How to use Canva: Step-by-step tutorial for beginners


Thanks to advances in software, hardware and especially in the way that knowledge can now reach everywhere thanks to the Internet, in recent decades graphic design has gone from being a field in which only professionals in the sector could move, to become a task that we can carry out sitting quietly in front of our computer, which also does not have to have extraordinary hardware resources.

Before that, we had to go to a graphic designer for any printing need we had, no matter how small the design we had to do, it had to go through the hands of a graphic professional, since he was the only one who had the necessary tools and knowledge to be able to put it on paper and then pass it on to the people at the printing press so that they could reproduce it in series.

Nowadays, we can carry out all these processes ourselves, without the participation of third parties that can bring us complications or distort the idea that we have in mind for our design. This freedom that we currently have to be able to express our advertising or stationery allows us priceless flexibility, since not having to depend on the times and the value of the professional’s knowledge, we can modify it according to our needs. specific needs, without having to be aware of external factors.

Do I use Canva or hire a graphic designer?

It also allows us to save a considerable amount of money and time, since the fees of a graphic designer are high. It also makes it much easier for us to carry out that graphic idea that we have, since as anyone who has gone through the need to design and print, knows that many hours are lost going to and from the designer’s studio.

At this point we have to make an important clarification. In this article we are talking about stationery and advertising work for small businesses, which means that any other work that involves more than a few lines of text and a few photos or images should be done by a good graphic design professional, since nothing It can replace the knowledge and advice of someone who has learned for years to be able to offer serious answers to our graphic needs, especially when they are the printing of magazines, catalogs and complex prints that could not be carried out successfully without a designer. graphic behind.

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Everything said in the previous paragraph means in a few words that automatic graphic design applications , simple to use and completely automated with the correct parameters so that anything we do looks good, will never be able to reach the skills of a good designer. chart for complex projects.

Automatic graphic applications such as Canva are capable of offering us, in a few minutes, just by dragging and dropping elements, projects of good quality and aesthetics, however, in the long run, all the brochures and advertisements made with this type of app will end up looking alike, even for small companies that compete for positioning in a certain market, which can be fatal for them.

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Considering the clarifications, Canva is one of the most interesting graphic design applications in this type of market. That is why from this point on, we are going to start learning everything related to Canva, including its most interesting functions and features.

What is Canva and what is it for?

There are multiple online graphic design applications on the market, however there are few that really stand out for their qualities, one of them is Canva. Without a doubt, this online design app is one of the best that we can find today, since it offers a number of options and professional functions with which to create all kinds of graphic products, from the simplest such as internal stationery to the most complicated ones, such as brochures, that is, any other type of graphic work that we need to carry out for our company, business or even offer resources for homework or homework.

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But the best of all is that all the designs that we can make with Canva have a truly professional appearance in the end, as if they were made by graphic designers, since aspects of the field are taken into account, such as the importance of choosing the typography, line spacing and kerning appropriate to the job, the resolution, the final size on paper, if we want it printed that way, as well as other aspects that are more than important for the design, however, the end user should not worry about these things, since that Canva will be the one who will analyze all these elements to create a job with a professional presentation, and really simple to carry out, even by inexperienced users.

In this sense, we all know that the standard tools for the graphic industry such as Illustrator, Photoshop or InDesign are not easy applications to learn to use, even less so if we have no knowledge of graphic design.

Precisely this is what applications like Canva take advantage of, since they offer a truly incredible level of automation, which allows users who use these graphic apps to achieve their goals without being aware of the many details that are linked to a design job. professional quality, such as color separations, bleeding, image resolution and many other elements that must be known so that the work offers an acceptable aesthetic and technical quality.

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All these parameters are fully managed by Canva, meaning that all users have to worry about is arranging the elements they want to be in the post and Canva will do the rest. With this in mind, learn Canva, compared to Photoshop , CorelDraw! or other professional graphic design apps, it’s a fairly simple task, since what we will have to learn are only the procedures of the application itself, nothing more.

What can we do with Canva?

With Canva we can make all our graphic needs come true, regardless of the knowledge we have in the matter. As long as they do not require to be printed in large quantities and therefore involve the use of Offset or other printing processes, Canva is the easiest and fastest way to obtain our stationery without having to depend on anyone.

We know that graphic identity these days is essential to create a good image for customers. In other words, we cannot expect to take off in our business if we do not have a stationery store that is up to the standard of our services. However, many times the budget we have does not allow us to hire the services of a graphic design professional , a fact that can keep us stuck in a niche.

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In these cases, Canva is the solution for all our needs, even when we have the necessary budget for these things, since we can save a good amount of time. With Canva we have you covered from the initial design of the logo that will identify us to other design pieces that we would not be able to do otherwise.

Among the many types of graphic work that we can do with Canva are thumbnails for videos for our YouTube channel, documents, and presentations, which will allow us to design, among other things, ebooks. We can also easily design our internal stationery, covers for Facebook and YouTube, posts for Instagram and other social networks, virtual backgrounds for Zoom, mind maps, banners for websites such as Twitch or LinkedIn, resumes, brochures, flyers, newsletters, posters and infographics. .

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We can also design our business cards, make a geofilter for Snapchat , brochures and posters for all kinds of businesses, even our company logo, as we mentioned above. As we could see, with Canva and a little imagination we can bring everything related to our graphic work to a successful conclusion.

However, the best feature of Canva is that it allows any type of business, regardless of its size or specialty, to have a graphic identity that distinguishes it from the rest, and that this can benefit them financially.

With that said, we can start learning Canva

Learn to use Canva

One of the first features that we must learn from Canva is that it basically offers two modes of operation, a fairly automated assisted design mode and a slightly more manual mode, which allows us a certain flexibility when designing. The first of them we enter when we access the app. The second, by clicking on the “Create a design” button.

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At this point, the method most used by all users of the platform is the standard mode, that is, the one that we access as soon as we open the page. In this mode we will find all the preset design templates that Canva offers, and that are essential material to start working if we do not have any knowledge or study in graphic design.

Although these are templates with a high level of automation, that is, they already come with everything you need to show off, the truth is that if we want to change any of its parts, beyond of course the text and logos, we can do it automatically. the easiest way. For this , Canva offers the possibility of adding or changing some elements to enrich the design and that it fits perfectly to our needs, such as the typography of the texts, the background and the color palette, among others, for which we have We have at our disposal a vast library of images and illustrations of all kinds, as well as decorative graphic elements, and many other resources.

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In addition to the images, which Canva takes from services such as Pixabay or Pexels , well known for their quality and variety, this online graphic design app also offers us hundreds of filters to apply effects to images, icons and graphic shapes, hundreds of fonts free and royalty-free, already formatted to look perfectly balanced with the rest of the graphic and much more, which allow us to get on track without having to leave the app to get what we want.

Most of the graphic content that Canva offers is free, however, to access some of them we must have contracted a Premium membership. Even so, with the free materials that we have available, we have enough to carry out any task successfully. Either way we can always use images and other graphic resources that we have stored on the computer , so we can always give our design the look we really want.

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Design with Canva like a pro

Although starting to work and make a graphic design with Canva is relatively simple , the truth is that we need to know certain parameters of the app to start the task in good conditions and not have to go back to solve it. For this reason, we have prepared this tutorial that covers everything from the simplest, such as having our account in the service, to learning how to design with Canva in any of its modes.

One of the first things we need to know is that everything needed to make a good graphic design is found on the left side of the Canva interface, where we will find all the items to add or change the things we don’t like or don’t like. They serve as the template or the design that we are making from scratch.

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There we will find, in addition to the search button that allows us, by means of keywords, to find things more easily, the other tools to modify the typography and its color, the backgrounds or add more elements to the design.

At this point we must make special mention of the possibilities in terms of fonts, resources and images that we have available to add to our work, with which to give it a truly professional finish.

The possibilities in terms of text that Canva offers us are simply spectacular, since we can count on hundreds of excellent quality fonts, to which, in addition to being able to modify their size, we can also change their color, apply effects, transform their perspective or change its angle.

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However, one of the best features is that the fonts that appear with the selected design type are related to the design, which means that you will never find a typeface that does not match the general appearance of the design. Changing the font of a design is also a simple thing, since all we have to do is double click on it, with which a menu will appear in which we can also select if we want a “Bold” font, underlined or another color, among other options.

Another point where Canva offers an impressive gallery of images and resources is in the “Elements” section, which is basically a repository where we can find thousands of images and illustrations in vector format, which we can modify without losing their resolution. Here we can find free images ready to use that cover practically all our needs.

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As for the images, both to illustrate and to use as a background, Canva offers the “Photos” and “Backgrounds” sections, the first of which is a gallery with thousands of ready-to-use images of large size and resolution, which It will allow you to use them in all kinds of projects. In the second item, “Backgrounds”, we can find an impressive number of images that can be very useful to use as a background.

But in addition to these sections, we have other items that can be of great help when designing, such as the video section, which contains thousands of small videos that we can use for all kinds of purposes.

We also have the possibility of being able to add our own material, that is, images and others that we have stored on our computer, something essential if we want to add our logos or images. For this we have the “Uploaded files” section available, where we will also find a button to upload our own material.

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We also have the possibility of using images and resources from other sites such as Flickr, Google Drive, Pixabay, Facebook, YouTube, Dropbox and many more. All this can be found in the “More” section.

Step by step how to use Canva

Before we start, we should know that Canva is basically used by selecting and dragging. For example, if we want to add a photo, all we have to do is select it and drag it to the location we want. Taking the latter into consideration, from this point on, all the necessary instructions to use Canva as a professional graphic designer.

Step 1

The first step we have to take is to create our Canva account, which is completely free. To do this we have to access the main page of the service and register with any of the options that are shown there. These are the possibility of registering using our Google account, Facebook or using our email.

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Step 2

Once we have created our account and access the main Canva page, before we can do anything, we will have to see a mini-tutorial indicating the best ways to use the service, which, far from being useless, can be quite interesting to understand. a little more about its benefits and characteristics. Once the presentation is over, and we see “Tutorial Complete”, we will be ready to start creating our designs.

To do this, on this page we will find all the necessary tools to do it, including templates, the basis for all our next graphic works. There we will also find the “Create a design” button, which will help us to have more flexibility when making a much more personalized design, and which we will talk about later in this same post.

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Step 3

For this tutorial example, we will first select to use Canva templates, the most used form by the majority of users who use the service.

Make a graphic design with Canva templates

Without a doubt, the best way to address a graphic need for all those who are not in the field is to make use of Canva’s default templates , since these templates are the fastest, easiest and most effective way to solve all the problems associated with this need.

The predefined templates that Canva offers number in the thousands, in fact they are divided into multiple categories with the purpose of being able to order them better and that the user can find what he needs in the easiest way possible. Among the most used categories in Canva are templates for “Marketing” , “Social Networks” , “Education” , “Trend” and others, which in turn are divided into subcategories, such as, for example, in the case of Social Networks , with the subcategory “Post for Instagram” , which in turn are also divided into other topics such as “Summer” , “Offer” or “Food”.

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Undoubtedly a super oiled way to find what we need with the least possible effort. Of course, each image or work is adapted to the needs of, in this case, each social network, that is, each image that we create with the art that we find in these categories already has the appropriate resolution and size. The same thing happens with the image format in which we can have the art created with Canva, since we can have them in PNG, JPG and PDF formats. It should be noted that this methodology is the same for all Canva categories.

Step 1

To start creating a graphic design with Canva, the first thing we have to do is find the design that is closest to the idea we have, so the ideal is to search within the category that corresponds to the type of work we want to do. . For the practical purposes of this tutorial we are going to select “Facebook Cover Templates”.

Step 2

In the menu located at the top of the page, click on the “Templates” item. This action will display a submenu where we can choose the category to which the work we want to do corresponds. In this case “Facebook Covers”. After that, a number of templates will appear on the page to choose from.

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Step 3

We select the template we want to use and click on the “Use this template” button. As soon as we press this button, we will go to the Canva editor , where we can make the pertinent modifications to adapt it to our needs.

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Step 4

Once we finish our work, that is, add our logos and brands and modify the texts and images of the Canva templates to adapt them to our wishes, which we can do through the instructions and sections that we mentioned above, it will be time to download to our computer the resulting design of our work.

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step 5

In order to use the result of our design, we have several options available. The first is to download it to our computer, which will allow us to print it ourselves or have it printed.

In this sense, the first thing we have to do is click on the “Download” button located in the upper right corner of the interface. This will bring up a menu with some options, which are described below.

The first option is JPG, which, like the second option, PNG, allows us to have the result as an image that we can later include in any situation, such as the web or other editing programs.

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The second option is “PDF Standard”, which can be useful for sending by email or other means such as WhatsApp, due to its close relationship between size and quality. In addition, we have the third option, “PDF for print”, which is basically a large, high-quality PDF format that is compatible with the most common printing services.

Finally, there is also the possibility of downloading the work as a GIF or Video , depending on the elements that we have added to the work. We also have the possibility of sharing the work with other users, which we can do by clicking on the “Share” button.

Step-by-step guide to designing from scratch with Canva

Up to this point we have created a graphic design from one of Canva’s predefined templates, which as we know are really customizable. However, as we mentioned, this is not the only method available to design with the service, since there is a slightly more manual way, that is, a way in which we can add our own images, backgrounds, fonts and color palettes completely from zero.

The ability to start a design from scratch with Canva is really useful for those who have some knowledge of graphic design, but may not have the time, budget or tools to do it with traditional methods.

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From here, you will find all the necessary instructions to make a graphic design from scratch with Canva.

Create a design with Canva without using templates

The first thing we have to do to access this mode is to click on the “Create a design” button, located in the upper right corner of the main Canva page. This will show us a menu with some options that we can choose to speed up the work. There we can choose between some standard sizes suitable for poster, video, Instagram post, logo or a custom size, among others.

It should be noted that we will also be able to select between pixels, millimeters or inches, a very useful option if we are not used to dealing with dimensions in inches or pixels. We select the image size that fits the type of work we are going to do and continue on.

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Regardless of whether we select from one of the predefined measures or one of our own, the system will send us to Canva ‘s main editing tool, the editor , where it will present us with a blank sheet. At this point the real challenge begins.

Canva design secrets

Let’s start from the idea that we are designing a poster. For this reason, the first thing that we are going to select is going to be the background, which can be a complex image, that is, that represents a scene, such as a photograph, a solid color or simply an image that fits well in our design. It is also possible to use a white background, if our design requires it. All these resources can be obtained by searching between the “Photos” and “Backgrounds” items. We can even use any image that we have stored on the computer.

Regarding the type of background image, we must always remember that in graphic design color is essential , and a specific color can convey a specific meaning. Basically, the colors in a post are used to define the state in which the client will see the chart.

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That is why it is very important that we choose the right color palette for what we want to convey. To get a clearer idea about the meanings or states that can be exemplified by a certain color, we can do a Google search under the terms “meaning of colors”. We can also get more information on this topic or help on how to choose the right color palette for our project by clicking on the “Color Combinations” tool provided by Canva.

If we select a color, we can use the “Color Picker” tool, located at the top of the editor. There we can also change the color palette. In the case of having chosen a photo or other type of image as a background, we can, once added to the design in its corresponding grid, resize it, cut it, turn it over and use layers to form images that are much more complex than the original. Note that the newly placed image will automatically snap to the grid to fit it.

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Once we have chosen the correct background for our publication, it is time to add the other elements to it, such as text, photos, illustrations, logos and others. It should be noted that all these elements must be combined in such a way as to offer an attractive result to the client or public. Although this task may seem very complex, the truth is that there are certain visual aspects that, when used well, can help us a lot.

An example of what we are talking about is keeping the background of the publication as clean as possible, since a very dense image or color will later make it difficult to read the texts or to perceive the message. However, it is possible to use complicated backgrounds as long as fonts and other graphic elements do not overlap.

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To achieve the latter, we can always make room by removing non-essential parts of the background to make the text more readable, or apply some kind of effect to it to allow it to stand out. In the case of the images that we want to add to the design, it is always convenient to place them within a frame, which we can obtain in the “Elements” section in the side panel of Canvas.

Another point to keep in mind is that we must prioritize some images or texts over others. For example, our logo, or the most important text of the publication must occupy a privileged place within what is called “Visual Hierarchy”, which, as its name indicates, is basically the order in which the elements must be placed given their importance in the message. In other words, there should always be an image or message that is the focus of the design.

Another way to prioritize and allow all the elements that make up the design to take their place and still be perfectly distinguished is the use of effects, as well as good management of aspects such as the brightness and contrast of the background images.

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Another fundamental point so that the design of a publication is balanced and looks good is the selection of the fonts that we are going to use in it. Using the right typeface can be the difference between a boring design and one that is interesting. However, this does not mean that we have to use the so-called fancy letters, since we can easily ruin the whole work in the blink of an eye. Each typeface has its niche, it will never work the same way in an architecture studio brochure than in an inflatable rental business.

It is also unhealthy for design to mix too many typefaces, as the result can be unsightly. If possible, do not use more than two typefaces, which will result in a more fluid and clean design. And in this case, try to use complementary fonts from the same family. That is to say, combine “Bold” or “ExtraBold” with “SemiBold” or “Normal” or “Italic”, for example.

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In this sense, Canva has some characteristics so that getting the correct typography for our design does not become a nightmare, since it offers the possibility of using combinations of pre-established fonts, with which we will never fail in the selection. Plus you have hundreds of these combinations to choose from.

These text combinations can be found directly in the left panel, in the “Text” section. Once we choose one that we like, we drag it into the design, and of course we modify the content with our own text.

However, the biggest challenge to which we must pay attention so that a graphic design with Canva is attractive and at the same time interesting for the recipient, is the issue of the readability of the message. This means that the various elements that make up the design must be balanced and in fair proportion.

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If you want to know how to achieve these goals, from this point in this Canva tutorial we have compiled a series of important tips so that anyone, regardless of their knowledge of graphic design or the use of Canva, can achieve good results, which can be transformed into a good platform to grow our business or even improve our presentations for studies or home.

Top Design Tips for Canva

As we mentioned, Canva offers an outstanding amount of resources and options to give our design the desired professional look that only graphic designers can achieve, with much more expensive tools. However, it is also necessary that we know some secrets and parameters of graphic design that can be extremely useful for us to obtain excellent results beyond all the tools that Canvas provides us.

The first of them, of course, is the creation of its own graphic identity. Although this concept is complex enough to be summarized in a few words, it is possible to rely on a few precepts to get an idea of ​​what it means. The creation of an identity basically encompasses the choice of a logo, a slogan or type of communication with customers, and of course a color palette that unequivocally identifies us , in this sense, a uniform color palette is one of the best gifts that we can do to our enterprise or business.

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Now figuring out what colors go with our post or how to create all the other elements can be frustrating in many ways. But we must not despair. For example, if we click on this link , we can access a completely free palette generator that when we upload an image or photograph, will allow us to see the color palette that makes it up plus some colors that can complement it.

As with the color palettes, all the other tools necessary to create the graphic elements to develop our design are provided by Canva .

Another point where we must pay special attention when carrying out a graphic design is, as we mentioned, the balance of the publication. This basically means that the elements that make up the layout should be positioned so that their display is not hindered by being too close to each other and centered when needed, and not too close to the edges of the page, unless the design requires it.

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However, the most important premise to keep in mind is to keep the design as simple as possible, which means that we should never overload the publication with elements that are not important to it. This can confuse the recipient from understanding the primary message, due to the many elements to pay attention to in the design.

Professionals in the field of graphic design call this “Visual Hierarchy”, a technique that dictates the position and size of the elements of a publication according to the importance in the message. For this reason, a good way to do things well is to take this precept into account, and place things according to the importance in which they must be communicated.

This same system must be applied to the choice of font, which we have talked about earlier in this same post. If we mix many typefaces without criteria , everything will be an incomprehensible mess, but if we do it correctly, the message will come out the way we planned it.

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A very common mistake in design is thinking that the entire space of a publication should be covered by fonts or images. In graphic design there is something called “Negative Space”, which is basically the white space of any publication.

This blank space can be attractive depending on the type of message we want to send, since it can provide us with excellent support to highlight design elements such as text or images.

Finally, the best advice we can take is that before starting fully with the graphic design of our material, we take the time to first sketch it on paper, since in this way we will not lose focus of what we want, mainly due to the amount of resources that Canva offers.

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In this sketch we must include all the important information that we want to be reflected in the design, with all the images, logos, addresses, dates and others. This will ensure that when we sit down to design with Canva , we have everything we need so we don’t have to go back to include things we forgot to put.

It would also be more than interesting to have Canva installed on our cell phone, since it can make our work much easier, in the event that inspiration strikes us and we have no other medium in which to capture what we have just thought of.

In this sense , the advances that we make in the design will be reflected in the computer and the smartphone simultaneously, since although they are different devices, the accounts are synchronized, therefore any change in any of the addresses is stored. Immediately.

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It should be noted that Canva is available for Windows, Linux and Mac in a Web version, and for Android and iOS as downloadable applications from the respective stores.

Official Canva Tutorials

If you want to know more about graphic design with Canva , we suggest you read the official tutorials that Canva has prepared for us, and that cover a large number of topics, including very interesting Canva tips and tricks .

To access the official Canva tutorials, all you have to do is click on this link , which will take you directly to the official site.

Canva is free?

One of the characteristics of Canva is the large number of resources that the user has at his disposal to make all kinds of designs, which he can access for free, and with which he will be able to achieve the objective that has been set.

But like many services similar to Canva, it also offers other types of resources that we can only access if we pay a membership, which will allow us to have other content and tools that can take our work to another level. Best of all, the costs of this membership are not expensive at all, meaning that anyone can pay for them without much effort.

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The fundamental differences between Canva Free and Canva Pro are basically found in some more professional features, such as the possibility of uploading our own fonts, organizing our photos, illustrations and other graphic elements in different folders and others of a professional nature such as photographs and images. of stock that are not present in the free mode, that is to say aspects that the average Canva user will not miss.

But definitely the answer to the question in the title, is a resounding yes, Canva is free, since we have everything you need to make high quality and professional designs completely free just by registering.

Canva: The easy and free solution for graphic design

The last consideration before we start using Canva is that any work we do on the platform will not compete in design contests, since Canva is not designed for it. This design platform was developed with the aim that anyone can make a quality graphic design without having to pay anything.

This means that unlike a true graphic designer, we do not have to study any subject to be able to design, since Canva does everything necessary to make the work as perfect as possible . However, it requires a certain degree of commitment on our part, since like any other automated system, it is not 100% perfect.

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For this reason, we must be constant, and if in principle the design with Canva does not work out for us, we will have to try again, since in the long run, the effort will offer us excellent results, both in terms of design and in saving resources, especially if we are just starting our business.

In this sense, Canva is one of the best graphic design tools we can count on, and not trying it can mean that we are spending time and money on something that we could, with little effort, do ourselves.