DIY Graphic Design: Canva For Small Businesses

It can be hard to know where to begin when it comes to designing graphics for your small business. Especially if you don’t have much experience with the more advanced design software, like Photoshop, Indesign, or Illustrator.

We get it.

And for those who are looking for ways to design without the tech experience, we’ve got a solution for you.

That solution is Canva.

In this blog post, we’re going to go over:

– What Canva Is & What It Can Do For You

– How To Get Set Up

– Canva Tips and Tricks 

– Extra Support For Next Level Design


What Canva Is & What It Can Do For You

Canva is a graphic design tool that can be used by beginner designers or those just looking to create designs they need for their business without experience. There are free and paid versions based on your needs; however, in most cases, we recommend the paid plan for small business owners, as the features can set you apart in terms of making sure you have consistent branding across all materials, both print and online. But, more on the paid plan later!

Canva can be used to make pretty much everything, but here are some of the more popular items we see small businesses designing:

  • Business cards
  • Business flyers or postcards
  • Social media graphics or cover photos
  • Posters or display details
  • Brochures
  • Media kits
  • Presentation Templates
  • Infographics

That’s right. You can do this ALL in Canva. Keep reading to learn how to get started.

How To Get Set Up

1. Create your Canva account here.

Choose whether you want to pay monthly or yearly (Bonus: you also get to try it free for 30 days, so why not!?). From there, create your account! As we mentioned above, for business owners, we highly recommend the Pro Plan, which grants you the ability to create your business’s brand kit (adding in your logos, colors, and fonts). You can also quickly change/resize your designs, which comes in handy when making things on different sizes (or when you realize you created something in the wrong size and would otherwise have to start over), access to way more elements, photos, and templates, and most importantly and worth repeating, you can add your brand fonts, which is essential!

2. Upload your branding information into your Brand Kit.

With the Pro Plan, you’re able to fully develop your brand kit, which makes it so much easier to create professional and branded designs for your business. 

On the left side of the screen, you should see the words, ‘Your Brand.’ If you click there, you will see where you can upload your:

– Brand colors

– Logos and sub marks

– Fonts

Once you add this in, you’re ready to get started!


Canva Tips and Tricks

When first creating designs, we recommend a couple of different things. 

    • To get familiar with the platform, we first suggest using the built-in templates or purchasing templates you already love, such as the ones from our Dox Design shop here. Otherwise, on the left-hand navigation bar, you can click on ‘Templates,’ which will then open up all of the different categories of templates you can browse, depending on what you’re wanting to design.
    • If you know you want to make a business card, for example, you can also just click ‘Create A Design’ when you log in and search for what you want to create → i.e. type in ‘business card’ and the correct dimensions for a standard business card will open up for you as a blank canvas. On the left, you will see templates OR you can just start from scratch if you’re feeling adventurous!
    • Once your design (whether from a template OR a blank canvas) pops up, you have all the freedom in the world. The left-hand side navigation bar will be your best friend, as you have options to add photos, elements (shapes, lines, graphics), videos, a new background, uploading pictures, etc.


For those Pro Plan members, you also have a couple of extra features worth mentioning!

Photo Filters & Removing Backgrounds

If you’re a member of our Dox Design Facebook Group, you may have seen my short and sweet tutorial on removing backgrounds from images. If not, view it below.

Wondering when you’d want to use this feature?? Well, if you’re ever looking to write text over a graphic but find that it’s too detailed or your text is too hard to see, you can simply remove the background or add a colored background while keeping the piece you want (i.e. you or pets in the image). 

To do this, add your photo to the design. In the navigation bar directly above the photo, click on ‘Effects.’ You will see there is a feature to remove the background from your image. All you have to do is click on it, let it go and it will successfully cut you out. From there, you can place new colors, patterns, etc. as the new background while highlighting the text you want in your new professional graphic!

website screenshot

Animated Graphics

This is a popular one for social media graphics, especially Instagram Stories!

To do this, open whatever template or design size you want. From there, head to the user dropdown menu in the top right corner that says ‘Download.’ Instead of downloading the graphic, go down and click ‘Animation.’ You will see several different animation options you can select for your graphic. Easy as that, fur friends!


Extra Support For Next Level Design

We know learning a new tool can sometimes be overwhelming. You may start to notice other people have similar designs to you if you’re using templates because, hey, we can’t all be pro designers, especially if that’s not your area of expertise.

Not to worry though, you can still set yourself apart from others out there by heading to our shop and choosing graphics made by our expert design team. Designs are easily editable, so you can make them your own (feel free to change the colors, fonts, and images). 

To create your Canva account, head here. If you’re still not convinced, we highly recommend at least testing it out with the free 30-day trial, so that you can explore all of the amazing features it has to offer. If you hate it after 30 days, all you have to do is cancel your trial and you’re good to go.

But, we have a feeling you’ll love it, almost as much as we do.

Happy Canva-ing, everyone!

Ready To Command Your Brand?