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How to Create Eye-Catching Social Media Graphics in Canva

mason jar full of paintbrushes

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, right? Well, in the online world, it’s worth millions. Literally. When you successfully design social media graphics, you can easily capture people’s attention, share your message, engage with your customers, increase your leads and conversions, and improve your brand experience. That’s why in this day and age, it’s essential to have great visual content.

However, not everyone is a skilled designer. And not all businesses have the resources to employ a professional designer. That’s where Canva can help.

As you may already know, Canva is a leading graphic design platform that enables users to create social media graphics, presentations, posters, and a whole lot more with its ready-made layouts. It provides options for images, filters, icons and shapes, and fonts – essentially everything you will need for an amazing design.

To help you maximize their features, we’re uncovering nine ways you can create eye-catching social media graphics using Canva.

How to Create Stellar Social Media Graphics With Canva

1. Browse Canva’s Many Free Templates

Before you begin creating, it’s important to identify your content goals, the social channels you’ll use, and the important details that will go into your design. Understanding what you want to achieve and having a content strategy in place will help you curate more relevant and well-thought graphics.

Canva has a wide array of professionally-made templates and elements that you can simply choose from to see which ones best fit your strategy. If you have Canva Pro, you can access everything for free. Alternatively, if you’re on the free version, take time to browse through the templates library and see all the available features before deciding if there’s something you want to purchase.

canva free templates

If you’re still unsure of how to start (or you have creative blocks), check out Canva’s Design Inspiration for creative ideas from great designs across the web. It’s also helpful to have a mood board where you can put together different color palettes, themes, images, and other visual pieces and identify which are appropriate for your project.

2. Stick With Colors That Are Consistent With Your Branding

With a variety of options, it’s challenging to decide how to create a distinctive style. One way to do it is to use colors that are closely related to existing branding.

On Canva’s basic color picker, you’re first shown eight primary colors. But, through the button on the lower right (circle with a plus sign), you can access a larger color palette that allows you to manually input your color hex codes that match your corporate branding.

canva color palette for social media graphics

Though it’s not mandatory to use the exact same colors, using similar ones across your posts in all channels can help you stand out and become recognizable online. This means that even if people see your graphics without any identifier, they can instantly know that it’s your design. Remember, your social feeds are extensions of your business, so you’ll want to use these to foster visual recognition and brand loyalty.

Essentially, having consistent colors gives identity and cohesion to your branding. It enables people to immediately recognize you regardless of where they are browsing online.

Bonus Tip: Use Canva’s Color Wheel to see what colors look good together. 

3. Choose Your Fonts Wisely

Fonts are another important aspect of your social media graphics because they give out different tones and personalities. That’s why it’s essential to try out different font styles to see what best fits your layout.

A good place to start is to use fonts that are close to your existing marketing pieces. Canva, however, only offers about 100+ fonts, so some business typefaces may be unavailable and you might need to do font pairing.

If you want to experiment, make sure to use only one or two fonts at a time. Pair those that create good contrast but complement each other. As a rule of thumb, never use more than two fonts in one design. It’s better to apply one font family and use their variants – italic, bold, or condensed – to create visual uniformity.

More importantly, use texts that are legible and easy to read to create effective social media graphics. Applying several different fonts may make it too hard for the audience to consume your content.

4. Include Your Website URL or Social Handles Within the Image

Give your audience easier access to your pages by positioning their links close to the image. Make sure the URL texts have sufficient contrast against the design’s background color so that it’s clear and readable. Alternatively, place a rectangular layer between the link and the image and add in some transparency. This will provide a visible position for your web addresses without blocking or disrupting the image behind it.

Bonus Tip: Another subtle branding option is to add your logo in a consistent location of each image. Just make sure it follows any corporate guidelines you may have.

5. Use High-Quality and Relevant Images

To create engaging content, use photos that can catch people’s attention in an instant. For example, studies show that images with dogs and smiling people tend to perform better, so you might want to consider having your staff members (or your pets!) as the subjects of your photos. Also, posts with contrasting colors often convert higher on social.

Essentially, having excellent visual content will keep people interested, so investing in thoughtful aesthetics goes a long way.

If the colors of your photos don’t make the cut, perhaps because of lighting, use Canva’s photo adjustment feature to tweak your pictures as suitable for your design. From brightness, contrast, and saturation to tint, you can play around the settings to get the graphics you desire.

canva photo adjustments

You can also use their filters to easily change the tone of your images. Applying custom filters in your posts creates a uniform theme that helps tie together all elements of your design.

Bonus Tip: Whatever image you use, make sure they’re applicable to the message you’re trying to convey and that they match with your design color and fonts. Again, consistency is essential here.

6. Resize and Optimize for Each Platform

As a marketer, you know how vital it is to post content that fits each channel’s unique requirements. Gone are the days when you have to manually crop (or worse, expand) your design only for it to end up looking terrible and having to start all over again. Canva has made it extremely easy to do this!

For Canva Pro users, you can fit Instagram posts into Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter in just a few clicks using the “Magic Resize” feature. This time-saving feature lets you copy and resize your designs to fit each platform’s formats.

If you’re using the free version, you can still optimize your designs by creating a copy of the original material. Then, click “File,” “Change Dimensions,” and choose the format you’d like to resize the design to fit. You may have to do a few manual adjustments, but it’s a lot better that having to start all over again.

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment…

Canva provides a ton of features that can make your designs stand out, so your task is to have fun when creating social media graphics that will grab the audience’s attentions and make them easily understand your message.

Here are some tips you can try:

  • Use frames or borders to add a solid line to your text. This helps draw attention to the message while providing an elevated vibe to your design.
  • Use lines to emphasize the words you want to stress or to provide balance and proportion with other design elements.
  • Use shapes to draw attention to certain words or images. Add in a bit of transparency so the background will not be totally covered (just like when you’re adding your URLs).
  • Use contrasting color palette backgrounds, fonts, or graphics. Light-colored backgrounds should use a dark font and vice versa.

8. …But Keep it Clean and Simple

Even if you have creative freedom (and many different features to work with), it doesn’t mean should use all of them together. It’s still important to know your limits and focus on creating a clean and cohesive design.

Make sure all the elements you put into your social media graphics are supposed to be there – aligned, evenly distributed, and properly formatted. Keep the colors, typefaces, shapes, lines, and frames to a minimum. For example, if you’re already working with a strong image, let the picture do the talking and avoid adding too many design elements. Also, use sharp lines and symmetrical designs to create uncluttered designs.

Keep in mind that your posts are supposed to draw people in, so your designs should be attractive, compelling, and powerful enough to get their attention.

9. Sign Up for Canva’s Free Online Courses

You’re finally creating amazing social media graphics. Great job! But the learning doesn’t stop there. If you want to know more, Canva’s Design School is here for you.

It’s a resource hub for the basics of design, including branding, design essentials, photo editing, presentation tips, and various typographies. You can even track and share your progress when you navigate through the lessons. It’s the perfect partner for your creative journey.

Start Designing With Canva – Today!

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned designer, these nine simple, actionable, and highly effective tips can help you create eye-caching social media graphics. Canva has made it so much easier for everyone – even those who think they don’t have a creative bone in them – to come up with stunning and engaging content. You just have to take advantage of all the features they’re offering.

We know that you’ll want your designs to be the best possible reflection of your brand. Everyone does. But to get to that, know that you will make mistakes along the way. And that’s totally okay. Much like everything in business, designing is all about trial and error. It’s an ever-evolving learning process. What’s important is that you learn to absorb feedback, keep designing, and pivot your direction to come up with better and more impactful social media graphics over time.

 Did you know that Canva easily integrates with e-clincher? Not only does it allow you to apply all these tips we’ve shared, but it simplifies all of your content creation and publishing processes.

Let us know what other creative Canva hacks you’re practicing in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.