10 Steps to Better Visual Marketing With Canva: The Ultimate Guide

In today‘s digital landscape, visual content is more important than ever. Research shows that people remember 55% more information when it‘s paired with an image, and articles with images get 94% more views than those without.

As a marketer, you know you need to be creating visuals for your campaigns – but where do you start? And how can you create professional-looking designs if you don‘t have a background in graphic design?

Enter Canva. This user-friendly online design tool makes it easy for anyone to create stunning visuals, no design skills needed. In this ultimate guide, I‘ll walk you through 10 steps to elevate your visual marketing with Canva.

Step 1: Understand the Importance of Visual Content

Before we dive into the how-to, let‘s take a moment to understand why visual content is so critical for marketers today. Here are some eye-opening statistics:

Stat Source
90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual Hubspot
Content with relevant images gets 94% more views Hubspot
Tweets with images get 150% more retweets Buffer
Facebook posts with images get 2.3X more engagement Buzzsumo

The takeaway is clear: if you want your content to stand out, get noticed, and inspire action, you need strong visuals. And that‘s where Canva comes in.

Step 2: Get to Know the Canva Interface

First things first: let‘s get familiar with the Canva interface. When you log in and click the "Create a design" button, you‘ll see a variety of pre-set design sizes to choose from, like social media posts, presentations, and infographics.

Once you select a size, you‘ll be taken to the main design page. On the left side of the screen, you‘ll see tabs for different types of design elements:

  • Templates
  • Elements
  • Uploads
  • Text
  • Background
  • More (folders, apps, and integrations)

In the center of the screen is your blank canvas, where you‘ll build out your design. And on the right side, you‘ll see additional editing options depending on what element you have selected.

Take a few minutes to click around and explore the different features and tools available to you. And don‘t worry – I‘ll cover some of the most important ones in the steps ahead.

Step 3: Choose the Right Fonts and Colors for Your Brand

One of the keys to effective visual marketing is consistency. You want your target audience to instantly recognize your content across different channels and campaigns. That‘s where fonts and colors come in.

Ideally, you want to choose 1-2 primary brand fonts and a color palette of 3-5 colors that you use consistently across your designs. Canva makes this easy with the Brand Kit feature (available with a Canva for Work account).

With the Brand Kit, you can:

  • Upload your brand‘s logos
  • Define your brand colors
  • Choose your brand fonts

Then, when you‘re designing in Canva, you can easily access your brand assets and ensure a cohesive look.

If you don‘t have a Canva for Work account, you can still achieve brand consistency by sticking to a few key fonts and colors in your designs. Canva has an extensive library of fonts to choose from – just be sure to choose ones that align with your brand personality (playful, serious, modern, etc.).

When it comes to colors, I recommend choosing a light background color, a dark text color, and 1-3 accent colors. You can use Canva‘s color palette generator to find colors that work well together.

Step 4: Use Canva Templates to Streamline Your Design Process

One of the best things about Canva is the huge selection of professionally-designed templates available. No matter what type of visual content you need to create, chances are Canva has a template for it.

Using templates can save you a ton of time and ensure that your designs look polished and professional. To find the perfect template for your needs, simply search by keyword or browse the template categories.

Once you find a template you like, click on it to open it in the editor. From there, you can customize every aspect of the design, from the colors and fonts to the images and copy.

Some of my favorite Canva templates include:

  • Social media graphics
  • Infographics
  • Presentation slides
  • Postcards and flyers
  • Ebook and report covers
  • Email headers

While templates are a great starting point, be sure to customize them enough to make them feel unique to your brand. That means swapping out the colors, fonts, and images and tailoring the messaging to your audience.

Step 5: Incorporate High-Quality Images and Graphics

Visuals are only as good as the images and graphics you use. Low-quality, cheesy stock photos can cheapen your designs, while high-quality, authentic images can take them to the next level.

Canva offers an extensive library of free and paid stock photos, as well as illustrations, icons, and other graphic elements. To find the perfect image for your design, use the search bar or browse by category.

In addition to Canva‘s built-in image library, you can also upload your own images to use in your designs. This is a great option if you have custom photography or want to use brand-specific images.

When selecting images for your designs, look for ones that are:

  • High resolution
  • Well lit and in focus
  • Authentic and relatable
  • Relevant to your message
  • Consistent with your brand style

In addition to photos, consider incorporating other types of graphic elements like icons, shapes, and charts to add visual interest and break up the text.

Step 6: Use the Principles of Design to Create Compelling Layouts

While Canva makes it easy to create visually-appealing designs, there are certain principles of design that can take your visuals to the next level. Here are a few key ones to keep in mind:

  1. Alignment: Keep your design elements lined up and balanced on the page. Canva‘s alignment tools make this easy.

  2. Hierarchy: Arrange your design elements in order of importance, with the most important information being the largest and most prominent.

  3. Contrast: Use contrasting colors, fonts, and sizes to create visual interest and guide the viewer‘s eye.

  4. Repetition: Repeat certain design elements, like colors or shapes, throughout your design for a cohesive look.

  5. Proximity: Group related design elements together to create a sense of organization and flow.

  6. White space: Don‘t be afraid to leave some blank space in your design. It can help to balance the layout and make it easier to read.

By keeping these principles in mind as you design, you can create visuals that are both beautiful and effective at communicating your message.

Step 7: Add Compelling Copy and Calls-to-Action

While visuals are the star of the show, don‘t forget about the importance of copy in your designs. The right words can help to clarify your message, persuade your audience, and inspire them to take action.

When adding text to your Canva designs, keep it concise and to-the-point. Use headlines and subheadings to break up the text and make it easier to scan. And don‘t be afraid to play with different font sizes and styles to create visual hierarchy.

In addition to informative copy, be sure to include a clear call-to-action (CTA) in your designs. What do you want your audience to do after seeing your visual? Some examples of CTAs might be:

  • Sign up now
  • Learn more
  • Get the guide
  • Book a demo
  • Shop the sale

Make your CTA stand out with a contrasting color or bold font, and place it prominently in your design.

Step 8: Animate Your Designs for Added Engagement

Want to really make your visuals stand out? Try adding animation! Canva makes it easy to create animated graphics for social media, presentations, and more. Simply choose an animated template or create your own from scratch.

To create an animated design in Canva:

  1. Click "Create a design" and choose the "Social Media Video" format
  2. Choose a template or start from scratch with a blank video
  3. Upload your own video clips or choose from Canva‘s library of stock footage
  4. Add text, graphics, and other design elements like you would with a static design
  5. Adjust the timing of each element in the Timeline view
  6. Preview your animation and make any necessary adjustments
  7. Publish and share!

Animated graphics are great for catching your audience‘s attention, especially in social media feeds. Just be sure not to go overboard – a little bit of movement can go a long way.

Step 9: Resize Your Designs for Different Platforms

One of the challenges of creating visuals for multiple platforms is ensuring that they‘re optimized for each one. Different social networks have different ideal image sizes, and what works for a Facebook post might not work for an Instagram Story.

Fortunately, Canva makes it easy to resize your designs for different platforms with the Magic Resize tool. With Magic Resize, you can easily adapt your design into multiple formats and sizes with just a few clicks.

To use Magic Resize:

  1. Click "File" and then "Magic Resize"
  2. Select the platforms you want to resize your design for
  3. Click "Resize"
  4. Tweak the new designs as needed to ensure they look good in each format
  5. Download or publish your resized designs

By using Magic Resize, you can save time and ensure that your visuals look great no matter where you share them.

Step 10: Integrate Visuals Into Your Overall Marketing Strategy

Finally, it‘s important to remember that creating stunning visuals is just one piece of the puzzle. To really elevate your visual marketing, you need to integrate your visuals into your overall marketing strategy.

That means thinking strategically about how visuals fit into each stage of the customer journey, from awareness to consideration to decision. Some ideas for incorporating visuals into your marketing strategy:

  • Use eye-catching visuals in your social media ads to grab attention and drive traffic to your website
  • Create infographics to educate your audience and position your brand as a thought leader
  • Use visuals in your email marketing to increase engagement and click-through rates
  • Incorporate visuals into your product pages to showcase your offerings and increase conversions
  • Create visual case studies to demonstrate the value of your products or services

By thinking strategically about how visuals can support your marketing goals, you can create a cohesive and effective visual marketing strategy that gets results.

Wrapping Up

Creating stunning visual content doesn‘t have to be a struggle. With Canva‘s user-friendly tools and the tips and techniques outlined in this guide, you have everything you need to elevate your visual marketing game.

Remember to:

  • Choose fonts and colors that align with your brand
  • Take advantage of Canva‘s templates and design elements
  • Incorporate high-quality images and graphics
  • Use the principles of design to create compelling layouts
  • Pair your visuals with clear and compelling copy
  • Animate your designs for added engagement
  • Resize your designs for different platforms
  • Integrate visuals into your overall marketing strategy

By following these steps and using Canva to its full potential, you can create visuals that capture attention, communicate your message, and convert your audience into customers. Happy designing!