Hi everyone, welcome to this webinar on how to create captivating graphics using Canva, my name is Vincenzo Marranca and I am an Instructional designer, creator of coledigital.com.
The most important aspects of every communicative design are layout – color and typography.
Let’s start with the layout.
Having a nice layout means organising the elements within the space so that there is some sort of hierarchical relationship within them.
Think of your design as a series of blocks stacked on top of or next to each other.
The final composition will be pleasing to the eye if you don’t have too many blocks positioned in an unorganised way.
Consider that, like the the post on the left, the less blocks you have, the easier will be for you to create a captivating design and for the viewer to understand the message you are trying to conveying.
Organising the design space
The design space is the space you work on and it changes based on the medium of communication.
Instagram post have a specific size, and so do Facebook posts or Power Point presentations.
The way you divide things up will be affected by the size and orientation of your design space.
In general though, it is better to divide all the elements of your design in a small number of sections.
Now that we understand what is the design space, it’s time learn how to place elements inside it.
Principles of layout
There are a few principles to keep in mind, and the first one is balance.
Elements on the page or in the design space should be balanced evenly within that space, but this doesn’t always mean symmetry. Asymmetry works too.
Alignment creates order, allowing elements to be visually connected.
So if you are using Canva you can check the alignment of the design elements by moving them around and positioning them where the pink lines appear.
Another fundamental principle is Contrast which you can use to highlight certain sections or make specific messages or parts of the text stand out.
The next aspect is typography.
When you write any kind of information on a graphic post you need to consider the impact of the font you choose.
Each font is in fact designed for a specific purpose and choosing the wrong one for your design might put your viewers off.
For example, Times New Roman is often used for legal documents because they’re thought to convey a traditional formality.
Comic Sans was designed to be a casual font, and its childlike, fun appearance made it popular for materials for children, although it is used for other things as well.
There are five categories of typefaces each one with a specific use. We have Script, Decorative, Monospace, Serif and Sans-Serif
Script typefaces have a hand-lettered look and tend to be harder to read in small sizes, all caps, or long blocks of text.
They generally convey an elegant feel and are often used for wedding invitations or greeting cards.
On graphic posts to share on the web, it’s usually reserved for headlines or small, decorative text details.
Decorative typefaces are ornamental. Since decorative fonts tend to have big personalities, they too are usually reserved for headings and decorative details when used for the web.
In monospace typefaces, each character uses the same amount of horizontal space. Each character is the same width, whether it’s a narrow I or a wider O.
These typefaces are often used for displaying code.
Serif and Sans Serif are the most used typefaces.
Serif are distinguished by small, decorative lines, usually at the top or at the bottom of the letters. These fonts tend to be viewed as traditional and formal, and can usually be found in the body of the text.
Sans-serif typefaces do not have decorative lines, and are often thought of as contemporary and modern. They are mostly used for headlines as they are easier to read and have a bigger impact among the other elements of the composition.
The last design aspect we need to introduce is color.
Whenever we work on any visual project you will have to choose a color for the background space, one for the typography and one for the decorative elements.
In order to make more conscious choices we also need to be aware of the communicative power of colours as colour is the first thing that catches the viewer’s eye and creates an immediate emotional response.
For example the color red is often associated with passion, confidence and ambition.
Green is positivity, growth, stability and nature.
Grey is timeless, balanced, and reliable.
When you design a post, make sure that the color you choose for the background and the typography matches the message that you are trying to communicate.
You wouldn’t use flashy colours for serious communications exactly as you wouldn’t use grey or black to design a post for a fun party invitation.
Color combination theory
Understanding Color theory is also useful to figure out how to combine different colours.
Using the color wheel we can visualise cool colours for calm and professional looking designs, and warm colours for more energetic and enthusiastic looks.
Moreover the color wheel help us find the right combination of colours for our needs.
For example, if we want to create a vibrant, high-contrast look and make something stand out we would pick two complementary colours, which are opposite each other on the colour wheel.
Analogous color schemes, on the other end, use colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. They usually match well and create serene and comfortable designs.
The split-complementary color scheme is a variation of the complementary color scheme.
In addition to the base color, it uses the two colors adjacent to its complement.
This color scheme has the same strong visual contrast as the complementary color scheme, but has less tension.
A practical example
To sum everything up, let’s go from theory to practice and create a design from scratch using Canva and the concepts we have leaned in this webinar.
Let’s go to Canva.com, and as we can se already in the homepage Canva recommends popular formats and sizes for your projects.
I want to create a flyer that will advertise this webinar on social media so I am going to choose “Instagram Post” which works great on other platforms as well, like Facebook or Linkedin.
Once the tab opens up we see our design space, where we will be designing our post, and on the left the main navigation sidebar from where we can:
- choose different templates,
- upload our own media files,
- look for stock images in the canva Image library,
- add elements like shapes, lines, frames or logos,
- add headings and subheadings and choose from different types of fonts,
- music tracks or videos,
- and background pictures.
For this design I am not going to start working from a template but I am going to start from scratch.
So the first thing we need to do is choose the layout organisation of the post.
I want to do something very simple with just an image as background and a rectangular section to contain the main heading and subheading.
The second thing we need to do is going to the image library and pick a picture.
Let’s click on “Photos” and here we have access to a lot of images which can be filtered by keyword.
I want my background to communicate creativity and technology so I am going to type graphic design in the browser and click enter.
These are all the pictures that contain the keyword graphic or design or similar keywords.
I am not going to choose the ones that look too technical as this is not a webinar for professional designer but for people that want to learn how to use technology to be creative.
I am also not going to pick pictures like this one here because, although it has the technology elements I need it’s kind of boring and has very little color in it.
Instead I’ll go for this picture, which has the technology element, since this person is working on a laptop, and the creativity element, with all these colours lined up around the computer.
Now the size and orientation of the image doesn’t fit our design space so I have to make it bigger by dragging the round handles in the corners so that it will cover the entire space of the background.
As you can see now the picture is not very aligned to the frame so if you double click on it and start dragging a grid will appear that will help you position it at the center of the design space.
I am going to leave it right there and click on done.
Now that we have our background, if I try to add some test on top of it we see that the text is not very readable because the picture is very busy. Even if I change the color of the text there are still too many distracting elements in the background to make it easy to read.
So to make the heading stand out we need to add a rectangular shape to contain our text.
Let’s go to elements, and choose the square element. Let’s modify the shape so that it envelops the text over the entire length of the background, move it a bit more toward the bottom, and here we are, now the heading is a lot more visible.
But I don’t really like the color. Although it goes well with the picture it doesn’t have enough contrast and doesn’t convey the feeling I want.
This reminds me ow autumn and pumpkins, I want something that communicates creativity and high energy, that’s why I’ll use the same color I have used for the slides of this webinar which is an intense purple.
To get the same exact color I need to go to the other project, click on the little colored square on the top left, go to new color and copy the color code.
Now I’ll go back to my other project, click on the top left colored square, new color, paste color code, and now I have a flyer that has the same colour as the graphics of the video which is great for continuity.
To be even more coherent with the graphic choices I made in the webinar presentation I need to use the same font in the flyer, which is a sans-serif typeface called Poppins bold.
So I click on the text and I can see the font browser on the top left, and when I type Poppins… here it is.
Now that I have the color that I want and the font that I want I can start typing my heading which is How to create captivating graphics using canva.
Let’s adjust the size so that it fits within the shape, and align it exactly at the center of the picture.
I need to change the spacing as well to leave some space underneath because I’ll add more text saying that it’s a free webinar.
I’ll change the color to make it more visible, and change the font, same family as the heading, Poppins, but instead of bold I want lighter weight.
It looks better now but still not perfect.
The heading and the subheading are still too similar in consistency, so I’ll change the heading from lower to upper case, and add a hollow effect to the subheading to differentiate it more from the rest of the text.
Our post is almost ready, but is missing something, a decorative element with a different color.
Since it’s a webinar on how to use canva, I’ll add the canva logo right in the middle of the design so the viewers will know immediately what the post is about.
I like the fact that the color of the logo is complementary to the purple of the shape as it creates a nice vibrant contrast.
I just need to resize the logo and align it to the middle, and here we go. A simple but captivating look created in just a few minutes.
All the elements in the design are in line with the main emotions I want people to get when they see it, and all the choices were made following the basic principles we talked about in the first half of this video.
I hope that this time together has been useful and given you new insight to bring with you in your next project.
Feel free to get in touch on social media if you have any questions or want to show me what you have created.