Advanced Techniques


Fundamentals of Canva


Lesson Info

Advanced Techniques

So now let's take a look at some advanced Canva techniques. We looked at some things like basic manipulation of elements, we looked at some general techniques, some design principles, now we're gonna dive a little bit deeper into the program because there's some things I wanna show you that'll really help you out a little bit. The first thing that I wanna talk about is some tricks inside of Canva. So in order to start this, I'm just gonna create another social graphic again, and again it'll pop up into my account. Here I have my stage, my header bar. I'm gonna go ahead and rename this. I'm gonna do Advanced Tricks and click Done. Now the first trick that I want to show you is selecting things in front or in back of other objects, and this is really important because sometimes we need to be able to get to a particular object, and it may be very difficult if there's a lot of things on your stage. So in order to show you this, I'm gonna create a bunch of different objects. I'm gonna do ju...

st a simple square and maybe a circle, an oval, and a triangle. Now all these are the same color, so just so we can distinguish, I'm gonna make them different colors. To do that, I'm gonna click on an element, I'm gonna click on the color selector here and just make them one of my brand colors that I've already put into my palette. Now I have three competing shapes that are all in the same stage. There's a lot of overlapping going on. And let's say I need to get to that square. Well, because this triangle's in the way I actually can't select the square, but I don't wanna have to move the triangle every time I wanna touch the square. The easiest way to select the square is to hold down the Command key, or on a PC it's your Control key. When you do that and you're clicking with your mouse you're actually just picking the next thing below, so if I'm putting my mouse here in the middle of all three of these guys, at first I'll select the triangle and then while holding Command it'll select the next thing below it which is the oval, and then one more time and it selects the square. This is a super-useful technique for getting to those hard-to-reach elements. Another trick that I wanna show you has to do with actually sending these objects to the front or back. Now that we know how to select them and get to the ones that we need that may be difficult to select, we wanna be able to send them backwards and forwards. The first way to do that is through this Arrange button up in our styling menu. If we click on any item, let's say I want this triangle to be in the background, I can click on Arrange and then I can do Back, and it sends it back one step. Here it goes back behind the oval. Everything has an order on your stage, and it's just sending it backwards or forwards in the new order. Unlike some other programs, there is no Send to Back or Send to Front. You're gonna have to step it through the various layers before it gets to all the way to the front or all the way to the back. And conversely, I can also just send it to Forward. Now you'll notice that we do have some keyboard shortcuts, so if you wanna send something backwards very quickly and you have lots of things that you're stepping through, just use one of these keyboard shortcuts, and it's Command + Bracket, Open Bracket or Close Bracket, and on PCs it's Control + Open Bracket or Close Bracket. So here you can see I'm just tapping both of them, and what's cool is it's showing you how many items are in front or behind this with this little guy up here. I don't know if you could see this little icon, see, it's got these dots and they're sort of flipping. This is saying okay, this is now all the way in the back, and if I keep hitting Forward a couple times, it's flipping it so that it's all the way on top. Just a little tooltip to let you know where on the stage your items are. Another tip I wanna show you has to do with the grids that we talked about earlier. Grids are a powerful tool to be able to quickly divide your stage into sections for really nice, balanced design. So first thing I'm gonna do is in my drawer I'm gonna go over to the Elements tab and then select Grids and then place the grids here on the stage. Now you'll notice that it takes up whatever the size of the complete canvas is, and you'll also notice that there's some space, some dividers in between these guys. Now we can control this, which is really important. We can also control the color of the grids themselves. So let's say I select my grid here, and again I can move it around or just keep it on the stage, and if I click Spacing up here I can actually adjust the padding of the gutters, or the margins, around each of my items, which is really convenient. It's nice and clean, it looks great, I can make things small or large, and the elements themselves are still all locked together in my group. And then the other thing I can do is select colors for each of these things in addition to the backgrounds. So if I wanna use each of my brand colors here, let's go ahead and make that nice and aligned, I can do so just like that. Again, grids are a really easy way to divide up your page, and you can control that spacing. Sometimes I like just nothing at all. If you want just three equal parts of color, or nonequal in this case, that's the way to do it. Another thing to note, if you click a new grid, this is very important, it will actually replace your current grid and everything inside of it. This is, it's a feature, not a bug. It's just something that happens, so you wanna be careful of it. If you drag something onto the grid, it completely replaces the entire thing. Basically, a good rule of thumb to remember is you can only have one grid per page. If you need something different, you need to divide but you need multiple divisions, then go to your Frames tab over here and you can select different sets of frames, resize them. One important thing to note about frames is that although you can select multiple frames, you cannot change the spacing between them. You can't change the gutter in between each of the elements. One last trick I wanna show you is in the File menu. So this is something that I've done. You saw me do it in some of the other segments, but I just wanna explain what happens. When I need to save something quickly or I wanna just ensure that it's saved, just go up into the File menu and then just click Saved. Even though something may say it saved a couple of seconds ago, I like to do it just to make sure. It's one of those things that working with an online tool, that can be helpful but also sometimes a little worrying. You wanna make sure that all the work that you do is not lost. So if I move something or change it, if it says Unsaved changes, I just go right up here and just click Save. The next thing I wanna talk to you about is the Magic Resize tool. This is an incredibly powerful tool that will take a lot of time out of your work when resizing elements. It's extremely efficient, but there are some things about it that we need to discuss. So in order to test this out, I'm gonna create a layout and show you what it looks like here. So let's go ahead and do this guy, and I'm not gonna change anything about it, but as you can see there's a lot of different elements here, a lot of things on the edges, something that's centered on center right in the middle, center text, there's a lot of things going on here which is great, it looks beautiful. But this is a good size. I need more than this. I wanna put this out across a lot of different social media platforms, so how can I resize this very quickly? Typically it would be a lot of legwork for a designer to make this into a separate file. You have to copy all the elements, you have to paste them all, you have to make sure that the things that you want centered are still centered or not, and it's just a lot of time. Here we're gonna show you what Magic Resize does. So the first thing I'm gonna do is make sure this is saved, which it is, and I'm going to close this out, and we'll see this on my stage here. So again, it takes a little bit of time to generate that preview graphic, but it's here. I know it is 'cause that's the file that I renamed, and I'm going to do something called Magic Resize. So I'm gonna click back into it, and up here there's a button called Resize, and you have a lot of different options here that it gives you to resize, and let me show you how this is gonna work. So right now it's the square social graphic. That's why it's grayed out and it says current design size, it's because that's the one that we're working with currently. If I wanna make this a couple more social media things, let's go ahead and click on those, I want it to be a Twitter post, a Facebook post, and an Instagram post. So rather than having to do this three times and copy and paste and change, I'm gonna click one button and we're gonna see what happens. So you hit the Abracadabra Resize, and what Canva is doing is loading a different tab for each of the items that I selected. Here you can see my browser. It's workin' through these three. So this is the one that I had, Advanced Tricks!, and here are the other ones, Twitter Post, Facebook Post, and Instagram. It takes a little bit of time, just a couple seconds, 'cause it has to generate them and then serve it up to you, but here you can see it's already taken all of my elements and it's put them all into one place, it's cropped it to where it needs to be, and all I need to do as a designer is make sure it looks the way I want. Now sometimes it works really well, like for these guys. This is very close to the original aspect ratio, which means that it's not gonna change a lot. It's gonna keep things that are centered centered, and pretty much align everything else, and in fact, that Instagram post is almost identical to the social media post. However, for some of these other ones that are a little bit different aspect ratio, it's gonna take its best guess as to what you would want to do with this stuff, and here it said okay, it looks like that if I just keep everything centered it will be nice, which works for the most part, but then it leaves us with some empty areas on the side. If I really wanted to make this graphic a little more powerful, I might take some of the elements like these dots here and just copy 'em, move them over here, copy it again, just to fill out my design, and that's all I have to do, whereas usually it would take me several minutes to resize a design. Here it's just a couple little tweaks, which is fantastic. Now there are some important things to note with this. First of all, let me go ahead and close all these so you could see what happens in our dashboard. So I'll close the Facebook post, I'll close the Instagram post, looks great, and I'll close that Twitter post, and I'll close the original too. Now if I go back to my dashboard, I'll reset my browser so I can see all of them, here you can notice that one of the things that Canva does not do is it doesn't rename your files. So as you're working through and you're resizing stuff, you'll wanna go right back in and rename these appropriately. Once it generates the previews, we'll be able to see which of these is which. It's just one of those little quirks that we'll wanna be careful of because they are now all named the same thing. So now we're gonna talk about some little quirks of Canva that will be really good to know if you're creating lots of documents. The first one is when you're importing items into your Uploads folder, so let's say I go into a file here, and I go down here to my uploads, here you can see some of the graphics that I've already uploaded. I got this little SVG guy. Let's go ahead and trash him. One of the things to notice is that you cannot rename assets after you've uploaded them into Canva. That means that if I click on this little I here, it gives me some information about that item. I can't change this name. I can, however, move it to a folder, I can re-download it if I want to, or I can just go ahead and trash it and get rid of it altogether. That's important to note because if you're uploading a lot of different images or graphics you wanna make sure that they're named properly so people can find them either via the search or from this menu. They wanna make sure that they're selecting the right one. If you have two images, let's say, and they're very similar but there's one little difference about them, make sure you note that difference in the title of the file so that people can find it correctly. Another thing to note is although it's great to be able to import JPEGs and PNGs, which you can do both of, I would not recommend at this time importing SVGs. It is possible, and if you go to Canva's site they give some parameters for it, however there's a lot of bugs right now with uploading SVGs. Previously you were able to change the color of the SVGs, but I find that it depends on how you save it, and you have to save it in a very specific way, and even then, a lot of times when I go to upload, it doesn't really work that well. So if you want something transparent, stick to a PNG. If you want a nice solid image that's a little bit lighter file weight, then you can upload that JPEG. Another quirk that I found that is interesting is with the edge selecting, meaning I'm clicking on a text box and getting just the edge of it in order to be able to move it around. This is something that, it doesn't always work the way you expect it to work so you just wanna be careful. So let's say I click on a block of text here, this example, and here I have a couple of text boxes. I'm gonna go ahead and ungroup these guys. Now sometimes the edge selection gets really finicky, so you wanna make sure that your cursor changes to that Move tool before you start moving that around. I found that if I try to get it over here it doesn't quite do it. It's just one of those things that takes a little bit of practice, but once you get the hang of it it'll be a lot easier to move things. If you wanna select some text quicker than this and you're really not feeling that edge selection, go ahead and just click and drag. That's the quickest way to get a text box, but even then you still have to move to the edge if you wanna move it instead of edit that text. Another great technique that is helpful for resizing your images is the ability to change the aspect ratio of the image. If I go into any image here, I'll go into Elements in my drawer, and then I'll go to the Photos section, and I'll just pull any photo from Canva. Some of these are really beautiful. Just check that out. Now if I click on these anchors, I can't change the aspect ratio. I can make it bigger or smaller, but it always stays whatever the pixel aspect ratio is. However, if I hold down the Shift key while moving this around, you can see that I can actually change that aspect ratio, which is really cool. Another thing to note about images is that if you make it bigger than the stage itself, the Crop option goes away. This is because Canva thinks that you're cropping the image naturally to the stage, and it's not gonna let you recrop it any different way. So if you find that you're working with an image and all of a sudden that Crop option goes away, it's probably because it's outside of the stage parameters somehow or outside of the entire thing. So here it's in a little bit, so it doesn't quite touch the edge, so I'm allowed to crop it so I just click on the Crop tool, it gives me a suggestion, I can move it just like that, I click Okay. So something for you print designers out there. Canva can be a really great tool to quickly create some print designs. There are two things that I found that it falls a little bit short, but with some workarounds it'll be fine. The first one is when you're working with very small items such as page numbers or small footnotes, it can be a little bit tricky to zoom in on them, and it's a little bit cumbersome because you have to use this tool here. Sometimes hitting the keyboard commands Command + and Command - can get a little buggy so you'd have to do this way and then scroll to where you need. Again, it's not something that completely breaks your workflow, it's just something you'll have to prepare for. And then the other item for print design that we'll wanna be careful of is there are no spread capabilities inside of Canva, meaning if I wanna design a flyer and it's a four-page flyer with a fold in the middle, print designers, you guys know what I'm talkin' about, you're gonna do spreads, you're gonna make two spreads and give that to the printer and then they'll be able to figure out how to print it from there. There's no spreads here, which means that if you wanna do a spread you'll have to double the width of your photo page size in order to get the size that you need. Another little tip for you typographers out there, when you're centering text inside of Canva, Canva does account for spaces at the ends of lines. This is a little thing, but it's one of those things that can bug me when not done properly. So let's go ahead and pull a piece of text onto our stage, and I'll go ahead and make it bigger so we can see by dragging the corner, and I'll center it here. Now this is nice and centered. I really like how everything's aligned, it's very balanced. I'll go ahead and ungroup all those items. Any of these text groups that you're dragging in are, (motor runs) (Matt laughs) any of these text groups that you're dragging in are automatically going to be grouped. So I ungrouped those and if I go in here and I put a space on the end, you could see that the text actually moves over. This is a nitpicky thing, but some type programs ignore the last text in a line when centering. This one does not. So if you're looking at something and it's just not quite centered, that's what you're gonna wanna take a look at.

Class Description

Beautiful graphics are essential in today's visual world. Canva offers users a free and easy way to create them. In Fundamentals of Canva, you’ll get to know all aspects of Canva and how to take full advantage of its powerful design features.

You’ll learn how to...

  • Decide what project Canva is perfect for
  • Customize templates and making them your own
  • Collaborate with others
  • Combine images and text
  • Build graphics for social media
  • Share and download projects

You’ll also learn basic design principles and how to create graphics that are as effective as they are beautiful.

The Canva makes it easy for anyone to drag and drop design elements into elegant, professionally-designed templates and this class will help you ensure that every project you create is top-notch.

Canva takes care of tedious work of and empowers designers to get creative. Join Matt Stevenson for Fundamentals of Canva and find out how you can streamline your workflow and get more done with Canva.