Our Team’s Top Canva Hacks

Written by Megan Flynn

Although we’re ardent Adobe Suite users, we often also use Canva. In fact, sometimes we even export our illustrations from Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop and finish up our design in Canva. We highly recommend Canva for small business owners who do not have any graphic design experience—it’s easy to use, versatile, and very budget-friendly.

We asked each member of our team to share their favorite Canva tips and tricks. Whether you’re experienced with Canva or just getting started, this list has something for everyone.

From Megan (CEO):

#1: Outlining Words

I have three tips to recommend! The first is an easy trick for outlining words, without having to use an outline font that you overlay onto a non-outline font. Once you have your text, click on “effects.” From there, select the “splice” style. Then set the offset to zero. Ta da! From within the same settings area, you can change the color of the text fill (to change the outline color, you’ll need to change the color of the actual text) and also increase the thickness of the outline. 

#2: Use Video Transitions In Canva For All Canvas Sizes

My second is video transitions! This feature only works if you have a Pro account. Ever get annoyed that you can’t create simple transitions between images you’re creating for social media, like having it fade from one photo to the next? Here’s how to get around that: first, choose “video” when creating a new design file. Add in however many slides you’re going to need for your final image. Then, click between them to add the transitions you want. After you’ve done that, resize your image to be the dimensions you really need (for example, 1:1 or 4:5 for an Instagram post). Then design your slides. 

Even though you won’t see the transition option within your resized file, Canva will remember and apply them in your video. Pretty neat, eh? Hopefully Canva will just add the option to easily add transitions to all design sizes in the future. In the meantime, this works. 

#3: Easily Recolor With SVGs

Last, but not least, the benefit to using SVG files in Canva! This one is simple: if you upload an SVG file, you can easily recolor the image within Canva. Just click on the image, and then change the color using the color selection tool.  

From Audrey (Social Media Manager):

#1: Make Color Matching Easy

I have two hacks that I use a frequently on Canva to make my images look professional. The first is using the color matching tool. This is really helpful when you want the colors in your image to match colors from a logo or other picture. I use this a lot when I want the text on an image to match the color in a business or event logo. In the example below, I wanted the “save the date” text to match the orange-red in the Uptown Shuffle logo. Luckily, Canva makes this easy! To match the color, go to the text color tool and click the “+” sign in the top left corner under “Document Colors.” When you do that, select the dropper image, and move your cursor over the color in your image you want to match. Voila! The text color is now a perfect match to the logo color scheme.

#2: Take Advantage of Frames

The other feature I use nearly every day is Frames. This may seem really basic, but there are a TON of frames available on Canva and they can really help add a professional polish to your image. I like to use the basic frames to make individual elements stand out on an image. You can also use frames that put your image on a cell phone, window, letter, vase, etc. to add some jazz to your image. When I want a perfectly sized collection of images (like in the “Women-Owned Businesses” image below) I use grids. There are lots of options for any number of photos and when you adjust the length and width of the grid the photos auto adjust! 

From Addie (Graphic Designer & Artist):

#1: Recolor Images Using Duo Tone

Two of my most-used Canva hacks take advantage of the plug-ins under the Edit Image tab. My absolute favorite plug-in is Duo Tone. If you don’t know, Duo Tone takes your image and reduces it to two colors, one for highlights and one for shadows. However, if you have a PNG of a line drawing or other one-color graphic and want to change its color, you can apply Duo Tone, and set the highlights and shadows to the same color.

This is super helpful if you have a PNG of a logo that you need in a different color, but you don’t have Adobe tools. For instance, let’s say you need a white logo for a flyer, but the company sent you their neon orange logo. Simply apply Duo Tone, set your shadows and highlights to white, and voila–white logo! It is important to note that when changing the colors of a logo or work of art, you should always follow standard copyright protocol. If you are not the artist or do not own the rights to a graphic or work of art, you should not modify it without proper licensing. 

#2: Create Pop-Out Images

I have also found that a great way to add some extra oomph to a photo is to create a Pop-Out Image. This is a fairly involved process, but the end result can be striking when done right. This effect really only works on photos where there’s a clear subject in the foreground. The subject can be anything: a person, group of people, animal, flower, etc. The important thing is that the subject can be easily identified by the Canva Background Remover software.

To create the desired image, I first frame the photo by dropping it into the artboard and getting the subject aligned where I want it. This initial layer will eventually become the background for your pop-out, so it’s important to make sure your subject remains the focal point of the cropped image. From there, I will either adjust the photo’s colors with Duo Tone, or adjust the transparency of the image with a block of color behind it. To create even more contrast, you can also apply a light blur to the background image. These are just my preferred edits, but any of the plug-ins can create a great background for your pop-out.

After I’ve gotten my background nicely situated, I’ll add the original photo on top of the existing layers and select the Background Remover plug-in from the Edit Image tab. Usually Canva’s software is pretty good at finding your subject, but you may need to go in and clean up your image a little more before hitting apply. I then adjust my cutout subject until it aligns with the subject in the background layer.

The resulting image has a pop-out effect where the subject is the clear focal point, and the background can be used to layer text or other graphic elements.

Now you know all of our best Canva secrets—hopefully you took away at least one new trick.

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