If you’re only starting on your journey as a graphic designer, you can try simpler design software to learn the basics. Canva, a free and web-based designing software, is one of the best starting platforms for this.
With proper skills and practice, even simple Canva templates can look professional with practice.
Canva contains lots of features to choose from, from fonts to color palettes, to templates that could help you jump-start an otherwise higher learning curve.
Use their built-in “Learn” feature.
The best way to learn more about Canva is to read about it from the website itself. Canva provides how-to’s for their user interface and features that may look overwhelming for first-time users.
To access this, go to their homepage, then on the upper left corner, you’ll see the “Learn” drop-down tab. Hover your cursor on it to see the contents ranging from tutorials, courses, and blogs.
Use their templates if you’re only starting.
What makes Canva very beginner-friendly is its inclusion of customizable templates. Pre-made templates that already contain elements are also already present if you are looking for a quick design for a homework or flash announcement.
However, if you want your templated design to look more unique, you should try changing some elements, tweaking its fonts, and changing their sizes. Recolors are also nice, provided that you use complementary colors.
To find the template that you’re looking for, click on the search bar from the home page, and choose from the drop-down list of templates.
If you’re looking for a specific design template, you can search it directly in the search bar with the appropriate keywords such as “Christmas cards” or “Trick-Or-Treat Invitation.”
Group your elements.
For easier resizing and rearranging of your elements, you should consider grouping them and locking them.
You do this by clicking and dragging your mouse to include the elements you want to be grouped and then clicking the “group” button in the upper right corner.
Alternatively, you can also hold Shift while dragging your mouse across your chosen elements. You can also lock your grouped elements to turn them into one element, making the otherwise cluttered outlines much more manageable.
Use videos, GIFs, and animations.
Using moving pictures can spice up your design a bit. In fact, according to Aleksej Đurđević of Digital Doughnut, around 5 million GIFs were exchanged in Messenger daily in 2015.
This means that GIFs and other variants of moving pictures convey a message better than using static pictures alone.
Canva animator can be accessed by going to “Download,” selecting “Animated GIF/Movie” in the dropdown menu and choosing the animation style that you want to download.
Unfortunately, this feature is only available in the Pro version, which costs about six dollars a month.
Use Canva’s brand kit.
Brand kits are your general design guidelines that ensure the uniformity of your elements even if another person makes it.
They are especially useful when starting a company since an easily remembered design element is crucial to your brand marketing.
Canva helps you maintain your visual identity through its brand kit creation feature. You can easily access this on the home page, in the lower right corner, along with other “Tools”.
The intuitive user interface makes it so that it is highly customizable. You can choose up to three colors for your brand, which can be accurately pinpointed using their corresponding hex codes.
Logos can also be uploaded directly along with the typography of your choice. With Canva Pro, you can also upload your fonts.
Since brand kits are also sent to your partner merchants or companies when collaborating, it is also important to tell them your story.
This is also made possible with Canva’s dedicated page for this purpose.
Collaborate with your friends and teammates.
Canva also makes your designs shareable among your friends for easier brainstorming. Working on joint design projects is now easier compared to sharing flash drives like before.
Comments can also be placed as you work to make suggested edits and task assignments clearer.
Who knows, maybe the design upgrade that you needed only lacked a fresh set of eyes.
Consider upgrading to Canva Pro.
Don’t get us wrong, Canva Free already has a lot of functionalities to offer. However, if you really want to get the most out of Canva, you should try opting for their monthly or yearly subscription.
Upgrading to Canva Pro enables you to access the Magic Resize, Background Remover, fully customizable templates, logo and font uploads, create up to 100 brand kits, and have 100 gigabytes of storage with an unlimited number of folders and 24/7 support.
You should also check if your academic email has access to the Canva for Education account, which makes all Canva Pro features accessible for free.
Starting as a designer can be a daunting step. However, now that you’re more acquainted with Canva, you can now fully utilize its functions well, making your designs look more and more professional with each project accomplished.