Canva Design Basics

Whether you feel like design comes naturally to you, or you don’t, there are some fundamental design rules that good designers follow. Here are just a few tips to help your event flyers and calendars in Canva go from good to GREAT!

Find great pictures

  • Free Stock Photo Websites: There’s a variety of free stock photo websites that you can use. What’s great about free stock photos is that you can have a clear conscience (stealing = bad). All you have to do is use the search engines in the sites below to find what you’re looking for, then download high-resolution, great quality images.

  • Photos with Artist’s Permission: Flickr Creative Commons is another great place to find high quality photography. You can search under the “Attribution License” category, contact the artist, and ask if you can use their photo for your flyer. Typically, artists are flattered and just ask for a small attribution link or their name small on the flyer somewhere.
  • Google Image Search (the right way): I would not recommend just snagging a photo off the internet without checking/crediting the original source. But if it’s super generic (like a gravel background or a white wall), just make sure the image is high quality and labeled for reuse. When you use the Google Image search engine, make sure your settings look like this under your search bar in the “tool” settings:
google search bar.png


Stay away from images with a white background

Download clear PNG files instead of JPG files. Every JPG will have a white background. You can also search “PNG vector” after whatever you’re searching for if you’re downloading logos (like from a restaurant or your apartment complex). This will weed out all the white background images, and bring the images with a clear background into view. If you’re doing some kind of partnership with another company, ask them if their marketing department can send you a “high resolution PNG with no background” so that you can represent both their company and yours well.


Font Pairings

When it comes to fonts, more is never better. When putting your designs together, choose no more than TWO fonts and stick to them per design. Here are some general guidelines:

One font: Create contrast by using bold and light-weight versions of the same font.

one font.png

Two fonts: When choosing two fonts, choose between these options for the best modern design look:

two fonts.png
  • Condensed bold font + sans-serif font
condensed bold.png
  • Serif font + sans-serif font
serif and sans.png

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Less is more. Don’t feel like you have to fill up the entire page with text, pictures and design elements. White space/breathing room/margin is good for design and helps your audience to process the information being communicated.
  • Hierarchy matters. Try not to make everything huge and bold. Titles are important, so make those larger, sub-headings (3-4 points smaller) can be used for dates and times, and then any other descriptive information should be in 12- or 10-point font.
  • Establish a consistent color palette. The whole rainbow is amazing… in the sky :)
    • If you’re using an image, pull colors from the image to form your color palette and make your design more cohesive and professional. Need help figuring out which colors are in your image? “Eye Dropper” is an open source extension for Google Chrome which allows you to pick colors from various sources. Get it here:
    • If you’re using mostly shape elements and text in your design, we like for pre-made color palette ideas.
  • Use pre-made templates. Canva has an extensive selection of free templates you can use to drop in images and text hassle-free! If you’re new to this whole design thing, let the Canva professionals do the work for you!

Got more design tips for us? Leave them in the comments so others can learn! Happy Designing!

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