Canva: what it is and how to use the best Photo Graphic Editor

Canva: Be social, be visual!

If you have good taste, adore details, but consider Photoshop too difficult, or have little time to create graphic designs, it is time to try the best alternative to Photoshop: Canva. This fantastic tool will allow you to unleash your creativity to create memorable content for your company.

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What is Canva

Canva is the best photo editor platform for turning your digital photos and graphics into original design products for free! With its flawless, intuitive interface, it is the most popular design program used by many bloggers, web editors, and marketing managers looking for eye-catching and engaging ‘content’ for their visual content strategies.

Using Canva means doing without over-complicated photo editing software and being able to feel like a professional graphic designer or photographer yourself! Make way, dear designers, because the design is finally within everyone’s reach, and creating visual storytelling graphics, Facebook and Instagram posts, presentations, digital brochures, CD covers, infographics, and newsletters has never been easier!

A little bit of trivia before you read on: all the images in this article were created with Canva and Canva Pro.


About Canva: yesterday and today

2007 | Canva (from Canvas in English) was born in Australia from a revolutionary idea of Melanie Perkins who, between one InDesign lesson and another in Photoshop, realized the need for a simpler and more intuitive tool for producing professional graphics.

2012 | Melanie Perkins, Cliff Obrecht, and Cameron Adams found the first version of Canva in Sydney.

2013 | Canva launches beta version worldwide immediately attracting promoters, bloggers, and small companies.

canva graphic design

2014 | Guy Kawasaki joins Canva and becomes chief evangelist (he had already held the same position at Steve Jobs’ Apple), with the aim of publicizing this innovative product, inspiring, building networks, informing the market and the company’s internal resources of Canva’s positive impact in professional terms. We are now at 150k users!

Having ideas is easy, it is realizing them that is difficult. (Guy Kawasaki)

2015 | Canva for Work is born, designed for corporate graphic projects (approx. 10$ per month), with 2 more sections: Your Brand, to save color palettes, define fonts, logos, and corporate watermarks, and Magic Resize, to adapt corporate graphic formats (including content) to the social channels chosen for communication campaigns. We are now at 1 million users!

2016 | Canva reaches 10 million users.

2018 | Canva operates in 190 countries, has more than 10 million active users and 100 million projects created, welcomes more than 250 people including designers, developers, artists, investors, and consultants from the most diverse places in the world, and is used for a wide variety of visual content projects not only by designers but above all by bloggers, photographers, and digital managers, both for personal branding and for graphics in companies. It is available as an App for Android, iPhone, and iPad (since 2014) and since June 2017, thanks to the Canva Print service, you can receive your creations directly at home.

To improve your visual skills and learn more about the potential of this platform, you can consult the Canva Design School section containing tutorials and manuals available in English only!

How to create impressive graphics: make the difference

The image is more than an idea. It is a vortex or group of merged ideas and is endowed with energy. (Ezra Pound)

Every day our brains are flooded with millions of pieces of information. Images communicate, stimulate emotions, and are often worth more than words! If they are engaging and associated with original and quality content, they can help to convey your messages correctly on the web, decisively influencing their sharing on social networks.

In the 2.0 era, where the image is at the forefront and the spread of fake news is the order of the day, we absolutely cannot ignore the use of images, photographs, and graphic designs to distinguish our brand!

create impressive graphics

But what is the origin of this visual trend? Studies show that 90 percent of information conveyed through images is more easily remembered by the human brain and that 90 percent of sensory receptors are concentrated in our eyes, allowing us to process images and information we receive 60,000 times faster; it is no coincidence that most big brands still rely on Instagram – the most visual social network of the moment – for their marketing strategies and that all smartphones in circulation are capable of taking high-resolution photographs.

The basic principle is very simple: an impressive image remains much more memorable! Imagine if your visual could also generate the same result!

People rarely read web pages word by word; what they do is ‘scan’ the page, identifying individual words and phrases. (Jakob Nielsen)

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How to create a graphic design with Canva?

Visual is the new black

According to the Content Marketing Institute of New York, visual content is the new black! It has been ascertained that adopting a careful visual content strategy to tell a brand’s story (exclusive photos, original graphics, eye-catching images, etc.,..) is more likely to achieve certain results:

  • Stimulating customer interest
  • Better storage of content
  • Winning the customer’s trust
  • Generating more likes, shares, and site visits
  • Increased engagement rate on social networks

Before we get into using Canva, let’s start with your new look & feel: think visually and be social!

web design layout

Think visually because the success of an article or post is often determined by the choice of a good combination of images, photographs, and infographics;

Be social because today’s communication cannot do without sharing on social media and because a post with an attractive image performs much better than text-only content.

Let’s get started! To access all of Canva’s services, you need to register with the site using your e-mail address or if you prefer your Facebook credentials.

Choose image format

As soon as you log in, you will find yourself on the Canva Home Page; to start creating your graphic work, simply click on Create Project at the top left, not before selecting the desired image format from these 8 categories:

  • Recommended for you
  • Social media posts
  • Documents
  • Books and eBooks
  • Marketing resources
  • Email and social media headers
  • Events
  • Ads

Each category includes a number of products. Social Media Posts, for example, contain Twitter Posts, Social Graphics, Graphics for Pinterest, Facebook Posts, Facebook Apps, Graphics for Tumblr, and Instagram Posts. By hovering your mouse over each preview, you will be able to see the measurements in pixels (width x height) proposed by Canva; if you want to customize the size of your image, you can click on Use custom dimensions at the top right and enter the desired measurements in pixels, millimeters or inches.

customize image size

social media post


Choose your image

It is necessary to start with a high-quality photo. Suppose you need to create a graphic basis for your Facebook postings; After selecting Facebook Post from Canva previews, you will arrive at a screen with an area for your work on the right, and on the left, an invaluable archive of images, patterns, functions, and photos for your backgrounds – some free, some for a fee (1$ each) -, lots of additional elements – grids, frames, shapes, lines, illustrations, icons, graphics – and texts in the most original fonts, which you can drag and drop into your workspace.

Let your imagination run wild! Here you can edit each individual element (both image and text) as often as you like. In case you want to use personal pictures you have on your computer or use a Facebook picture of yourself, you can upload it by clicking on Uploads, drag it into the work area, and start enriching it.

In addition, via the search bar in the top left-hand corner, you can search for more specific images by entering keywords and, if you are not completely satisfied with the selected image, try modifying its intensity or defining its brightness, saturation, and colors via the Advanced Options Filter button to give it a more extravagant or more delicate look.

For my Facebook post, I preferred to put the text in black by decreasing the font; if I needed to, after clicking on the image, I could change the font, alignment, and spacing of the letters thanks to the options in the menu bar. As you can see there are no limits to the tools: use them to better express your visual content!

facebook post

Facebook posts with Canva


post with canva


filter option

Filter Option


Personalize images with texts

With Canva, you can customize your images with catchphrases, claims, and call-to-actions with a wide choice of text and fonts.Choose the layout you prefer and start creating. Finding out how to write on photos is not difficult, simply upload the desired image, insert text from those proposed by Canva, and change the size, font, and color according to your taste and strategy.

To make the text stand out even more, try modifying your background image by adjusting its transparency. If you place more than one element in your work area, remember to use the Organise button in the top right-hand corner to bring your text or other graphic elements into the foreground or background.

Tip: always reverse the colors of the background and text to create a more harmonious contrast: always combine a lighter image with a darker text and always combine a darker image with a lighter text. To make your graphic design project optimal, these steps are essential.

Another possibility is to ‘make your images speak’ through one of the many balloons offered by Canva. The shape and style of the balloon should convey the mood of the inserted text: carefully choose the mood that suits you best!

For a design piece, there can be three answers: yes, no, and WOW! Wow is the one to aim for. (Milton Glaser)

post transparency

Facebook posts | How to insert transparency


image with background

Facebook post | image with transparent background



Download your graphic design

Once you have finished customizing your file, you can share it or download it using the appropriate buttons in the top right-hand corner (Share and Download buttons).

For social networks, choose the .png format: it is perfect for Facebook and avoids the annoying blurring effect of this platform. For prints and large formats, on the other hand, prefer the .pdf format. All your work will be stored in your personal profile; this way, the work you have created will never be lost and you will be able to take it back or use it for future work whenever you want.

images format


social media sites

Print your graphic design

Once you have finished your project, you can use the Order prints option to have your newly created graphics delivered directly to your home, specifying the desired format (postcard, flyer, A6, business card, poster, and invitation) and the printing options (sheet size, single-sided, single-sided, premium paper, satin finish, number of copies – minimum 25).

On the last screen, you will finally have to enter your contact details, and other essential shipping details and that’s it! You just have to be inspired by the images and try, try, try!

print graphics project

discover canva pro

If a picture is worth a thousand words to you too, come and discover how to design a visual content strategy with Digital Coach’s Social Media Marketing Course, or choose to play it by ear with the User Experience Course and learn how to grasp customer expectations and perceptions before your competitors do by using Canva like a pro.



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