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Are you a small business owner looking for ways to create professional-looking graphics for your business with ease? Canva is the perfect tool for you! With its user-friendly interface, Canva makes it easy to create stunning designs for any purpose. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the top tips and tricks our team has for making the most of Canva and creating graphics that will help you stand out from the competition.
In case you missed it, make sure to check out part 1 of this series—it has some really excellent design hacks!
#1: Find What You’re Looking For Faster
Have you ever been extremely frustrated when trying to search for a specific element on Canva? Perhaps you really want a spiral triangle, and don’t have the time to scroll through hundreds of triangles and spirals to find it. I have two quick tips to make it easier to find what you’re looking for:
- Use search operators. Much like a search engine, Canva’s search box allows “search operators”—special characters and commands that extend the capabilities of regular text searches. For example, if you want a spiral triangle, you can tell the search box to prioritize showing you images that meet both the spiral AND triangle criteria by either adding a plus sign in front of each word (e.g., +spiral +triangle) or adding the word “AND” between your two search terms (e.g., spiral AND triangle).
- Use “see more like this.” Found an element that you like, but it isn’t quite what you’re looking for? You can click on it, and then select “See more like this” to see more elements that are either by the same designer or very similar in nature.
Next up, I wanted to plug Canva’s latest AI feature: text-to-image. Canva has essentially added their own AI art generator to the mix, similar in nature to MidJourney but less advanced. Need a specific photo and can’t find it on Canva? It might be able to create it for you!
This can be an incredible tool for small business owners, who are often functioning as their own marketing team. Once you’ve entered your prompt, rather than combining existing images, Canva’s Text to Image creates entirely new ones from scratch.
Here’s an example:
- Run a cafe or coffee shop? Need a quick image to promote a Valentine’s Day special? In an ideal world, you would stage and photograph this yourself so that the coffee cup is in your brand, your store is in the background, etc. But if you don’t have time (or perhaps you’re out of town!), Canva can make one for you.
#1: Background Remover Tool
Using the background remover tool is a must! I love using this tool to remove busy backgrounds and make text pop or to change a background color to something more cohesive or relative to the brand! First place your photo on the canvas, then click the photo, hit edit image and select background remover on the left hand side.
You can also erase and restore parts of the photo you want to keep or hide. Then, you select a new background and add text if you like and viola – you have a whole new design! This is a great tool to implement with your brand’s social media as it makes customizing Canva images that much easier.
#2: Keyboard Shortcuts
Another Canva hack for super quick designing is pressing “T” to pop up a text box! You can find a full list of keyboard shortcuts for Canva here.
As a designer, I’m always on the lookout for fresh inspiration. A lot of my mornings are spent combing through design blogs, and watching videos or reading instructions to help improve my technique. With digital design, the possibilities are effectively endless, so learning new functions of the software is essential. When Megan tasked the team with writing this follow-up article to our original Canva Hacks, I realized I was stumped. It had been ages since I’d looked to expand my understanding of Canva – even worse, I’d kind of blown it off and felt like there was nothing else to learn.
Reader, I was so wrong. I think for a lot of graphic designers, there is a stigma attached to using Canva. When put in the hands of someone with no understanding of design, it can *truly* be disastrous. But the reality for many designers is that Canva actually does make our job a lot easier. I can easily shave minutes off a job by applying background remover in Canva rather than creating a mask in Photoshop. Creating a flyer in Canva that my coworkers can easily access and edit themselves is a revelation. All this is to say if I dedicate so much of my time to improving my understanding of Adobe products, why have I not done the same with Canva?
My utter lack of fresh ideas led me to my favorite place on the internet: TikTok. A quick search of “Canva Hacks” led me to (an admittedly way-too-long) binge of videos from Canva pros far and wide. I believe in giving credit where it’s due, so for my hacks, I’m shouting out TikTokers @socialdox and @keepingupwitsie. Their pages showcase their awesome work, and both creators are commercially successful while also designing primarily in Canva. Read on for two Canva Hacks that will take your designs to the next level.
#1: How to create a peekaboo text layering effect from @socialdox
This effect requires 3 design elements: 2 lines of text (one of which has the hollow effect applied) and a png or image with a transparent background.
To get the desired effect, simply sandwich the elements like so: Outlined text element brought to the front, png or image with a transparent background in the middle, and regular text sent to the back. To do this, select each design element, and use the position tab in the upper right-hand corner to arrange the layers accordingly.
This effect works best when using a bolder typeface, and reads especially well on uppercase letters. I recommend playing around with placement and fonts to find the perfect match for your project!
#2: How to create a contour outline on a png from @keepingupwitsie
All you need for this effect is a png or a photo with a transparent background!
To create a contour outline on your image, head over to the edit image tab on the upper left-hand side of your screen. Select shadows, glow, and adjust the parameters so that your blur is at 0. You can also shift the transparency, spread, and color of the contoured outline.
#1: Take Advantage of Transparency
An easy way to elevate a simple design is by playing around with the transparency tool. When you have solid shapes over an image, you can use transparency to let the underlying image come through a bit, or you can use transparency on a photo or video element to allow a background color to show through. Here are two examples:
- In the first image below, the teal background was too plain, so I added an image of coffee beans as a background. I wanted the teal to come through so that the image would fit with the brand colors, so I adjusted the transparency of the photo down to a level of 33.
- The design below is simple but was elevated by giving the solid shapes a bit of transparency. It’s not the fanciest trick but it’s a great one to have up your sleeve when your design calls for simplicity.
There you have it! Now you know all of our best Canva secrets—hopefully you took away at least one new trick.