When I started my first company, Fusion Yearbooks, with my co-founder Cliff Obrecht we wanted to look like a much bigger company than we were.
One day when I was out of our “office” (read: my mum’s living room), Cliff was there by himself and answered the phone. An annoyed customer asked to speak to Cliff’s manager. Cliff put the phone down and picked it up again with a slightly deeper voice. The customer caught him out: “This is still Cliff, isn’t it?” Caught off-guard, it was a bit embarrassing.
It’s a well known scenario. You’re a one or two-person broadway production trying to juggle the hundreds of things you need to do in order to make your customers happy, look professional and project a bigger image.
I still remember getting a quote for a couple of flyers — it was $1,000 each. Our whole marketing budget for the year was $5,000 and we knew that any changes would incur similar fees. I responded “Unfortunately, it’s not in our price range at the moment”.
As our team designed and built Canva Pro – now Canva Pro – we’ve kept in mind the needs of small businesses. If you’re a solopreneur, blogger and social media marketer, these features are designed to make your life easier. Let’s dive in.
01. Create stunning, on-brand graphics by saving your brand kit
When we spoke to small businesses and individuals who designed at work, many of them said they struggled to make their graphics look on-brand and professional. This was the inspiration behind Canva Pro’s brand kit feature – which allows users to apply their visual assets quickly and consistently.
Maintain a professional design standard across all of your marketing materials by saving a brand kit with you colors, fonts, logo and images. This means every time you use a new template, your assets will be readily available and can easily be applied in a consistent style.
If you don’t yet have a brand color or brand font, check out our free branding ebook. It will walk you through everything you need to know to create your visual brand — as well as market it like a pro.
02. Save your own branded templates to save you time and improve your design quality
Without the skills or resources, creating professional graphics from scratch on a daily basis seems almost impossible. Yet the need for visual content is growing. Now your brand is expected to be active on social media, create attractive presentation and pitch decks, and have stunning marketing materials to stand out from your competitors. The answer: design from templates.
Within Canva Pro, you’ll have access to our library of professionally designed templates as well as have the ability to design and save your own. Here’s a quick rundown of how easy it is to set up a new template:
Designing with templates will save you time, make your designs look more consistent and on-brand, and allow you to easily collaborate with others if you work in a team.
Check out our Design School for heaps of useful design tips when setting up your new branded templates. Or, if you need some extra help, getting a designer to set up custom templates can be a huge investment for your brand. Once the templates are saved in your library, you can customize and re-publish them as many times as you like.
03. Boost your social media presence by resizing your designs for every platform
If you’ve ever designed graphics for social media, here’s a challenge you can probably relate to: you’ve just created a Facebook graphic you’re really proud and you decide you also want to share it on Instagram. You crop it into a square but suddenly the design looks terrible. What to do? Start again from scratch.
Canva Pro eradicated this challenge by allowing you to optimize your designs for every social media network instantly. For example, to turn your Instagram post into the perfect Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest posts, simply click “Magic Resize”, choose the platforms you need, and voila, you’re done! Each design will open in a new tab, ready to be edited or downloaded. See the magic happen here:
Also included in your Canva Pro account is the “Change dimensions” feature, which lets you change the dimensions of your existing design. This is useful if you need you need your images to be a custom dimension for your website, social media page, email newsletters and more.
04. Organize your workspace like a professional designer with photo folders
Between your logo, images and designs keeping organized is vital to maintaining a successful design flow for you brand.
Canva Pro allows you to organize your images into photo folders, so if you’re working on multiple projects at the same time you’ll stay organized. There’s also an option for collaboration, so if you’re working with anyone in a team you can easily share your images and work together.
Ready to start designing? Check out these free resources to help you get started
We’re committed to helping small businesses succeed, so our team have spent a lot of time creating materials just for you. To get you started, here’s a bunch of free resources you can use to help build your brand identity and personality:
- Free Stock Photos: 74 Best Sites To Find Awesome Free Images: Go and collect a bunch of great free photos that you can then store in your Canva Pro account and access any time you need it.
- 50 Branding Kits For Your Startup: We’ve had professional graphic designers create 50 stunning templates that you can use for free. Have a look through the list and click on any that you like, it will open in your Canva account and you’ll be able to edit the colors and fonts to suit your brand.
- If you don’t yet have a brand color palette – here’s a blog post to help you choose the colors that suit your business. Most companies use two to three colors across all of their marketing materials to create a consistent voice: 10 Color Inspiration Secrets Only Designers Know About or you can use colors from here: 100 Brilliant Color Combinations: And How to Apply Them to Your Designs
- 50 Best Sites To Find Beautiful And Useful Free Icons: How about some icons? Here’s our ultimate resource list of beautiful and free icons for everyone designing web graphics on a budget.
- And finally, if you aren’t confident designing yet — you might like to try out our free tutorials on our Design School. Each tutorial takes less than five minutes and will teach you some really handy tips and tricks – how to layout a design, match colors, choose fonts and more.
Are you a solopreneur, blogger or social media marketer using Canva Pro, or thinking about it? Our goal is to make great design accessible to businesses of all sizes. If you have any thoughts or feedback, let us know in the comments below.
Otherwise as always, happy designing!