as possible to give you a basic understanding of what is possible with Canva.

Creating a template

The first step is to create a template. On the right hand side click ‘Create a design’. This will give you the following screen.

Setting up a template with specific dimensions.

You can now choose from a couple of different options. For pin templates it is best to choose ‘Custom dimensions’ and put 600×900 or 1000x1500px.

Dimensions for a Pinterest template on Canva.

Once you have chosen your template you can find the design options on the left hand side. Here you can change anything from the photo you want to use, colours, fonts, any overlays etc etc. 

Obviously you can choose a template, however I would urge you not to and to let your own creativity flow. 

Choosing your photo

Photos can be chosen from Canva itself or you can use a good stock photo website, it is up to you. Click ‘Photos’ and put in a search. Canva will show you the different options.

Simply click on a photo and it will pop into your template. You can then drop, rotate, blow up and crop to use the part of the photo you want to use.

Alternatively, if you don’t like any of the photos in Canva, you can upload your own photo, which is the 2nd option from the top. You will need to have the photo uploaded to your computer first. 

So, you now should have something like this:

How to insert a photo into your template.

Elements

The next step is to add elements to your pin template. There are elements galore on Canva! Anything from shapes, frames, charts, stickers, gradients, you name it and Canva has it. You will have to have a good look around as there, seriously, is a lot to play with. 

Menu bars

When working in Canva you will see two menu bars at the top, these are the menus that provide you with options to change the elements you have chosen for your template. All of the options under 1 and 2 will have a direct impact on the photo I have chosen. 

Especially ‘Position’ is important. As you will understand Canva works with layers of photos, texts and elements and you want some on top of others. This little button will help you do this. Simple select the part of your design you need to ‘move’, select ‘Position’ and select where you want it (in front of another element or behind). 

Menu to make alterations

Adding text, colour and logo

This is where the fun begins. When you choose ‘Text’ on the left hand side, Canva gives you options to choose from several types of headings. Mine have been generated with my brand fonts because, remember, I set up my Brand Kit. 

When choosing one of the headers Canva will pop it into your template, you can then change the text, resize, change colour and position it where you want. 

How to insert a title into your template on Canva.

You can also change the background colour of your template and different elements in your template. Simple select the part you want to change and select the colour palette in the top menu. 

If you want to add your logo to your design, which I would recommend as well as your website, then you need to download it first into Canva. You can then find it in your ‘Upload’ folder. 

It is key you play around with all the different design elements and before you know it you will be a Canva Pro!

Your end result should look something like this:

End result.

Download

The very last step is to download your design. To do this go to the top right corner and click ‘download’. You will be able to download using different extensions. For images PNG is best!

How to download your template in Canva.

And that is it, you have just created your first Canva design!

I hope above was helpful. Good luck designing your own templates and let me know how you get on! 

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