Last Updated on July 17, 2022
Canva tops the list of tools I use to power my business. Canva is such a flexible design tool that I use it to create several different types of content and assets for my business. If you’re starting a blog or business (or already run one) and are looking for a design tool that can do it all, Canva might be a great option for you!
In this post, I’ll take you through the basics of Canva, 8 top ways you can use it for your small business, and a Canva tutorial for complete beginners.
Canva is an online, free to use, graphic design platform. What makes Canva different from other graphic design software like adobe photoshop are it’s ease of use and huge library of pre-made graphic design assets.
Even though I have a graphic design background, I still choose to Use Canva for my small businesses’ needs. It saves so much time and energy required to make professional and aesthetically pleasing designs.
Canva can be used to design anything from a logo, to a website, to a journal, and more.
One of your first questions might be— is Canva free? And the answer is yes! Canva is free to use, but also has a paid version with access to more features.
That said, the free version of Canva has a generous amount of features to use for your small business including 250,000+ free templates, free images & graphics, and collaboration features.
For many, this makes Canva’s free version a valuable tool on its own.
I started with the free version of Canva, but found myself using it so much that I wanted to upgrade to the Pro version.
With the Pro version, you’ll get over double the amount of templates, 100 million + graphics and images, and several other features. Some of my favorites include:
Canva Pro costs $120 for a whole year, or $13 a month. If you’re not sure if it will be worth it for you, they offer a 30 day free trial to get started.
For most small businesses, Canva Free or Canva Pro will be enough.
Larger businesses should look into Canva Enterprise, which is meant for teams of 25 people or more. Plans start at $30 a month per person.
Yes! You can use Canva for commercial use. Canva was intentionally designed for this purpose. So, any images, videos, or elements that Canva allows you to use can be used for commercial purposes.
Meaning, you can use them for content, products, and marketing material for your small business.
That said, it’s important to mention a couple caveats:
To learn more about how you can and cannot Use Canva media for your small business, you can read more on Canva’s website.
So how exactly can Canva help your small business?
I’ve compiled the top 8 ways you can use Canva as a small business owner to give you some ideas:
What many people don’t know about Canva is that you can actually use it to design and publish entire websites!
If you’re looking for a simple and easy to use tool to create a website for your small business, Canva may be able to help.
It’s important to note that while extremely easy to use and lightweight, Canva’s website functionality is fairly limited at this point. Most notably, Canva websites are limited to single page websites.
If you’re starting a blog or e-commerce store, you’d probably be better off using a website creation tool more geared toward your specific needs like Shopify.
Still, with Canva, you can create gorgeous and usable landing pages within a matter of minutes.
Here are some types of websites you could create for your business with Canva’s website builder:
Canva websites are available to all Canva users, including free users. If you want to connect your website to a custom domain, or create more than 5 Canva websites, however, you’ll need a pro subscription.
If this sounds like a good option for your small business, you can either start designing your website from scratch or use one of Canva’s many web design templates.
Canva has hundreds of pre-made web design templates that you can customize to your exact needs. In most cases, I would recommend starting with a template.
Once you select a template, you can customize just about anything like you would with a normal Canva design. This makes it one of the most user friendly tools to create a simple landing page.
Probably the number one way I use Canva for my small business is to create social media posts.
Canva has templates for all sorts of social media post types including Instagram posts & stories, Facebook posts, Pinterest pins & stories, and more.
Canva takes so much guesswork out of creating social media posts. I never have to worry about using the right dimensions for my posts, and can create new social media posts in the click of a button.
There are tons of pre-made templates for just about every type of social media content you can imagine.
All of the graphics and images you see in these templates are included and can be used in your posts as well.
Best of all, you’re not just limited to static images as posts. Canva has videos, animated graphics, and animation settings you can use to create dynamic social media content.
You can choose to either use a template straight out of the box, or create your own completely custom design. I like to use a mixture of the two approaches, often starting with a template but heavily customizing it to make it unique and suitable for my brand.
One of my favorite things about Canva is that there are tools to help you in whatever stage of your business you are in.
If you’re in the early stages with your small business and need to create a logo, the hundreds of Canva logo templates available might help you.
Canva has logos for just about any industry and color scheme. Again, these are fully customizable, so you can make your logo perfect for your business.
Mood boards are a tool you can use to define your brand’s visual style and theme.
More precisely, they are collages of images, colors, and sometimes words that convey a particular “mood.”
These can help you in the early stages of creating your brand or website.
Canva has so many beautiful mood boards to start from. You’d be surprised how much goes in to creating an aesthetically pleasing brand— from color theory, to font pairings, and more.
With a mood board, you can create a visually compelling brand and aesthetic without a design background.
When you have a logo and mood that defines your brand, Canva can help you put everything together in a cohesive brand kit.
A brand kit is a document defining your logo, colors, fonts, and more. You can refer back to this in the future when creating content for your brand.
One of the best things about creating a brand kit on Canva is that you can actually save your styles to reuse in all of your future designs.
Here you can see my brand kit in Canva, which can easily be accessed in each new design I create.
If you’re in the business of selling digital products like planners, art prints, or journals, Canva can save you a ton of time.
In other design software, it can take hours to format something like a lined journal page or a planner page. Canva has hundreds of pre-made templates for digital products like this.
You can create an entire digital product in Canva, up to 100 pages, and export as a PDF to sell on your website or Etsy.
Canva is my go to tool for all of my Etsy products. I’ll simply export my Canva designs as a PDF and upload them to Etsy when creating a listing.
The export settings also allow me to export a separate, printer-friendly, version for my customers who would rather print their products.
Not only do I Use Canva to create the actual products I sell, I also use it to create listing materials like photos and videos.
On top of all this, Canva has templates for your Etsy shop banner.
Basically, you can use Canva for everything you need to run an Etsy shop selling digital products!
Canva is extremely flexible when it comes to how you can use designs that you create.
That makes it a great option for small business owners who run a print-on-demand store.
If you’re not familiar with print on demand, it’s a business model that allows you to sell custom-designed products like t-shirts, stickers, and mugs, without having to actually hold inventory.
Basically, you’ll upload a design to your print on demand supplier (I’d recommend Printful with Shopify) and you can integrate it with either a Shopify or Etsy storefront.
When a customer orders a product, they’ll ship it directly to your customer for you.
All you need to do is create the design, and Canva is the perfect tool to do just that! Canva allows export a design in several different formats including PNG and SVG which you can then upload to your Print on Demand service.
Do you ever wonder where Youtubers get super professional looking intros and outros for their videos?
This is something Canva can help you with!
Canva YouTube video templates can help you take your YouTube presence to the next level as a small business owner.
Since Canva has video editing capabilities, you can actually export your entire video within Canva.
Have I sold you on the many ways you can Use Canva for your small business yet?
If you’re a total beginner but are looking to get started with Canva, here’s how:
Canva makes it pretty easy to sign up for an account on Canva.com.
I like using Canva’s desktop app for my Mac so it doesn’t get lost in the tens of tabs I have open in Google Chrome.
Once you’re set up with the Canva app and account, browse the template options available.
As I mentioned, Canva has thousands of template designs you can use for just about anything you can think of for your small business.
If you’re not sure what you want to create yet, that’s okay! Select a template you’re interested in to get started learning Canva.
Canva’s interface is so easy to learn, even with so many different features. It’s a good idea to explore Canva a bit at this point and learn what’s available.
Here’s a few of my favorite features to check out:
One of the best things about Canva is the hundreds of fonts available to us in your designs. A good font can really make your design stand out.
With Canva, you’re no longer limited to basic fonts like Times New Roman and Helvetica.
To explore fonts, click on a text element in your design or “text” in the left hand panel. Then, click the font dropdown.
You’ll be able to browse and search fonts by name, type, and more.
Canva also recommends font pairs, or multiples fonts that visually compliment each other. You’d be surprised what goes in to creating a font pairing on your own!
In this text panel, you’ll see various examples of font formatting and pairing you can add to your design with just a click.
If you have a specific font in mind that you want to use for your brand, you can even upload your own custom fonts to Canva.
In the text panel, simply click “upload a font” and add a .ttf or .otf file to Canva.
Another of my favorite Canva features is the ability to remove a background from an image so easily!
This allows me to create professional looking graphics on a colored background, without that dreaded square background on individual images.
Take this lipstick for example.
To remove a background in Canva, simply click “Edit image” and search for “background remover”.
Select the effect and your work should be done. If the results aren’t what you expected, you can use the “erase” and “restore” features to fix the results.
Viola! The background has been removed.
If you don’t see the background remover feature in Canva, it’s probably because you’re using the free version of Canva. This feature is for Canva pro users, but it’s so worth it!
Curved text is a super popular trend in graphic design right now.
To curve text in design software like Adobe Illustrator is actually super confusing, but Canva makes it really easy!
To curve text in Canva, select the text element you want to curve.
Then, click on “effects” in the top toolbar.
You should see a side panel open where you can select “Curve”.
From there, you can adjust the curve amount to achieve your desired look.
These are just a few of my very favorite features in Canva! Ones that I rely on all the time.
If you’re looking for more information to get started, here are a few of my favorite Canva tutorials for beginners:
I hope this post gave you some insight into all the different ways Canva can help your small business succeed! Besides the internet, Canva is probably the top tool I rely on for my small business.
It saves me so much time and energy, and I couldn’t imagine running my business without it!
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