Learn to Use Canva: The Easy, Effective Design Solution for Non-Designers | Lisa Larson-Kelley | Skillshare

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Learn to Use Canva: The Easy, Effective Design Solution for Non-Designers

teacher avatar Lisa Larson-Kelley, Founder of Learn From Lisa

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Project: Create a Party Invitation Using Canva


    • 3.

      What is Canva?


    • 4.

      What Does Canva Do?


    • 5.

      Where Do You Start?


    • 6.

      How Do You Create a Layout?


    • 7.

      How Do You Add Text?


    • 8.

      How Do You Make Your Design Cohesive?


    • 9.

      How Do You Share Your Work?


    • 10.



    • 11.

      Explore Design on Skillshare


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About This Class

Demystify graphic design! Join educator and designer Lisa Larson-Kelley for this 25-minute class on the ins and outs of Canva, the friendly design software that makes graphic design easy, accessible, and effective.

These short video lessons cover some basic conceptual approaches to layout, text, and shape. Then, you can put them all into action as you design your own invitation in Canva.

This class is for the non-designer who wants to create something unique and beautiful without having to learn the Adobe suite. With Canva, everyone can be creative.

Canva makes design simple for everyone. Use Canva to create designs for web or print: blog graphics, presentations, Facebook covers, flyers, posters and invitations.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Lisa Larson-Kelley

Founder of Learn From Lisa


Lisa's mission is to help people make the most of technology. She's an official Canva Design & Training Expert, a Prezi Expert, and a prolific trainer and public speaker at conferences and workshops around the world. She offers corporate training and marketing consulting services through her consultancy, Kelley Green Consulting, and has a variety of courses accessible through her website, LearnFromLisa.com.

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Related Skills

Design Graphic Design
Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Welcome to the candle basics course, the class for non-designers looking to express their creative ideas in a whole new way. I am Lisa Larson Kelly. I'm a Web Developer with background and a degree in graphic design. I used to design footprint back in the day and then transition to the web. It's hard to master your own profession, plus have the time to become a graphic designer too. This is why I'm so excited about Canvas. So, here's what we'll cover in this course. I'm going to give you a guided tour of the Canvas platform, showing you around user interface, and then give you a look at some of the powerful advanced features. Your class project will be to create an invitation to a summer party using Canvas. You will follow along with me as we make this together. The current desktop publishing tools, who are complex and powerful, are expensive and often difficult to learn, and even if you learn how to navigate the UI and know all the right buttons to click, it doesn't mean that you will instinctively know how to create something that's visually compelling. Canvas was created to take the friction on the design process so that you can spend less time learning the tool and spend more time creating beautiful designs, from simple photos and inspiring quotes for social media, the elegant invitations, ads, book covers, and even sophisticated info graphic. By the end of this short course, you'll be well on your way to creating beautiful designs without having to master complicated software or sit through three-hour long art history lectures like I did back in college. So, let's get going and dive into Canvas. 2. Project: Create a Party Invitation Using Canva: In this course, we're going to create this summer party invitation. We'll need to choose a layout, edit the text, change the background image, customize colors of some of the elements, and then export it for both Web and print. Along the way you'll get familiar with Canva and learn how to use it in your own projects, whether you're creating Web graphics for banners or social media or even files to give to a printer for things like business cards or invitations. 3. What is Canva?: Your first step will be to create a Canva account. It's quick, easy and free. You could choose to log in using your Facebook or Google credentials, or create a new account using your email address. If you've already signed up for an account for Canva, go ahead and login. First thing that you see when you log in is this your designs page. Here you can access all of the designs that you've created or choose a document type up here to make a new one. You can choose one of these popular document types that are listed up here or click on the plus sign for more choices. Here we see a list of all available document types. There categorized in different sections like events, blogging, and ebooks, marketing materials, social media, and documents such as presentations, even ads in industry standard sizes. If none of these are exactly what you need, you can even create a custom size document. Just click Use custom dimensions here at the top and enter the width and height of your document in pixels. Click design and Canva will create an empty document at that size. Now, I'm going to go back, I'm not going to use that one so I'll close it and we're going to go back and choose one of these designs. I'll just choose wedding invitation, and it opens in a new window with the Canva interface. In the next video I'll give you a tour. 4. What Does Canva Do?: Here we are in the Canva interface and let's take a look around. Starting up here in the top bar, you can always jump back to the canvas homepage by clicking on the logo here or to your account page by clicking here on your designs. These items here on the top right all deal with sharing your design. You can describe and hashtag your design to make it easier to find. You can share your design or download it. I'll walk you through these features in more detail later in the course. Finally you can set the visibility of your design to private or public. Private means no one but you can see it unless you explicitly share the link with someone. If you set the design to public any other Canva user can find it and see it. Now say that you're working on a design with a lot of detail and you want to zoom in closer. You won't want to use the zoom feature in your browser or pinch zoom if your computer supports that. That will mess up the display of the Canvas interface. Down here in the lower left you can zoom in and out using the plus and minus buttons. Documents can have multiple pages in Canva. Here next to the document you can see the number of the page that you're on. In this case we just have one page. If you want to duplicate this page, just click on this little icon here. Then if you want to rearrange the order of the pages you can push the pages up and down in the order by clicking on these arrows and clicking on the trash can well of course delete the page. Now let's look at the tabs over here on the left. This is essentially your Canva toolbar. Starting the search this is where you'll find most of the elements you'll use in your designs. Lines and shapes, illustrations, icons, photos and so on. There also frames which are a special kind of element that allow you to crop and decorate your images. Grids are another special type of element that help give structure and order to multiple images that you may use in your designs. We'll see these in action as we create our invitation. The next tab is layouts. These are pre-designed templates that are fully editable by you. Once you select a layout and drag it onto your blank canvas, you can easily change the text and images and even move the elements around if you want to get really creative. These layouts are the heart of Canva. They make Canva distinctive from other design platforms giving you stunning layouts that can help kickstart your design. It's like having your own personal graphic designer instantly and you get to edit it however you like. Next we have text. Here you can add text to any pre-built or custom layout and next you could choose the background of your layout. This can be a solid color or a pattern background chosen from the default colors here or from a color picker or even hex code. Finally if you need to upload custom elements like a logo or a headshot for example you can do that as well. You can upload from your hard drive or right from Facebook or Google Drive. You can even drag an image from your desktop into the Canvas interface and it will be added instantly to your uploads. So, that covers the basics of the Canva interface. I'll go into a little more detail about each of the tools as we walk through our project. So, let's start it. 5. Where Do You Start?: So, here's the project we're going to work on in this course, an invitation to my annual summer party. To get started with the invite, I want to navigate to my account homepage at Canva.com. Now, from here we'll click the plus sign to access the invitation design type, and I like the square one, so I'll choose that, click on it, and this opens up a new blank canvas, here in Canva. From here, we can start customizing our design. First thing you want to do is describe and tag your design, so you can find it later, and others can find it if you choose to share it. So, we'll click on describe and tag up here and we'll call it summer party invitation, and I'll tag it 2015 invite. Click done. Now, we can see that our design is blank. The first thing you want to do is choose a layout. For those who are less confident in the design process, you can choose from a wide variety of beautiful pre-designed layouts which are fully customizable. They'd been created for every document type in Canva and reflect the variety of styles and themes, so that you can find the one that's most appropriate for your design. They can also serve as inspiration for your design when you're considering things like the arrangement of elements on the page, font pairings, and color pallets so there are many to choose from here, you could go ahead and click on one of those and it's created over here on your canvas and fully customizable. Now, for this project we want a little bit more control over the look and feel. So, we are going to choose a more generic design, just choosing one of these blank layouts here instead. Now, virtually everything in layouts is customizable. We can edit the background image, the text, and other elements of the pre-built layouts, like mines, for example. So, let's grab some text that we're going to throw on here. We can just pick one of these pre-built font pairings and all of this is editable. Of course, you can get creative by dropping in different background images, modifying the text, applying a different photo filter, and choosing different colors for your font to better capture the theme of your designs, and if you change your mind about one of your edits, you can always undo it by clicking this arrow right up here, and of course I do want that text there, so we're going to throw it back on. So, we've chosen our basic design, what we're creating and its layout, what it looks like, it's graphic style. Now, let's customize it with the details of our summer party. 6. How Do You Create a Layout?: So, the first thing that I want to change is the background of my invitation. So, the party is going to be at a pool. So, we want an image that shows that here in the background. Backgrounds are important. They can really set the mood and theme of your design. You can choose images, solid colors, patterns, or textures for backgrounds in Canva. Colors, such as black or white, can give a serious formal field to your design, where bright colors or bold patterns can be more whimsical. Photos can be bold and dramatic or quiet and contemplative. For this invite, I want something fun that communicates the theme of the party. Of course, we're in luck because Canva has a library of millions of stock images to choose from, right here in the interface. No endless searching the web for mediocre cheap or free stock photos. So let's go ahead and search for the perfect shot. There are two ways to search for graphic elements in Canva. You can enter a keyword here by clicking the search tab and entering the keyword here or you can search by category such as grids, frames, shapes, lines, illustrations, icons, photos, and charts. So, I'm searching for summer accessories and I want photos. So, I'll click on the photos category and I'm going to choose this image of flip-flops, this has the feeling that I want for my party, and here when you mouse over the images you can click the little i for more info about each photo. You can view the image details and even see the contributor. If you like that person's style or you want to find similar images, you can click on their name and all of their contributions will come up. Remember, as you're choosing your photo, you can always change the look of it using photo filters. This is another really cool feature of Canva. Adding these filters can really enhance your design. So, I'm going to go ahead and grab this photo that I want and we just drag it onto the background and there it is, and you'll see these cross hatch lines and a little Canva watermark. Those we'll be there until you export your design. So I'm going to add filter to this image. With the image selected, I can choose filter, and we've got all these pre-built, nice ones to choose from, we can do gray scale, you can just experiment with these and see what you like and then customize it, customize the contrast and brightness as well. I like the festive one, so we're going to have nice bright colors in this invite. Now that we have our background in place,, we'll move on to editing the text in the next video. 7. How Do You Add Text?: Now we'll want to edit the text on the invitation. Since there's some text here already, I can just edit it. So, I click on the text box and type in my new copy. Let's say you're invited to, and then we click on the next text box, celebrate summer. Now as you can see this type wrapped so we'll want to change the size of this type, just to make it a little bit smaller to fit in that space. Now I want to add some copy to the invitation. You're not constrained only to the text blocks that are in this template, you can add your own. So, I don't like this one, so I'm going to delete this text that's here now. And, now I'm going to go back up to my tabs here on the left, choose text, and I want to add a little bit of body text. So, I will drag that right onto my canvas and I don't like that typeface so I'm going to scroll up and chose something else, it's really nice that we get these previews of each of the typefaces, and I like Arvo I think that works nicely with this style. So, you can see again this is wrapping, in this case since I added this custom text box I can drag this handle on the left or the right to make that text box bigger so it doesn't wrap. I can also format this, I can make it bold, italic, uppercase and so on. I want to center this copy under here, so I'll choose center. Click off of that to close that context menu, what I wanted to say is the date and the place of the party. Now, keep in mind that when formatting your text, your header should be the largest text on the page, the subtitle should be the second most prominent element and your body copy should be the smallest and displayed in a font that's very easy to read. Sometimes choosing a font that's appropriate for your design can be a daunting task and identifying a good font pairing can be even more challenging. If you're not sure where to start consider using one of the pre-made text holders like I did here, which takes the confusion out of things like arrangement of text and selecting complimentary combinations of fonts. The great thing is that they're fully customizable. So as you choose one, you can tailor it to fit with your design, and if you want to add your own text like we did underneath here you have over 150 free Google fonts to choose from and you can play with the formatting of your text by using great features like text spacing. You can add interesting variety to your text by adjusting the line spacing and blocks of text or the actual spacing between letters known as tracking. Now that we have our background image in place and our text edited, let's step back and see what we can add to make the text a little bit more readable. 8. How Do You Make Your Design Cohesive?: All right. I love this photo. My text is all here with the info for my party, but it's kind of hard to read, right? Well, here's where these additional elements can come in handy. Let's add a semi-transparent box behind our type, so we can still see the image, but our text has a little more contrast and it's easier to read. So, we'll go to Search, choose Shapes, and we can choose one of these free shapes, this gray one. You can see, when you drag it over the image, that it's not really gray. It's a semi-transparent white box, exactly what we need. So, I'll put it in place here over my text. I'll grab the handles to resize it. Once it's in place, click Back on this menu here. You can see that it's moving down in the stacking order. If you go too far, it goes behind the background image. If that happens, you can click Forward, and it's right where we want it to be. Now, I'm going to also change the color of these lines in this graphic to make them a little bit more readable. So, when I click on those, I can choose from the color picker here. Let's say, I want that to be nice teal color. I can copy this color code, and I'll have that to be able to use with other elements in the design. Our invite is really coming together now. I think it's ready to publish. So, we'll go ahead and do that next. 9. How Do You Share Your Work?: Okay. Our project is finished. Once you're happy with yours, you want to export it so you can use it on the web or print it. To do this, you click on the download button up here in the top menu bar. From here, you can download an image for the web or as a high-quality PDF, if you plan to print your design. There are also some advanced features. If you would have more than one page in your design, you can choose which pages to print. This is common if you're working on a few different versions of a design and have decided on one that you want to use. If your project is going to be printed, you can also choose to add crop marks and bleed. Crop marks show the printer where to trim your design, and bleed will make sure that any elements that go to the edge of the paper will extend over just a little bit. Believe me, your printer will thank you for checking this box. Since we're creating an invitation, we might decide to get it printed and send it in the mail, the old fashion way or just send it via email. To send via email, we'll just need an image. So, I'll just go ahead and click as an image. Now, I see that most of the elements I used were free, but I used an image that cost a dollar. So, I'll use my Canva credits to pay for it. If I didn't have any Canva credits here, then I'd be prompted to enter my billing information to complete my purchase and finish exporting my design. Then, Canva prepares my image and saves it as a PNG. It's automatically downloaded, and I can click on it to open it up and preview here on my Mac and see the final product. Back here in Canva, I have the option to share my design via Facebook, Twitter or email. Now, if you want to provide someone access to your design, you can click on share and type in their email address here and it will send them this unique link. If you check this box, it will also be editable. Any changes the recipient makes will reflect on your end as soon as their changes have been saved and you refresh the page. Now, with the sharing feature, Canva makes it easy to work on projects with clients and other collaborators. No more emailing designs back and forth, you just send the link. Next, we'll look at how to export for print. Now, say that I want to invite my uncle to this party, and he prefers to get invites the old fashion way, walking to the mailbox to get his mail. So, I want a printable version. I'll go ahead and click download again, and open up the advanced options, then check the box to add crop marks and bleed. Then, click high-quality PDF and Canva's preparing my design. 10. Conclusion: I hope you enjoyed this quick tour of Canva and that you're feeling empowered to dive in and create some beautiful designs of your own. Canva has a lot of great design resources which can be found in their design school at designschool.canva.com. Here you can find interactive tutorials, they cover topics ranging from the basics, to topics like fonts, colors, and branding. There is also an incredibly content rich blog with great articles accompanied by beautiful images. For those of you out there who are educators, you can check out the teaching materials section of the site which offers free workshop materials as well as lesson plans from leading classroom teachers, and influencers in the educational technology space. Thanks for taking this tour of Canva and working on this project with me. Be sure to upload your summer invitation to the project gallery on skillshare. I can't wait to see what you create. 11. Explore Design on Skillshare: way.