You Don’t Need Photoshop to Create Beautiful Things (Use This Free Tool Instead!)

I’ve been managing social media accounts for over 8 years now. For some of my past clients, the content was easy to create because they had a plethora of photos and a designer who would make on-brand graphics for me in real time. For others, I wasn’t so lucky. Instead, I caught myself having to dig and create totally new content from scratch, on my own—photos, graphics and captions.

I’m by no means a graphic designer, but I’ve always said that if I could go back to college, I’d love to study graphic design. Unfortunately, I’m still paying off student loans (anyone else out there?), so it looks like I’m not going back to college anytime soon. I did, however, do some research, and I found a great program that has helped me create awesome on-brand content for my clients…

Meet Canva.

Canva is an online program that allows anyone to create beautiful things for F-R-E-E (think: social graphics, flyers, Instagram story templates, blog banners—you name it!). For people who are starting their own business can’t afford to hire a designer–Canva isa great way to DIY it for free. They offer a drag-and-drop feature and professional layouts that make it easy and fun to create almost anything. For those of us who aren’t graphic designers, dragging and dropping elements is a dream come true! I could go on and on about my love for Canva, but here are a few of my favorite features of the program:

1. The Brand Kit

As mentioned above, I’ve worked with several different brands. The brand kit lets you upload the color codes and fonts for each specific brand and keeps them organized. When you’re working on your design, the brand kit is easily accessible and makes it seemless to ensure that you stay on brand (and not accidentally using another client’s brand colors instead!). You can also upload any logos or other design elements. It’s best to upload files with transparent backgrounds so you can use them on anything! (psst…you can find a tutorial on this here!)

2. The Templates and Layouts

As a social media manager, I’m constantly creating content for Facebook, Instagram posts and stories, Twitter and Snapchat. All of these social channels require different file sizes so that they show up optimally. Canva offers premade layouts for pretty much any format you’d want. They’ve taken the guesswork out of it, so you can create images that will look awesome on whatever format you publish to.

Another great feature are the templates! If the creative juices aren’t flowing, or you just need some inspiration, you can browse through their thousands of templates and manipulate them to match your brand.

Here’s an example of one of their templates for Facebook. In a few quick minutes, I was able to change the colors to match a client’s brand! Easy, right?

3. The Media Library

I highly recommend using your own photos for your social media content, but in the case you need some stock images, Canva has thousands of free images available to use. They also have shapes, grids, lines, illustrations, icons and more.

All in all, Canva has made my job easier and I really enjoy creating graphics. If you want to learn more about Canva you can visit their site here. They offer this great resource for Canva beginners. Need some one-on-one help? Shoot me an e-mail and I’d be happy to share my Canva skills with you. 🙂


Last month, Allie and Adam hosted their Branding on a Budget workshop in-person at our studio. Allie was able to use Canva and design a logo on the spot in front of all the attendees for one of our Diamond Members who needed a fictitious brand to sell his product. This was the result! You can check out the branding course online! In it, Allie designs another logo on the fly via screen recording!

April 17, 2019
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