There are two types of people in this world: there are Photoshop and Illustrator wizards, and then there are the rest of us.
I fall squarely into the second category, and even though I like to think (key word being “think”) that I have an eye for good design, I have zero talent when it comes to graphic design. ZERO. Zilch.
When I first started blogging, I would browse through Pinterest, all wide-eyed and slack-jawed, wondering how in the world are these people coming up with these amazing images for their pins? Meanwhile, I’m adding text to photos in Microsoft Word (sad, but true).
I’ll just cut straight to the chase…learning how to use Canva was the second best thing I have ever done (the first being changing my mind at the last second about which granite I wanted for my house). Canva is easy to use, even for people like me who are hilariously below average when it comes to graphic design. There are hundreds if not thousands of templates available for just about any business or occasion, and you can upload your own fonts and use your own colors. It’s fantastic, people. And as if being just damn amazing isn’t enough, apparently it’s pretty awesome to work there, too…because News.com/au named it Australia’s Coolest Technology Company two years in a row! Check out that article here!
One of the best things about Canva, especially for new businesses owners, is that it is free! Of course there is a paid version that has more features, but the free version works just fine for creating basic graphic design projects.
Read about other FREE business resources for entrepreneurs (if you aren’t using these yet, you should be!)
Of all the free resources that I use for my business, Canva is my absolute most favorite. The amount of value in this program is ah-mazing and the number of things you can create is BANANAS.
I’ve put together a list of 26 design projects for your business that can be created using Canva, along with an explanation as to what the heck each of them could possibly be used for in your niche. AND, as a sweet little bonus, I’ve created a cheat sheet with recommended dimensions for each project to ensure your design is sized perfectly when you’re finished with it (you can get that here)! So let’s get this party bus rolling, lovelies.
26 Things to Create for Your Business/Blog Using Canva
Graphics for Social Media: This first set of design ideas focuses on your social media accounts. Like I’ve said before, regardless of what niche you’re in, it’s super important to have a presence on social media! Even if you don’t think you need it, you do.
- Twitter Post: You can post anything you want on Twitter (as long as it’s limited to 140 characters). Luckily, photos do not count against your character count so you can have a kick-ass photo in addition to your 140 character tweet. You know what they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Create an image using Canva that goes along with what you’re tweeting about.
- Instagram Post: Instagram is pretty much 100% visual. Most of the time, I don’t even stop to read the captions…I just want to look at photos. Have a project you want to brag on? A testimonial you want to share? A new post to your blog or website? Create a graphic for it and share away!
- Pinterest Image: Another free resource that is amazing for bloggers/business owners, Pinterest! Believe it or not, it matters what your pins look like. Like Instagram, Pinterest is almost 100% visual, so much, in fact, that it has been dubbed a “visual search engine.” Vertical posts with large, readable text are proven to perform best on the platform. Canva has that figured out, and has a million awesome templates to take the stress out of designing your pins.
- Facebook Post: When you’re sharing an awesome photo on Facebook, it’s super important that it looks good on a computer AND on a phone/tablet. Using the proper resolution will make it responsive no matter what device it’s being viewed on. Have a photo you need to resize? Create a blank template using the recommended sizing (download my free cheat sheet HERE!) and drag your photo onto the template. This will appropriately crop and resize your photo so it looks best on the platform you want to share on.
I clicked on the Facebook Post design option and it brought me here.
Next, click “Elements” in the left menu and it will bring you to all of these colorful icons.
Select “Frames” and it will bring you here. Click on the frame that you want and drag it over. If you want it to take up the whole design or only part of it, you can click and drag to adjust the sizing.
Once you have your frame the way you want it, click “Uploads” on the same left menu and it will bring you to all of the images you have uploaded. If the photo that you want isn’t in your library yet, you can upload on the same screen. Take the photo that you want to use and drag it over to your design. It will automatically fill the selected frame.
- Facebook Cover Photo: Once you’ve created your business Facebook page, you’ll need a cover photo to make your profile look complete. This could include your logo, a photo of yourself, a photo of your products with your logo, etc. You can really customize it to fit your brand and appeal to your customers. It’s really important to size this correctly, because it’s a long, skinny space and if you don’t have your photo sized right, it will cut a lot of it off.
- Album cover: Facebook will group your photos into albums, and if you don’t have a designated album cover, it will select one of your photos at random. Some people like to create album covers with wording that states what each album is, and others like to have a photo that represents what the album is. Either way, just like your page cover photo, it is important to size these correctly so that part of your photo isn’t cut off.
- Tumblr Graphic: Tumblr isn’t something that I use, personally (as of now), but many of my blogger/business owner friends use this as a tool to drive traffic to their website. It’s kinda like a mini blog where there are categories and communities. You can follow others and be followed, liking and sharing content. And because it is highly visual like many other online applications, you’ll need to create graphics for your posts. Canva’s gotcha covered!
Graphics for Other Online Purposes:
- Etsy Shop Icon: If you’re in the handmade goods niche (one of my absolute FAVES), then you’ve probably heard of Etsy. It’s a site for selling handmade items from your very own shop…super cool! Like any other website or marketing piece, you need a photo or logo that represents your business. Canva has SO many ideas for shop icons, but if you don’t like any of those, you can always start with a blank template and create your own.
- Etsy Cover Photo: Another place for a photo that represents your business. You can change this up to advertise sales or new products, or use it as a place to put more information about your shop. Whatever you want to put here, size it correctly and get noticed!
Examples of Etsy Shop Icon templates.
- eBook Cover: eBooks are fantastic, and are all the rage right now. eBooks can be created for ANY niche – cooking, drawing, painting, lawn care, dog training, writing, teaching…you name it! Create an eBook to sell as part of your business or to give away as a freebie for your readers/customers. Canva has templates specifically for eBooks which makes putting them together a breeze!
Branding: In my blog post 7 Simple Things to do After Deciding on a Business Idea, I talked about some basic branding elements to create once you’ve decided on your business idea. If you haven’t already guessed, you can use Canva for all of these things!
Click here to download the complete checklist of things to do after deciding on your business idea. (If you’re already a Free Resource Library subscriber, you can click over and download straight from there!)
- Logo: Your logo is extremely important. Possibly one of the most important branding aspects of your entire business, because that is what people are going to recognize. Think of all the major brands out there: Apple, Nike, Starbucks, McDonalds…if I showed you a photo of any of their logos, you would be able to tell me which company that logo belongs to. You could always pay someone to design an amazing logo for you, but that’s not always a feasible option when starting out. Canva has tons of templates that you can either use for your logo or use as inspiration. Regardless, it’s a great place to start!
- Business Cards: Along with the great mystery of how faxing is still a thing…business cards are just as relevant as ever in the business world today. There are lots and lots of online sites for designing and printing business cards, but if you want to design them yourself, Canva is the place to do it! Create and download your design, and then have it printed or print it yourself!
- Labels: This can apply to any niche, but is specifically important for those in the handmade sector. If you are creating and packaging a product to send to your customers, the packaging is SO important. It is what your customers see before they even see your product! When I was heavy into my vinyl business, I took great pride in packaging my items (even though I spent very little money doing so). I talk more about the importance of packaging in my post How I Make $1,000/month Cutting Vinyls. You can design a simple label with your business name, logo and website to stick in/on your packaging to make it look even more put together. Extremely easy but speaks volumes about your brand! Design online, download and print at home!
- Letterhead: Okay, so this isn’t as fun as everything else, but it’s part of looking like the professional grownup that you are. Chances are, at some point, you are going to need to send correspondence to your customers or to other business professionals. There’s no denying it, letterhead really does say “I have my shit together” – luckily, Canva makes it extremely easy. They have templates where literally all you have to do is type your information in…it doesn’t get much easier than that! Grab yourself some nice, thick paper (I personally like to use resume paper because I like how it feels) and print your letterhead on it.
- Desktop: This may not be 100% necessary, but it’s still fun. Canva has design templates specifically for designing a background for your desktop! If you have a store or office where customers/people you may be meeting with come through, there’s a chance they may catch a glimpse of your computers at some point. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a crisp, branded image as your background instead of a picture of your cat? (guilty!). Like I said, not a true necessity, but it’s nice to have the option.
- Presentation: Because you’re an expert in your niche, chances are you may be asked to give a presentation at some point *cue the sweaty palms*. Half the battle with presenting is having a kickass presentation to go off of. If everyone is focused on how great your presentation looks, they won’t even notice the bullets you’re sweating. JK, I know you’ll do great. If you are tired of using PowerPoint and want something with a little more pizzaz, explore Canva’s presentation templates!
Print Marketing Materials:
- Poster: Could be used to hang in local businesses around town (with permission, of course) or maybe at a local event to advertise your business.
- Menu: Not just for food! This could be a list of all the products/services that you offer. You could put these in newspaper boxes as an advertisement or hand out to potential customers.
- Brochure: Another piece that could be handed out at a function, put in newspaper boxes or given to potential customers. This would give an overview of your business, what you offer, photos of your work and possibly some testimonials from past customers. The tri-fold design is classic and professional!
- Flyer: Have a special event or sale coming up? Flyers are a great way to advertise! Easy to design, print and hand out!
- Gift Certificate: Gift certificates are great to have, especially around the holidays because they’re such easy gifts! If one of your customers gives a friend one of your gift certificates as a gift, that’s a free referral for you! Design and print these yourself as an inexpensive alternative to gift cards. You can also give away gift certificates as part of contests on social media to increase your likes/followers.
- Postcard: The USPS has a program called Every Door Direct Mail where you can select certain zip codes and have pieces mailed to every household (or parts that you select). A postcard is a great option for several reasons. The first being there is no envelope involved, so you have a better chance of potential customers actually seeing your mailer instead of throwing it away. Also, postcards are slightly less expensive to mail than cards with envelopes. Design your mailer online, have it printed and then use EDDM to canvas your entire area!
Read more about Every Door Direct Mail here!
- Invitation: Maybe you’re participating in a private event, or hosting an event or fundraiser. Having professional invitations printed is always a nice touch.
- Program: To go along with said event/fundraiser. Create custom programs to let everyone know what’s going to go down!
- Card: Never underestimate the power of a good ol’ fashioned card. I have several friends and clients who are realtors, and they get more referrals from cards than most anything else. They keep record of their past customers and they keep up with them on social media. If they see that they got married, celebrated a work anniversary, had a baby, etc. they send them a card. This is a great way to stay at the front of mind. They see a card from you and it jogs their memory that their friend’s sister’s mom is selling her house and needs a realtor. See how that works? Don’t let people forget that you’re there! Also, it’s an awesome gesture…and everyone loves mail.
- Certificate: Maybe you work with unique materials and you want to give customers an authenticity certificate, or maybe you’re offering a training and want to give a certificate of completion. Whatever the case may be, Canva gives you that option.
Long gone are the days when you had to be a graphic design ninja to create your own graphics for your business. Not saying it doesn’t help to be a graphic design ninja…but Canva makes it easy for bloggers/business owners with little to no design experience to create their own graphics and marketing materials.
Freebie! If you haven’t already, snag my dimensions cheat sheet here! Make sure all of your designs are the perfect size!