Getting Started with Canva

Mar 7, 2022 | VA Services

Canva is one of the most popular tools for business owners everywhere, and for good reason. 

In case you haven’t heard of Canva, it’s an online graphic design tool that lets you create a wide variety of graphics, for personal use and for your business. There’s no software to download, and you can quickly design images on the go using your smartphone.

Free Version vs. Paid

As with most digital applications, there are two versions you can choose from: a free version and a paid version. Predictably, you will have more functionality and options with the paid version than that free one.

The paid version is circa £9.88 and allows features like multiple folders to organise your work, background remover, instant image resize. Canva offers a 30-day trial period, and you can cancel at any time. I absolutely love the background remover!

The Basics

For those of us who have dabbled in Paint Shop Pro or Photoshop, there was quite a learning curve involved with those applications. While Canva has its own set of things to figure out, it’s far easier to pick up.

The quickest way to get started with Canva is to use one of their pre-made templates, as opposed to starting from scratch. From Facebook to Instagram, Twitter to Pinterest, there are preset templates for just about every social media platform – and Canva is always updating them.


Along the left-hand menu, you’ll find elements. These are things such as:

  • Photo grids
  • Graphs and charts
  • Lines
  • Frames
  • Illustrations
  • Photos
  • Shapes
  • Videos
  • Icons
  • Audio

Finding a specific element is easy, just use the search bar to type in what you’re looking for. Any element with a crown is a paid element for Pro users. An image with a dollar sign means you can purchase that element. “Free”, well, that goes without saying!

Uploading your photos

In addition to the many photos you’ll find within Canva to you, you can also upload your own. Whether you’ve taken photographs yourself or you’ve found what you wish to use on a site like Pixabay, saving the image to your computer and uploading it from there to Canva will allow you to use it in your design.

Applying Text

There are hundreds of fonts you can use in your design, with more being added all the time. 

The newest features include applying a drop shadow and using curved text.

With the paid version of Canva, you can also upload and use your own fonts.  This is great for brand identity and keeping consistent with your own business fonts.

Selecting Colours

If you know the HEX code of a colour you want to use in your design, it’s super easy to change the colour of your text or element. Canva will save this colour in your design’s palette so you can use it as you continue to create the design. If you check out my website or my social media pages, you will see many of my images are consistent with my branding colour scheme.

Editing and Applying Filters

Just like Instagram, Canva offers a filter feature. This is a great way to add a different touch to stock photos you may be using in your design, or you could use a specific filter in your particular branding.

Editing is super easy, you can flip the image vertically or horizontally, or you can crop and adjust.


If you are working with several pages in a single design, you can choose to animate the design, therefore making your design into a video. You can adjust how certain text or images slide or fade, as well as the timing. 

Downloading Your Design

When you’re happy with your design, it’s time to download it! If you are creating an image, it’s best to download it as a JPEG or PNG file, whereas if you have created an animated image, you’ll want to download it as an MP4.

If you have created a document that will become a PDF, you can download it as one, rather than upload it for conversion at another site.

What will you use Canva for in your business?  Drop me a message at if you would like me to design some images for you, or have any questions.


Some of The Tools I Use

Asana, Adobe Pro DC, Buffer, Canva, Dropbox, Evernote, Gmail Calendar, Microsoft Office (Word, Powerpoint, Excel, OneDrive), Hootsuite

Invoicely, LastPass, Linkedin, Outlook, RecurPost, Twitter, Facebook, Lumen5, SmarterQueue, SurveyMonkey, Todoist, Toggl, Trello, WeTransfer.