Fundamentals of Canva

Lesson 4/15 - The Canva Interface


Fundamentals of Canva


Lesson Info

The Canva Interface

So you'll notice that there's three sections. There's this drawer section over here, which includes these drawer icons, a search bar, and then a preview of what you're gonna be choosing. There's the top navigational bar, and then there's this area over here that we call the stage. The stage is where you're gonna be manipulating your elements, pushing things around, and making sure everything looks right. Let's talk about the header bar first. We have our Canva logo which takes us to the homepage. We have File, which tells us exactly what we're working with. So we know by clicking on this that I'm working with a social media graphic. We can see the pixel ratio, and then we can also resize this design. Now if I click on this, it's gonna make me, or it's gonna ask me to upgrade to the premium account, because resizing is something that happens in premium where you can take your existing design and it changes it all around, the aspect ratio and everything else, and does it automatically fo...

r you. Remember we were talking about how Canva can save you time? This is a great example of how that can happen. You can create a new design right from here so you don't have to go back to your dashboard tab, and you can save this. Now, something to note about Canva is that it saves automatically, and it tells you when the last time it has saved. You can make a copy of this design and work on something new that has maybe the same aspect ratio, and the same elements. And that's our File tab. Here you can see another way to get to the Resize. That little crown, whenever you see that, that means that it's a premium tool. So, we can start a 30 day trial if you want in order to try out some of those things. And here you can see a little preview of what that does. And I'll show you how that works a little bit later, where it takes one design and it automatically moves things around for you to create everything else that you need. I'll close that out, and another item in the top navigational bar is the Undo and Redo. This works pretty flawlessly. I haven't encountered any errors with it, and it goes back pretty far, so in case you're making mistakes in your design and you want to go back a couple steps, this is where you do that. A great keyboard shortcut for that is Command + Z, and Shift + Command + Z, and we'll get into keyboard shortcuts a little bit later as well. We also have a file that you can use that comes along with this course as a PDF that shows you all the keyboard shortcuts. Another item up in the header bar is the Help button. This will take you to a Canva page that basically gets you any information that you need. It's everything from billing and your account setup, to getting started with designs and basics. You can also look at some of the Canva apps that are also available. You can use Canva on any device, any mobile device, whether it be a tablet or a smartphone. And over here right next to that Help we have something that's not a button, but it's another version of how you can see what has been saved. If I make a change to this stage, it'll show me exactly when the last save was made. This is a really great tool because then that means that if something happens where your online connection breaks, or you find that you accidentally close a tab, Canva is saving your progress automatically. And again, you can always take steps back by using the Undo and Redo buttons up here. Right next to that change saver item is the title of your design. This is clickable and you can actually change that to whatever you want. All you have to do is type in Test design by me, and click Done, and then it automatically changes up there. This is great for when you have a lot of tabs open or you're working with a lot of designs, and you want to make sure that you're working in the right one. We'll get into file naming and structure a little bit later. It's really important to name your files properly in order to be able to find exactly what you're looking for, and make sure everything is organized. Right next to that button in the header bar is the Share button. This is a very important button, because this allows you to, take your design and get it to the places that you need. You can either share it with individuals who can then preview it inside of Canva. You're just gonna type an email address in here, and because I have an empty design, it's telling me that I'm gonna send someone a white design file with nothing in it. That's very handy, but once I have something in there, I'll show you what this looks like. And then you can also adjust the permissions of the person that you're sharing with, which is really cool because then that means that the person can either just look at something for review and make comments on it, or they can edit it themselves. This is another one of those time saving things that we talked about where you can share this with other designers and then they can have a hand in changing this to be what they want, or make revisions, whatever it may be. In addition to sharing with people you can share it with your social feeds, you can link a Facebook and Twitter account and write a caption, and then what you design gets converted and flipped right into those social properties. This is another one of those great time saving tools where you can go directly from Canva to the social accounts. You can also share as a link. This is a little bit different than sharing with people, because you're going to be giving something that can't be changed or edited. This link here, well you can actually designate whether it's edited or just view here with permissions. This is different because the people who are viewing this are going to be getting something from you rather than getting something from Canva. It's a little bit more trustworthy in that sense. You could send someone an email with this link coming to it, and then they can edit it from there. And then finally you can embed. This is something that can only happen with public designs, and I'll show you how that works, how you can make a design public a little bit later. This allows you to put a embed frame into places like a website, or HTML, that pulls in the content from Canva dynamically, which means that if you change the public file in Canva, then it's going to change automatically wherever you have this code embedded, which is a really great feature. So that's the Share button. Right next to that is the Download button. This one, you know what? I'm gonna, in order to show you something I'm just gonna fill this with a layout. I'm just gonna choose any template. All right, so here we can see, you can download different file types of your Canva design. A PNG, a PDF Standard and a PDF Print, oh and also a JPEG. I'll go over what these different file types mean, why some are better than others, and which ones you should choose. So with a Canva for Work account with the premium version, you can also make transparent background for some of your things, which means that you can be downloading graphics that you can place elsewhere, and have that background shine through. Right next to that button is the Order prints button. This is a great new feature of Canva, where you can take your design that you just perfected, and you can actually get some great printed materials from it. All you have to do is click that button, choose what you want, whether it's a business card or a postcard, or a poster, there's lots of different things to pick from. And then you're gonna click Update format. What that's gonna do is resize your graphic to the appropriate dimensions. It'll save it as a copy, and then you can order prints. And then finally in our header bar, we have the Make public toggle. What this does is makes it so that your design can be viewed by anyone who either has the link or has access to this. It's important for sharing to make your designs public, especially if you're going to be embedding them like we talked about earlier under the Share feature. Now let's talk about the stage. This is gonna be one of the more important parts of the Canva interface, because it's where all of the design magic is gonna happen. You'll have the gray sort of outer area here, and then the white inner canvas. Anything that's in the white is gonna be what's shown in your design, and here we can see our design size. Currently our design is sized to five inches by seven inches for this demo. And then we can also see page numbers. One interesting thing about Canva is that your design doesn't have to be a single page document or a single graphic. You can create multiple pages within one single design file. And to do that, all you have to do is go down here in the canvas, and click Add a new page. Here you can see the page number has changed. I can reorder the pages by simply clicking this up arrow, in order to change them, to switch them around. Same thing here, by clicking the down arrow I can shift that design down. I can also copy the current page that I'm looking at in order to make different variations on the same graphic within a single file. You can also delete page by clicking on the trashcan icon. You cannot however delete a page if it's the last one there. You always have to have at least one page in your design document. And then that's the canvas. Now the last part of the creation interface is this drawer system over here. There's a couple icons here, Search, Layouts, Elements, Text, Background, and Uploads. These are where you're going to be choosing the items that you want to add to your design. And let's start with the Search icon. So Search allows you to pick from over a million different images and graphics that Canva already has available for you. As an example, I'll type in artist, and see what comes up. So here you can see, I'm served up a whole ton of different images. These are both vector files, bitmap images, some great photography, and they're all free for you to use. There are some premium elements that you can purchase for about a dollar a piece, but for the most part for this demo, we're gonna look at some of the free stuff. You can choose between just photography, or illustrations. All of the illustrations are vector, which means that they have infinite scaling capability. It doesn't matter what size of document you create. You will always be able to have some fresh crisp art in there thanks to these vector files. In addition to Search, we have a Layouts section. This Layouts section allows you to start from a really great design that Canva has already curated. It's a great tool for making things really quickly when you don't have a lot of time. But you still need to make something your own and change it so that it works with your brand. We have the Search bar up here which you can actually search and find layouts for, and then we also have this button here that allows you to pick what kinds of layouts you want. Either layouts from Canva as we have selected here. We can also choose layouts from our team. This is a premium feature that we'll talk about a little bit later. We can pick from all of our designs, meaning that if you have a design in your dashboard that you want to reuse, you can actually select it and it becomes a layout in this new file. And then finally you have your folders. If I were to have a design in this folder it would allow me to choose from what I've already organized in order to put that and make that as a layout. And of course it gives you an opportunity to upgrade your account so you can access some of these features. Let's look at some of these layouts. They're really, really great. They're really well designed. I'm super happy, I use them all the time. Here's one great one, let's go ahead and just, you just drag it over there like that. And you'll notice something interesting that happens, and we'll talk about this a little bit later. Right here, this design is square, but when I drag it over, it turns into the aspect ratio of my stage, which is really cool. That's Canva doing the math for you, making sure that what you select is gonna work across everything, and that's a really cool feature, and the magic resize tool that we'll talk about a little bit later. But here you can see that everything that I'm clicking on, everything that I just dragged over is all editable. So if I want to change colors, or fonts, I can do that. And we'll get into that a little bit later in the element manipulation section. But here I just wanted to show you how you can drag and drop pretty much anything right over there. If you want to switch a design, all you have to do is drag and drop a new layout over. And it will change here. One thing that you'll notice, and we'll talk about that in a second, is there's this grid pattern over top of the image. That means that the image is a premium asset that you can purchase for about a dollar, or with something called Canva credits. The next item in our drawer is called the elements. This is, here I'll delete this so we can see this fresh. This is where we're going to find a lot of free photos and grids, and frames, and the basic building blocks of our design if we want to start from scratch and not use a template. The Free Photos takes you to the same thing that the search does, where you can pick any of these great elements here. You can also click on any of these icons to open up a sub-drawer to drag and drop onto your canvas. Here's the grid section, these are really cool. What you see here, the kind of clouds and fields image, this is just telling you that that's where an image can go, so you can make grids worth of images. All I have to do is drag and drop and you'll notice that the aspect ratio changes, which is really great. So we can pick different images that go inside of here. Grids is a really important tool for designers because it allows us to break up our canvas in a visually interesting and succinct way, in order to make really great designs. So I'll go ahead and delete that. In addition to grids, we have something called frames. Frames is a little bit like grids, but instead of having that column in between, which you can see here. See how it's a little bit divided? Frames allows you to have no columns whatsoever. So I'll go ahead and show you what that looks like here. It's also not scalable which means that the ones you pick should match the size of your design. Let me go ahead and pick a different one here. This is for, it's not going on the entire page. It's basically like grids, but it's without the boundaries of the canvas. You can click it and move it around wherever you want, and still add things inside of each one of the grid sections. They have some really cool ones that come with some colors over top of them, some different shapes. You have circle ones, there's lots of different really cool frames in order to put in images. One of my favorites are the devices. So let's say I'm creating something like, talking about a new app that we're working on. I can drag over a device as a frame, and then I can add an image of a screenshot that I've taken of our app and put it right in there. This is also scalable, it's a vector graphic so you can use it at any size. In addition to frames, we also have shapes. These next three are a little bit more basic. So with shapes, we can do things like rounded corners. We can do frames, lots of squares and circles. Again these are all vector graphics which are great, which means that we can use them at any scale. We can change them, the color in any way we want, and we'll get into this a little bit in a second in the manipulation tool. But just wanted to show you that you can just pick some basic stuff if you don't want to use some of the things that come in the premade templates. In addition to shapes, we have the lines. These are, it's a kind of shape but it's organized a little bit differently. Things like dotted lines, dashed lines, lines with ends to them, lines with different arrows. All very scalable, just different design elements that you can use, so you don't have to be making your own. And that's an important note about Canva that I wanted to talk about. Canva is not an element creation tool. It does not actually make these things, like say Illustrator or Adobe would, where you're really creating elements from scratch. Canva, like we said, is a design and layout program, where you're taking elements that I've already created and matching them, and also adding elements from Canva in order to create and manipulate your designs. Meaning I'm not going to create the shape in Canva, but I am gonna use some premade ones, or import them from Photoshop or Illustrator, or any design tool that I want if I have them. Another great drawer is the Illustrations drawer. This is where you can find some really great icons and illustrations to choose from. Again, all searchable, so I can say, I don't know let's say, let's say clock here. I can look for some really great clock illustrations if I want to add some icons, and match them up with my, hang on a second. So that was a good example, so I clicked on a premium item there. Here you can see the difference between a free and a premium, or a pro, graphic. Let's do a free one here. I can just drag it there, and we'll get into how to change that around a little bit later. But that's a great drawer that has lots of great stuff in it of great stuff in it. All right, let's look at icons. Now, there's not a lot of difference between icons and illustrations from a design point of view. The main difference is icons do tend to be a little bit simpler than illustrations. Illustrations will have many more colors sometimes, and icons can be used at smaller scale, and you can use a lot more of them at the same time too. Here we have a great bundle of line icons. Again, all searchable. You can pretty much pick whatever you want and drag them in there. One other drawer that I find I'm using more and more is the Charts drawer. This is really helpful if you're building things like presentations, which you can use Canva for. Where you can take different bar charts, line charts, and pie charts, basically any kind of chart you can think of, and you can manipulate the items in there. And then finally you have this final drawer over here that says I heart Canva. In case you want to make anything about Canva, they give you some really fun stuff. If you want to say Made by Canva, which I've done in my presentation, you can drag some of Canva's own assets over here. In addition to elements, the next tab down in our drawer section is the text. Text is an important part of any social media graphic or brand, because it's how you're going to say something. Your brand is not just how you look, it's also how you talk, and how you act. So with text, we can add headings, subheadings, and body copy, or we can choose from all of these premade fonts. Canva's done a great job of pairing some really interesting font combinations. Let's go ahead and drag one over, I can show you what that looks like. It automatically knows what color is in the background, so it went from light to dark, which is great. And then you can use this as a starting point to create some really interesting typography. Or if you don't want to use any of the premades, you can add your own headline, subtext, and body. Just dragging it right onto the canvas here, and create your own typography. The next drawer down is called the Backgrounds drawer. This is gonna be recoloring, or creating a design that goes on the back, your stage, this white area here. The colors are manipulated directly which means that you're basically creating an element when you're putting it on the stage. But it acts as a background element, and it goes behind all of your designs. It's a great way to add some depth to any of the graphics that you're making, and a little bit more pizazz, a little bit more spice to your designs. They have some beautiful free ones, and also some premium ones as well. And then the final section in your drawer is called the Uploads. This is where you're going to be finding all of your assets that you've created from your brand that you're adding into Canva. There's a couple interesting features here. We can do, we can upload our own images, there's a couple different file types that I'll talk about, about what you want to be able to upload. You can find all of your purchased assets, so if you're buying premium items, then you can find them here. And finally you can also link your Facebook account so that you can pull in some Facebook graphics. Let's say that you have an image from a holiday event that you want to add to a design that you're gonna put out as a thank you. You can do that directly from Facebook. Another great time saving tool of linking in your social accounts, so you're coming from Facebook to Canva, and then you can go right back from Canva to Facebook. And, that's the creation page, that's all of our items. The header bar, our stage, and our drawer section where you're gonna be placing all of your work. In addition there's one other one and that's the presentation toolbar down here. Here we can increase or decrease the size of our view of the stage. So just to note, you're not actually increasing the size of the stage itself. It will stay the same pixel ratio, or the same size as you chose, but it's just increasing your view so that you can zoom in. If you want to make any more detailed edits, that's how you're gonna do it. Then finally we have the presentation button. So if you're showing this or you're presenting something that you've done with Canva, I've used this for presentations myself, that's how you're gonna do it. You're just gonna login to your account, hit that presentation button, and then you get a nice beautiful stage where it takes up the entire screen at the proper aspect ratio. And that is the Canva creation tool. So we've gone over the dashboard. Oh and here you can see one of the designs that I'm working on. It automatically generates a preview for you in your dashboard, even if you're still working on it, Canva knows that you're working on it. So here's that test design, and then you could do a couple interesting things to it. You can make a copy of it, move it to the trash, and then you could also organize it by putting it in one of the folders you created.

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.