6 Canva Tips to Improve Your DIY Marketing Visuals

You’ve heard the old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” This is especially true in the world of marketing – you may have an amazing product or business, but you’ll need to capture your audience’s eye for them to see what you have to offer.

Larger companies may choose to outsource their graphics work, but if you’re a small business, you may be taking on marketing visuals yourself. This can be daunting, especially if you don’t have a background in graphic design.

Fortunately, there are many graphic design programs that are both functional and user-friendly. One of Lightning Media Partners’ favorite programs for DIY marketing visuals is Canva, an online tool loaded with features to help you create engaging visuals with ease. Here are six Canva tips to help you work smarter, not harder, to create high-quality visuals for your business.

1. Use the text box shortcut.

Canva screenshot of user using the "t" keyboard shortcut.

You can always use the “Text” icon on the left-side toolbar to create a text box or select pre-designed text boxes. However, if you don’t want to navigate away from what you’re working on, you can simply type “T” and a text box will appear. This is a great shortcut if you’re creating multiple text boxes, or are adding multiple elements (e.g., a series of photos) and don’t want to go back and forth between screens.

2. Group Canva elements.

The user groups separate elements on the page to move them together.

To interact with two or more elements at the same time, you can group them together – just hold down the Shift key, click on each desired element and select “Group” on the top white toolbar (you can also press “Control/Command” + “G”). This is especially useful if you’ve aligned multiple elements to each other and want to move them in a different location on the page (without having to spend the time to re-align them!).

3. Experiment with Canva frames.

The user creates a photo frame to create a custom image.

Frames can be a great way to add interest and overall cohesion to an image. Canva has tons of frames available for use under “Elements” on the left-side toolbar. You can select “Frames” > “All” and browse, or you can type your term into the search bar if you have something specific in mind. From there you can select the frame you want, then drag your photo into the image space. The frames range from unique shapes to phone screens to letters – so have fun experimenting!

4. Select elements behind other elements.

The Canva user selecting hidden elements by holding "CTRL" while clicking.

If you’ve stacked several elements on top of each other, it can be difficult to accurately select the one you want to work with (especially with a laptop touchpad). You don’t want to undo the hard work you’ve done to align your elements, so it’s useful to have a shortcut for selecting your desired elements. You can select elements behind other elements by selecting the element at the top, then entering CTRL + click.

5. Change the tints of photos.

The user adjusts the tint of a photo to create different visual effects.

The tint of a photo can make a huge impact on the overall feel of your piece. You can explore Canva’s photo filters by selecting “Filter” on the top white toolbar and adjusting the intensity as desired. To customize your filter even more, you can select “Adjust” (next to “Filter”) to fine-tune elements such as brightness/contrast, tint, and saturation. 

Another way to change the tints of photos is to add a colored shape over the photo, then adjust the transparency. You can find shapes under “Elements” > “Shapes” on the left-side toolbar, then change it to your desired color on the top white toolbar. On that same toolbar, you’ll see the transparency icon (a fading checkerboard pattern), where you can adjust the transparency until you get the tint you want.

6. Make a thin square or rectangular border.

The Canva user creates a thin border by using the corner resizing tool.

This is a very specific tip, but if you’re like me and you love a thin border, read on. 

When searching for a solid square or rectangular border, Canva’s results will yield a thick line – while this definitely works for some visuals, sometimes a thin line better fits your image. To make your square or rectangular border thinner, use the corner resizing tool to decrease the overall size of the border – this will simultaneously make the border narrower. Then, increase the size of your border from the length/width resizing tool (i.e., pulling from the sides). This will increase the overall size of the border, without increasing line width.

Eye-catching marketing visuals can help propel your business to success. With tools such as Canva, you can create your own visuals without having to learn complex programs or outsourcing your graphic design. We hope these tips will inspire you to try something new and save yourself valuable time.

Looking for more DIY marketing help? Our coaching packages will give you the tools and resources you need to power up your DIY marketing strategy. Get more details here or contact us with questions.