Our Top 10 Canva Tips for Marketers and Small Business Owners

Create beautifully branded marketing materials for your business using Canva!

In case you missed it, our Canva and Cocktails event in July was a smash hit! Over 30 attendees followed along with YellowDog’s president Jenny Mulligan (a.k.a the Canva Queen) to create a branded print asset in Canva. Everyone’s greeting card turned out great!

During the event, we shared our Top 10 Canva Tips, which we wove into the workshop for participants to learn by doing. Here they are, for those who want to keep them on hand!
We’re always here for marketers and anyone who dabbles in design to help you level up your Canva game.

Jenny Mulligan leads a class on Canva.

Create a customized Brand Kit

The first step in creating a cohesive set of branded marketing materials is to create your brand kit. You’ll need your logo, official color palettes, and brand fonts to build a basic brand kit. Go for expertly designed extras like brand patterns and elements. The graphic design team at YellowDog can help!

Resize artwork and files for different uses

Canva’s resize tool takes the guesswork out of resizing designs and documents. The perfect dimensions for each platform are already pre-set in Canva’s templates. Or, take more control over sizing with YellowDog templates or choosing your own dimensions.

Hello card from the Canva & Cocktails event.

Create patterns in your brand colors to use as backgrounds

Look in Canva’s background patterns and textures for something you like. Then, change its colors if possible. If not, transform its colors into an on-brand two-tone design. Right-click it to detach it from the background, then select ‘Edit Image’ and use the Duotone effect. Control the highlights and shadows, then be sure to press ‘Apply’.

Use the “Background Remover” tool to create fun visuals

With one click you can instantly remove a photo’s background, without the need for tricky eraser tools or having to manually erase edges like in Photoshop. Now any image can be on-brand. Simply remove the background and place the image over your brand colors or patterns. Perfect for product photos, headshots, or creating transparent PNGs.

Grouping, layering, and aligning objects

If you have a group of objects – for example, a row of text and a graphic element beneath it – you can group them by selecting all of them and right-clicking. From there, it’s much easier to move, resize, and rotate the objects as a unit. Also play with moving the objects forward and backward, and recoloring them to match your brand. Canva allows you to have full control of the elements in your design. Whether you want to rotate, flip, place an object in front of another, or align it to the center of the page, you’re in complete control of how each object appears on the page as well as how they interact with each other.

Adding branded elements such as QR codes and brand logos

Adding a QR code on Canva will give a digital dimension to your business card, posters, and any visual content you design. Working on a collaboration? You can easily search for your partner’s brand logo using Canva’s handy Brandfetch plug-in.

Transparency example in Canva.

Use transparency creatively

Transparency allows you to “see-through” any particular element in your design. Transparency can also allow your design elements to interact in new and interesting ways. For example, let’s say you layered several transparent circles on top of each other, like a Venn diagram. The area where they intersect would create a completely different, more opaque shade—which, again, makes for a visually interesting design.

Create a custom signature for a personalized touch

Give your print item your own special touch by literally adding your handwritten signature. One way to do this is to sign a piece of paper with a thick pen, take a photo of that signature, import the photo into Canva, then use the Background Remover tool. From there, save the file as a transparent .png file and use it in your designs for a personalized touch.

Add bleed for print-ready files

Skip the pre-press fees and quickly add bleed to your design files yourself to make them print-ready. If you didn’t know, bleed helps to avoid having unsightly white gaps when you want your design to print to the edge of the paper. Canva makes it easy to add bleed with the click of a button and saves you money and your printer time on the file setup.

Unleash your creativity! Style shuffle, explore, and play

Once you have uploaded your brand logos, colors, fonts, and other assets to Canva, you can quickly and simply incorporate your branding into any design with the click of a button. The style tab allows you to click on your fonts for a quick font change or a quick click to change your branding colors. Shuffle through different variations to easily find the best combination!

Canva and Cocktails attendees show off their designs.

Thank you to all our attendees who made the event such a success. We hope you have fun creating even better assets in Canva. We’re here to print your posters, stickers, cards, booklets, brochures, or anything else you create. 

Canva and Cocktail Creations

Here is just a sample of the front-and-back greeting card designs our event attendees created. Want to join the fun? Keep an eye out for a reboot of this event in early 2023! 

Sample design from Canva and Cocktails.
Katie O'Dell

Katie O'Dell

Kelsey is the newest addition to YellowDog’s marketing team. When she’s not storytelling about YellowDog and our amazing local clients, you can find her on the ski lifts in the winter and taking in shows at Red Rocks in the summer.
Better business cards, designed and printed by YellowDog
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