Jacqui Akers
Apr 19, 2018 · 9 min read

The Advanced Guide

In my previous article, I took you through the process of setting up your Canva account, all the way through to downloading your designs. As all designers are different, and will need to use Canva to serve a different purpose, I cannot identify each way one can use Canva to suit their needs, but I can advise you on what you should be keeping in mind when making use of the platform in terms of basic ad design. If you have not yet setup your Canva work space, read my article titled, “How Can I Create My Ads On Canva? — Part 2 (The Intermediate Guide)”, to get a step-by-step process for success.

“Problems are nothing but wake-up calls for creativity.” — Gerhard Gschwandtner (Founder And Publisher Of Sellingpower.com) @gerhard20

What Should I Watch Out For When Creating Ads On Canva?

In this article I will cover…

#1 Creating An Ad In Canva

#2 Make The Most From Canva For Work

#3 Know If Your Design Looks Good

#4 Canva Best Practices

Let’s dive in shall we…


#1 Creating An Ad In Canva

To guide you on creating your ads on Canva, we’ve jotted down the simple process for you.

Step 1: Select Your Ad Size And Type

Choose your ad type from the provided templates on your Canva homepage, or select “Use Custom Dimensions” and enter the required ad size. You will be redirected to your new design in a new tab, which will allow you to edit your creation.

Step 2: Load Your Images, Elements And Text

On the left-hand side of your dashboard, navigate to the desired image folder, or element section and choose which images, elements and text templates you would like to include on your design.

Rearrange these on your design, while keeping the below tips in mind (see next section).

Step 3: Customize Your Fonts And Colors

Select any text on your design, and uses the text tool to change its font, size, color, alignment, spacing and more. Select your background image or on-design element, navigate to the recolor tool and change the colors or use filter to create a stunning visual.

Step 4: Finalize Your Ad

Save your design and invite your teammates to collaborate on it with you. When you are happy with our design download it in the appropriate format for its purpose. Setup your advertising campaigns according to your goals and upload your new ad creative.

Creating an ad on Canva is as simple as that, and if you need to create the same ad in another size, simply make use of the “Magic Resize” or “Use Custom Dimensions” features available on the top left hand corner toolbar of your design’s page.

#2 Make The Most From Canva For Work

While I have taken you through the basic setup of your Canva work space, there are 5 points that marketers and designers agree upon when using the platform for their businesses. We refer to these agreed upon points as not the agreed upon best practices for Canva, but as the best ways to save you time and resources when using the platform.

Save Your Brand Kit

While many brands struggle to make their graphics align with their CI Guide, Canva makes this easier by allowing you to save your brand’s assets straight to the platform to keep your color scheme, logos, images and fonts in one, easily accessible place. This allows all of your team members to access the right style elements for your brand.

Make Use Of Branded Templates

The need for visual content is growing, and to create everything you need from scratch and within your brand’s specifications can be challenging. This is why Canva provides you with the ability to design and save your own templates to allow for better consistency between your different designs. This will ensure that each designer on your team has access to the general layouts your brand should be using, without needing to copy and paste from old designs.

Use The Magic Resize Feature

Each Social and Display platform has different sizing requirements for different creative use cases. To try and recreate these designs for each sizing placement can be a time-consuming, and not to mention mammoth task. Canva allows you to resize your designs to meet common sizing with the “Magic Resize” feature, meaning that you find need to search for custom dimensions and alter your images, Canva does the work for you, you just need to download each image you create before you move onto resizing it for another platform.

Make Use Of Custom Dimensions

Just as with the “Magic Resize” feature, Canva offers the “Change Dimensions” feature, This option allows you to change the dimensions of your existing design to suit your exact specifications — which might not present themselves on the “Magic Resize” options. This can be useful when you need to change your designs for banner ads, website headers or more.

Organize Your Work Space

Canva allows you to keep your images and designs in specific folders to help you organize your work space like a pro. This will not only allow you to maintain each brand’s assets in separate folders, will allow you to allocate different resources to different products, people and more.

#3 Know If Your Design Looks Good

It is exciting to tap into your creative side, but sometimes even the most professional and experienced designers overdo it or make basic design errors that impact their designs performance in the online world. In order to know if your design is good enough to distribute or not, you should ask yourself the following questions:

1. Does It Have A Focal Point?

As any artist will tell you, your visual needs to not only be striking and evoke emotion, but should be centered around a focal point that draws viewers in. Whether the viewer’s attention is caught by the visual, heading or text, the focal point of your design should speak to the overall point your creative is trying to make.

2. Does It Have A Visual Flow?

After a focal point gives viewers a place to start looking, then your design needs to be organized in such a way that their eyes can navigate the rest of the layout easily. This is achieved by using the hierarchy concept, referring to the way the rest of the design is sized, shaped and laid out, drawing the user’s’ gaze from the focal point to the next logical area. Because when design elements are all over the place without any clear organization, the eye doesn’t know where to look — the design has no sense of flow.

3. Is The Design Balanced?

Symmetry is the key to a well designed creative, whether vertically or horizontally, or even stemming out from a central point. The human brain finds symmetry attractive, but besides being aesthetically pleasing, a balanced design also has a practical purpose: it helps you establish a hierarchy for your layout and prioritize your content. Poor alignment can also throw a design off balance. Make sure text and other design elements are aligned with document margins and to each other.

4. Do Your Typefaces Work Well?

Typography is a key part of almost every design. So how well your chosen fonts work together has a big influence on the overall attractiveness of your project. If two typefaces clash, that might distract from your design’s content and message.

5. Does It Have Contrast?

Contrast is both visually appealing and functional — it can emphasize certain elements of your design, making them stand out as more important. Contrast does not simply refer to color. As a design tool, contrast can involve shape, scale, typography, or other elements. However, like with almost any other design concept, it can be overdone. You should make sure that the contrast in your design isn’t so dramatic that it’s jarring, unless that’s your specific intent.

6. Does It Have Harmony?

Colors have deep, subconscious significance — emotional, psychological, cultural — and can play a huge role in how your designs are perceived. You should ensure your design matches the mood or emotion you are trying to convey, while leading its viewers to take a specific action.

7. Is The Mood Appropriate?

Color schemes, typography styles, and other elements can give your design a definite mood — perhaps playful, serious, or sophisticated. You want to make sure those design choices create a mood that matches the purpose of your design, so you’re not sending mixed messages.

8. Does It Serve Its Function?

A design can look pretty, but still not serve its intended purpose as a communication tool. One of the challenges of graphic design is balancing form with function — you want your project to look nice and be visually appealing to its audience, while still communicating its message successfully.

#4 Canva Best Practices

Canva is a great resource when you need to create graphics. There are many opportunities to create content that you have to pay Canva to use, however with a little extra time and attention, you can use this site without having to pay a cent.

Create a Style Guide
When working with Canva you want to create graphics that reflect your project’s brand. Be sure to have a style guide with specific colors (and their HEX codes), fonts to use, as well as your center’s logo. This will make for an easier time when using Canva and having a style guide that works for you. This can be accomplished when setting up your Brand Kit, see our article titled, “How Can I Create My Ads On Canva? — Part 2 (The Intermediate Guide)”, for these steps.

Use Layouts
No matter what type of design you are making, whether an ad, poster or more, Canva provides you with editable layouts to help you structure your designs. And if you’re on the more creative side, and are looking to translate your own ideas onto your design, remember that each design you create needs balance, even a simple yet logical layout will give your design structure.

Different Download Options

As mentioned in our previous article, there are multiple download formats available to you on Canva. You should take advantage of these as different advertising platforms have different requirements when you upload your ads for various campaigns. Be sure of their request before downloading your ad to ensure your upload is of the required file size and quality.

Make Copies of Designs As you Make Changes

A/B split testing should be a part of your ad creation and distribution process, as you need to be able to identify what works and what doesn’t in order to put your best foot forward in the online world. When viewing your designs in their folders, you are able to use the small drop-down arrow to make a copy of your design and rename it as needed. This function allows you to easily adjust your ad based on your gathered insights, without losing the original version should you need to compare results or revert to it in the future. Just make sure you know which version you are using for which test.

Make Use Of The Collaboration Function
When sharing your designs image folders or design folders, you are able to select a view only option or an edit option. The view only option will allow your teammates to view your design but not edit it, whereas the edit option will allow your team members to easily make necessary adjustments to your ad, without needing to recreate it.

Use Canva’s Design School
Canva provides easy to follow walk-throughs that will help you use Canva to its fullest potential to best serve your design needs. Subscribe to their Design School to learn more about the platform, and become a design pro.


In this series of articles, I have not only introduced you to the Canva platform, but have guided you through the processes needed to set yourself and your team up for success straight off the bat. While many designers choose to use programs such as Photoshop, if you have limited resources and budgets, Canva provides you with a sound alternative — without lowering the quality of your designs.

Thank you for taking the time to read these articles. We are constantly striving to bring your more resources focusing on the world of sales and marketing to help you increase your chances of hitting your company’s revenue targets, so take the time to go through what we have on our blog, Inside Revenue, and check back regularly for new additions.

Inside Revenue

Helping sales & marketing teams hit their Revenue Targets

Jacqui Akers

Written by

Digital Campaign Manager @ FetchThem, love learning new technologies and strategies and helping others to learn about them too.

Inside Revenue

Helping sales & marketing teams hit their Revenue Targets

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