I’ll never forget the wonder I felt when I first played with a Mac. My brother owned one of the first desktop publishing companies in Australia and he had invited me to do work experience at his business. I couldn’t believe the ease with which you could create images on a screen. It was dazzling and I was smitten. In the years since, I’ve used many, many creative tools.
When I first started out as a professional graphic designer, after finishing my Arts degree, we had to photocopy visuals and text. We’d then cut and paste them onto paper by hand to make brochures and newsletters because the organisation I worked for still didn’t have the software they needed to create everything on a desktop.
In the past few years, the tools have improved 100-fold and while I’ll always lean towards Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign for professional work, I’ve been using Canva.com more and more for quick visual marketing projects and even for presentations.
My latest free content marketing e-course was created entirely on Canva.
You can access that here if you want to check it out.
The printable affirmations I created for the bonus resources that go with my new book were all created using Canva. (You can also access them here along with 22 other business building bonus resources here)
Many of the visuals we create for our clients and my own social media channels, including Twitter banners and social post images are now created on Canva.
It’s fast, the sizing for social images is always perfect and the variety of done-for-you image and text templates is boggling. That said, Canva has its limitations, so in this post I share 5 Canva hacks to help you customise your images the way you want.
1. Fixing Image Orientation
Sometimes you need to change the orientation of an image so that it looks better with the text. A simple rule of thumb with head shot images is that you always want them facing the text, not facing away and you generally want to avoid too much detail under text. When I created the affirmation in this video, I needed to flip the image so that the text wasn’t overlaying the woman’s arm in the picture. Here’s how I did it:
2. Place Symbols in Your Text Like the Copyright Symbol
Canva doesn’t enable you to place symbols in text boxes, so you need to hack it if you want to use symbols such as Copyright or Registered Trademark and the like. Here’s a simple fix. You can also probably do the same thing in Google Docs (for those who have evolved beyond using Word 🙂 ). Please note that the copyright for this image is for the wording and layout.
3. Custom Text Layout and Spacing
This is a trick graphic designers use all the time when trying to get words to fit nicely on a page and you can use it on Canva too. Here’s how:
4. Create a Custom Plain Rectangle Shape to Fit Behind Your Text Box
Sometimes you just want a plain rectangle but on Canva, the only tool that enables you to manipulate a rectangle is the one that comes with text in it. However, you don’t always want your text set to the specific sizing that Canva has in the text box. What do you do? You hack it! Believe it or not, Canva does not have a plain rectangle shape at the time of writing this. Why not? I guess it was something they overlooked. There are lots of fancy rectangle shapes but not a single plain rectangle amongst them. So here’s how you create one that is a perfect fit for your design:
5. Create a Drop Shadow Behind Your Text or Image
Creating a drop shadow on Canva is easy, if you know how. In this video I show you exactly how to do it and why you should.
Oh wait, there’s one last one I want to show you. You can also create a blurred drop shadow behind images on Canva. They don’t look as good as the ones you’d create on Photoshop but they are a good substitute when you are in a hurry and need an image drop shadow on Canva. Here’s how you do it:
I hope you’ve learned a few new tricks in these videos. If you enjoyed this post, I would love for you to share it with another Canva-using friend.
Is there a Canva hack you’d like me to cover in another video? Do you have any Canva tips? Leave a comment below.