Canva, Video Tutorial

How to Create Your Own Branded Patterns in Canva

Branded patterns are such a great way to make a statement with your visuals.

You can get some gorgeous patterns on Creative Market and Etsy, and Rachel from Haute Chocolate includes some gorgeous options in her monthly Graphics Pack.

Branded patterns are such a great way to make a statement with your visuals.  You can get some gorgeous patterns on Creative Market and Etsy, and Rachel from Haute Chocolate includes some gorgeous options in her monthly Graphics Pack.  | Think Creative Collective

AND, you can also find some great pattern options in Canva if you want them in your Brand colors. Even better, you can create your own custom patterns.

Watch the video below to learn how to create your own branded and unique patterns in Canva.

STEP 1: Select Your Design Size

Select the size you want to use for your pattern. Do you want a square, horizontal or vertical design? I usually create mine using 2500 x 2500 pixels.

STEP 2: Create Your Pattern

Option 1: Choose one of Canva’s existing patterns.
Go to the elements or background tab and scroll down towards the end to see the options. You can also type “patterns” into the search box.

Screenshot 2017-04-18 16.14.07.png

Pro tip: Try to select pattern options that are free.

  • Option 2: Choose one of Canva’s existing elements
    You can select an element like a flower, feather or even a coffee mug and repeat it to create your own pattern. Most elements allow you to change the colors to your own brand colors.

  • Option 3: Using your own elements
    Already have your own icons or elements? Use them in a unique way to create a custom pattern for your visuals.

Pro tip: Make sure that the elements or icons are seamless on all sides.

STEP 3: Downland and Upload Your Patterns

Once you’ve created your masterpiece, save it and download it in both JPG and PNG formats if the latter makes sense for your design.

Then import them into a patterns project folder or your Brand Kit section, so you can reuse them in your visuals with ease.

I’m excited to see what you create. Come show us in the TCC Community.

See you next time.
Nicholette

P.S. Please note that some of the links mentioned in this post are affiliate links.



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Canva, Video Tutorial

Why are My Canva Images so Blurry and What Can I do About It?

It’s so disheartening when you spend all of your time creating a new graphic in Canva, finally get it juuuust right, and then when it’s uploaded to your site or social media spaces, it looks blurry and crappy.

It sucks. It’s frustrating. You want to pull your hair out, or toss your mouse at the wall.

I get it, babe.

And the last thing I want for you is to feel frustrated with your graphics and with Canva. I want you to feel confident and empowered about the visuals you create for your business.

It’s so disheartening when you spend all of your time creating a new graphic in Canva, finally get it juuuust right, and then when it’s uploaded to your site or social media spaces, it looks blurry and crappy.  It sucks. It’s frustrating. You want to pull your hair out, or toss your mouse at the wall.   I get it, babe.   And the last thing I want for you is to feel frustrated with your graphics and with Canva. I want you to feel confident and empowered about the visuals you create for your business.  |  Think Creative Collective

So in this training, I cover:

  • The five (5) main reasons why your images might look shit-hot in Canva and like a blurry mess when you upload them to your social platforms.
  • Solutions. Solutions. Solutions. Because knowledge is your friend, and you really don’t need to be a designer to win at your visuals.
  • Other options, because Mercury Retrograde, Canva runs updates and the Tech Gods get bored.

First, let’s go over WHY I love Canva for Graphics

One thing we can all agree on, is that we need visuals in our business. Not just any visuals. Visuals with a consistent and cohesive style. Visuals that connect, convert and look crisp and clear. Am I right?

If you’re looking to create a quick graphic like an invite or a quick banner Instagram post, you can use PicMonkey, Adobe Spark and probably five other web based design sites that are equally awesome in their own way.

But for your business, you need more than a quick solution.  

You need to be able to customize your graphics, create brand templates and organize your whole visual strategy in one convenient place. That is why I love and teach about Canva.

If you’re looking for a web-based design tool to set up custom templates for your biz that you can tweak over and over again, a design tool that’s cost-effective, accessible from any computer, and helps you customize and organize your visuals for your business and your growing team, then Canva might just be your Design Tool Soulmate.

But, as with any design tool, there are pros and cons. It’s important to find the design tool that will work best for you, and learning how to use it well will be one of the biggest game changers for your business.

Now, let’s get to work on how to make sure your Canva images look crisp and clear every time.

1. Use the Right Dimensions

If you’re creating a website banner based off of a newsletter template, chances are that the resolution is out and that your image is being stretched and will look blurry. Always design for the dimensions that you need.

Most websites and social media platforms give the required size dimensions for images. Here’s an example of my banner size dimensions in my New Kajabi site.

If you don’t find the template option you need in Canva, simply create a custom size by selecting the custom dimension button.

Pro tip: Install Page Ruler, a Google Chrome extension that lets you get pixel dimensions and positioning and measure elements on any web page.

2. Facebook Compresses Images

Social media websites, especially Facebook, compress your uploaded Canva designs so that images and the site load faster, and to save storage space and bandwidth. This makes your images (and probably your gorgeous Facebook cover) look blurry.

There’s only so much that Canva can do to make your life easier.

To get the best results when uploading to social media, try these tips and tricks:

  • Download your design using the PNG file type.
  • Double the dimensions of your design easily with the Canva for Work magic resize feature and overcompensate for the compression. Canva personal users can create designs with custom dimensions from scratch.
  • Compress your image sizes without losing quality by using Tiny PNG or Image Optimizer.

See more tips on Canva’s Support site regarding blurred images here “my design looks blurry” and here “my prints look blurry”.

3. Use High Resolution Images

If your images are not high res, they will often appear blurry once downloads and more design elements have been added. High quality images are imperative for good design and professional images, and will give the impression of quality. If you are not able to shoot branded images, invest in really good stock photography. If using stock photography, make sure that all images follow the same style, and are ideally from the same person to keep it even more consistent

Using low quality images in your design could result in pixelated images or fuzzy text.

Pro tips: In my experience the only time when my high res images have looked blurry is when Canva had updates, and I could download my images in my different browser. Always save your design and then try another browser. Also make sure that you are not stretching your images or enlarging them beyond their resolution size. These will result in an inferior image.

4. Design Fundamentals

It takes time and practice to develop an eye for graphic design, to know how to use fonts and colors correctly so that images and text complement each other well.

The good news is that you don’t have to be a designer to create professional looking graphics. But you do need to follow these basic rules.

I often see small design mistakes that make images hard to read and appear blurry. The wrong font and color choices can have a huge impact on the quality and legibility of the text on your graphics.

Pro tips:

  1. Contrast is your friend. Use dark text on a light image and vice versa.
  2. Stick to 2-3 brand colors only. Less is more.
  3. Keep your fonts simple. Handwritten and script fonts are often hard to read. Add them over an image and people can’t scroll away fast enough. These should be used sparingly. When in doubt, stick sans serif fonts. They are usually easier to read.
  4. Simplify your design. Always look out for ways to simplify your design. Choose 1-2 main objectives, the text and supporting image for example, and make sure both of them stand out.

I like to have my image and main message be my hero and will make sure they stand out clearly. I will then add in my logo or other branding elements for interest or convenience,  but will soften them or have them stand out less, so that they don't compete.

5. Canva Runs Updates

It's important to understand that technology is frustrating. Sometimes your machine wants to run updates when you’re most fired up to work, or the Amazon servers go down (whaaat?), or Canva runs updates that affect the design tool and your work.  

As awesome as new features may be, it’s not so great when you can’t rely on your design tool to edit your images, your design doesn't save, looks blurry or your text boxes move around.

It’s hella frustrating, I would know. I work in Canva every day, I know first hand, but it comes with the job description of being an online biz owner and needing to tweak things, learn how to outsmart things or just take a break from them for a bit.

Don’t jump into Canva’s page and give them a piece of your mind and show off the collection of cuss words in your vocab. Not going to help. Instead, feel empowered to figure out new solutions. Implement smart workarounds.

So, what else can you do if you want to give Canva the middle finger / no longer feel it’s your design jam?

If you’ve gone through this list and Canva is still acting up, what do you do?  

You can outsmart Canva by making a copy and working in a new design or a new browser.
Take a screenshot of your design if it didn’t save, so it’s easier to recreate.
If it’s not downloading your fancy font correctly, pick a script or sans script font (ideally already in the Canva library).

What other options do you have?

Some of us only have eyes for InDesign, others swear by Photoshop or have it bad for PicMonkey. And since needing graphics in your business isn’t something that’s going away anytime soon, you need to pick one that’s going to meet most of your needs.

Try PicMonkey and Adobe Spark

Try to recreate your image in one of these programs. Make sure that you stick to your brand templates and the look and feel of your images, so that they look similar to what you have been creating and putting out for your audience. Need help? Send me a message here.

Anything else? (11:40)

Is there another drag and drop tool similar to Canva that helps you design stunning graphics in seconds, without needing to leave your web browser? Yes, there is.

And if you’re up for learning a new tool, it’s going to knock your slippers right off.

And it also offers pre-made templates (if you’re not confident with designing from scratch), the option to create project folders, upload images and your own fonts, and it allows you to design for print and web. WHAT? You can create business cards and add them to your cart to have them printed and sent to your home (currently only available to Australians).

The catch? It’s new, so don’t expect perfection. It’s has a free options (limited) and a 30-day trial period and, besides not having the full image capacity and functionality that I love in Canva, it's pretty impressive.

It’s called Easil. And it’s pretty FAB.

So if you’re up to learn a new program and you have some free time to dabble, check it out. You might be pleasantly surprised, just as I was.  

And if streamlining and automating your graphics and visual strategy is important to you, it’s the best alternative I can suggest.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and any questions you have. Jump into the TCC community and tag me @nicholettevonreiche with any graphics or Canva related questions and thoughts. I love hearing from you.



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Canva, Video Tutorial

How to create your own custom YouTube Thumbnails in Canva

YouTube is amazing. In just a few short minutes, you can learn how to do anything. Like how to create your own stand-out YouTube thumbnails in Canva!

Even better, you don’t need to have (or be) a YouTube Manager or a Graphic Designer to have a pro-looking channel. You’ll be happy to hear that Canva has already made it super easy for your channel to stand out and improve your click-through rate.

In today’s short training I’ll share how to create your very own YouTube thumbnails, so you can create your own unique style for every video and easily transform the overall look and feel of your channel.

YouTube is amazing. In just a few short minutes, you can learn how to do anything. Like how to create your own stand-out YouTube thumbnails in Canva! Even better, you don’t need to have (or be) a YouTube Manager or a Graphic Designer to have a pro-looking channel. You’ll be happy to hear that Canva has already made it super easy for your channel to stand out and improve your click-through rate. In today’s short training I’ll share how to create your very own YouTube thumbnails, so you can create your own unique style for every video and easily transform the overall look and feel of your channel.

But before we dive into the how, let’s cover why creating your own thumbnail is so important.

According to this awesome Canva post, 5 billion YouTube videos are watched every day. Your thumbnail is your visual connection to potential viewers, and it’s what’s going to help your ideal client decide whether or not your video is enticing enough for them to click through and take action.

Creating your own thumbnails is an easy way to stand out and have your ideal client subscribe, binge-watch and come back for more awesome tips.

If your headline helps you show up, then your thumbnail is what gets your ideal client to click on your video and take action.

Ready to learn how to create your own YouTube thumbnails?

You have full control over the first impression that your video makes, so don’t let YouTube pick a random image for your thumbnail.

1. KNOW THE BASICS (01:02)

Your thumbnails should be easy to read, on brand and easy to create every time, but it should also be simple for your ideal client to see and understand what your video is about. Keep your thumbnail design simple.

Pro tip: Go through and see what others are doing. Here are a few examples of channels that I think are doing a great job at their thumbnails — Bloguettes; Trips with Trena, Love Inspired, Alex Beadon, Jess Creatives, Jessica Rasdall, Studio DIY and, of course, keep your eyes on the TCCtv channel.

See how these YouTube channels have an individual personality, and are all perfectly on brand?

Here’s how to upload your own thumbnail to YouTube

1. With a new video — click the upload icon (third from the right), then upload your thumbnail.  

2. With an existing video - simply click on the video and select “Info and Settings” or the “Pencil / Edit” icons.

2. CREATE YOUR THUMBNAIL GRAPHIC IN CANVA (03:43)

There’s no need to create something from scratch. Talented designers have already done the hard work for you babe! They know what makes for a great YouTube design, now all you need to do is customize it and make it yours.

Step 1: Select a preset template
Simple, go to > more designs (see the + plus sign) and select the YouTube Thumbnail design under Social Media and Email Headers.

Pro tips: If you prefer creating your thumbnail from scratch, use a these dimensions: 1280 x 720px. Make sure to name your design so it’s always easy to find and search.

Step 2: Personalize and brand your templates

Add an image — Choose an image that’s relevant to your training, or that will intrigue your ideal client.

Add your text — Make sure your text is large enough so that it’s still easily readable when your image is reduced to thumbnail size in the search engines or on Facebook. Try to emphasise one major benefit of your video in your thumbnail.

Add your branding elements —  Change out the colors to match your branding. Add your logo or URL if it makes sense and see how you can personalize your YouTube thumbnail template without taking away from the main benefit and video topic.

Pro tip: Make sure your thumbnail and Youtube banner complement each other and use a relevant profile image so we can instantly recognize you.
 


3. BRAND YOUR CHANNEL

Now that you know how to create your own thumbnail, give your whole channel a make-over and add custom thumbnails to all your old videos.

Pro tips: I recommend using the same style but changing things up for different types of videos, playlists or challenges like I mention in the video.

That’s it! That’s one easy way to make sure you stand out on YouTube and create a consistent visual experience for your ideal clients. We can’t wait to see your new eye-catching thumbnails and channels!

TAKE ACTION:

  1. Tell us in comments below who we absolutely must follow on YouTube. Who's getting it right?
  2. Get creating in Canva. We’d love to see your fab new Thumbnails.
  3. Looking for more Canva template solutions. You can learn more about my designed-to-match Canva templates here.


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Video Tutorial, Canva

How to Batch Five Graphics in Five Minutes

One of the things I hear a lot as a Canva Designer is that people feel stuck on ideas for their graphics, and want to know how to create great looking graphics faster.

Well, the last thing I want you to do is reinvent the wheel every single time you sit down to create your graphics.

So, if you’re feeling creatively stuck with your visuals, then today’s training is perfect for you. I want to show you how to approach one visual and use that “style” to batch the rest of your graphics so you can save time and feel great about your visuals.

One of the things I hear a lot as a Canva Designer is that people feel stuck on ideas for their graphics, and want to know how to create great looking graphics faster. Well, the last thing I want you to do is reinvent the wheel every single time you sit down to create your graphics. So, if you’re feeling creatively stuck with your visuals, then today’s training is perfect for you. I want to show you how to approach one visual and use that “style” to batch the rest of your graphics so you can save time and feel great about your visuals.  |  Think Creative Collective

In this training, you’ll learn:

  • How to create a “design recipe” by using your brand elements
  • How to repeat that concept for all of your other graphics
  • How to save time and simplify batching graphics for your biz, and
  • How to create a consistent look and feel with your visuals.

I start off by creating one image for my blog post, and let that image inspire the rest of the images needed to promote my post.

1. CREATE A BLOG OR PINTEREST IMAGE (00:54)

Whether you’re starting from scratch or working from a preset template, remember to add visual cues and concepts that your readers are accustomed to seeing on your online spaces.

In the video, you can see how I mimic the basic layout of my Recipe Book Training to create a custom Pinterest image that “matches”.

2. A FACEBOOK POST IMAGE (02:10)

You can use Canva for Work’s Magic Resize feature to create duplicate images in different sizes (see first image below), or you can “drag” your new design into your preset template and adjust the design accordingly. Simply got to, Layouts > All your designs > and find the Pinterest post image you just created. Drag it into your new design and adjust (see second image below).

Both options are a great way to save time. I usually go with option two, as I want to make sure all my graphics look consistent with the my existing images for that platform.

3. A CONTENT UPGRADE IMAGE (03:11)

You’ll see me follow the same steps as I do with the previous image, making it easier to create a consistent look for all of my graphics. And, because I’m creating them all in one work session, I can easily see how they’ll “fit” together, and which images need to be adapted slightly so that they don’t all look the same.

You can easily do this by swapping out your background image for a plain color or changing out the main color for an accent color.

4. AN INSTAGRAM POST (03:39)

Your Instagram image is going to depend on your visual strategy for Instagram. You could do lifestyle shots with images for tips and videos in between (like I do here), or you could use the same image for Instagram as you use on your blog post (like Think Creative Collective does). Do what works for you (and your brand) and do what is easy to stick with.

5. MOCK UP IMAGE (03:51)

A mock up image is an easy and versatile image to promote your post on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest. See  How to use Canva to create your Product Mockups to make your own profesh looking mock ups.

And there you have it, babe. Five image ideas to promote your next blog post in just a few short minutes.

As I mention in the training, it helps when you create your images around a central theme. It will also save you heaps of time and frustration if you create them all at once.

If you’d like to feel super fancy and have your very own personalized Canva templates to play with, visit NicholetteStyles.com and poke around in the options available. You can also send me a note here.



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Canva, Video Tutorial

How to Create a Recipe Book in Canva

Calling all health nuts, fitness enthusiasts, whole-foods lovers, beach body badasses and any and all recipe creators!

Are you wondering if and how you can use Canva to create stunning recipes for your peeps?

Calling all health nuts, fitness enthusiasts, whole-foods lovers, beach body badasses and any and all recipe creators!   Are you wondering if and how you can use Canva to create stunning recipes for your peeps?  |  Think Creative Collective

The answer is YES, and I’m going to show you how.

Before creating custom Canva graphics and making the interwebs a prettier place one Canva graphic at a time, I studied Food Science and Nutrition, worked for magazines to develop, test and style recipes, studied Health Coaching, and edited (and tested) more recipes than I’d like to admit, so… you’re in great hands.

This is not a quick Canva tip, this is a master class that will take you from start to finish, showing you how to create a profesh-looking recipe book or guide in Canva.

Here’s what I’ll share in this master class:

1. The three things you need to do before you even start creating your recipe book.
2. How to set yourself up for recipe book success (learn from an expert!).
3. How to make the most of Canva’s existing ebook templates to save time and money.
4. Why I recommend focusing on the content first and the styling up of your recipe book later.
5. How to design your recipe template in Canva and the 5 essential elements to include.
6. Helpful tips and suggestions that will have your peeps salivating before they’ve even tried your recipes.

Grab your cutest apron and a notebook and let’s dig in!

VIDEO SUMMARY

Before you jump into Canva to create your recipe book or guide, make sure you have clarity on these three steps:

1. KNOW WHAT YOU’RE CREATING (00:35)
Sounds obvi, but so many times, people jump into Canva with their initial idea and then get frustrated that it doesn’t come together in minutes, or get discouraged when they see that they will need more pages than originally thought and they realise that they’ll need to rework their plan.

Save yourself time and frustration by knowing ahead of time whether you’re creating a FREE guide or a recipe book, and how many pages you’ll need.

PRO TIP: In my experience, one design is enough for a free resource or booklet. If you’re creating an ebook to sell, you might need more than one design (30 pages). Since you can only have up to 30 pages in Canva, you’ll need to split up your book into chapters or sections and use a program like PDFMerge or SmallPDF to combine them into a single PDF once they’re all done.

2. KNOW YOUR THEME AHEAD OF TIME (01:17)
Are you compiling a collection of gluten-free breakfasts or go-to lunches for boss babes who forget to feed themselves and resort to cheese on toast every day? What’s your theme?

Every single recipe book has a theme, so decide what yours is before starting. If you want to have two, create two resources.

3. SET UP A BRAND AND MOOD BOARD (01:34)
Every single project you create needs its own brand board and mood board. Your recipe book is no exception. What is going to make your peeps buy or download your recipe book over someone else’s?
The fact that you’ve taken the time to brand it from the start.

Your entire recipe book needs to have a cohesive look and feel and that all starts with planning out your brand board and mood board (see how to create an effective mood board in Canva here).

PRO TIP: Set up your Canva Brand Kit section for your project by updating your fonts, colors and graphics (if applicable) and then creating a photo folder filled with images that you want to use for your recipe book.

Having everything you need for your recipe book right at your fingertips is going to leave you feeling like freaking Nigella. Also see How to set your Canva account like a Pro if you’re new to Canva.

Cool beans! Let’s create your recipe book babe!

STEP 1: SELECT A PRESET DESIGN (02:20)
Canva already has some great template options to help you save time, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Take advantage of this.

Select a preset design by choosing the “+ sign” on your Canva Dashboard and then selecting the ebook template under Blogging and ebooks.

STEP 2: SELECT YOUR TEMPLATE (02:35)
Scroll through the options and select a template that you feel will meet most of the criteria for your recipe book, keeping in mind that you can change it as you go.

PRO TIP: It’s fine to select a free design if you’re on a budget, but do what you can to “fancy up” your recipe book by paying attention to the style and consistency and including food images if possible.

Bonus: Every Recipe books needs to have the following pages:

  1. A cover page,
  2. A Table of Contents page,
  3. An Introduction page (who are you, and what can we expect in this book),
  4. Your recipe section (with chapter dividers if applicable),
  5. A Call to Action on the last page (tell us what to do next!).

STEP 3: ADD YOUR CONTENT (08:46)
Enter your content and, once you’re ready to create your recipe layout, make sure that you create a template that will work for most of your recipes. You also want to make sure that your recipe template includes these five basic elements:

  1. The name of your recipe
  2. The yield and times (time to prep and cook/bake)
  3. A relevant high quality food image (if possible)
  4. Ingredient listing
  5. Directions

Bonus: Tips, variations or a notes section.

Screenshot_2017-01-25_15.58.48 (1).png

Pro tips: List your ingredients underneath one another in one text box rather than making a new text box for each line. This is going to save you a lot of time and stop you from wanting to eat a whole cake in one sitting after struggling with a million text boxes.

Do the same for your directions section, but try to add in numbers to help guide your reader through the steps so they know the order in which they need to follow them. Make it as easy for them as possible.

Ensure that you use the same style in both your ingredient listing and directions. For example, if you’re abbreviating Tablespoons to Tbsp. or T, make sure you use that consistently throughout. Also consider including a table on your Intro page for your readers to understand your style, e.g.

Tbsp = Tablespoons
Tsp = teaspoon
C = cup
Stick of butter = 8 Tablespoons

STEP 4: EDIT YOUR RECIPE BOOK (10:30)
Focus on the content first and then spend time editing your text and working on the flow, layout, consistency and wow-factor of your recipe book. This will help your brain focus on one specific area of creation and prevent you from doing double work.

Don’t forget to update your Table of Contents page as you go.

Pro tip: Consider adding links to your website, where readers can go to find more info. Also add in your website (www.yourwebsite.com) and page numbers in a footer section.

STEP 5: PRINT AND MERGE (11:50)
Once you’re happy with your recipe book, select the PDF for print option and merge your designs if necessary with PDFMerge or SmallPDF.


Pro tip: Consider having a friend or editor go through your recipe book for errors, and ask for their thoughts or improvements before making it available to your tribe.

Don’t forget to tell your readers what step to take next on the last page. Do you have even more great tips and recipes to share? Where can we find them?

That’s it! We can’t wait to see what you’re cooking up in Canva, babe. If you loooved this training, you can send your gluten free chocolate molten cakes over to NicholetteStyles.com, and if you want even more support, get in touch with me under the contact section. I’d love to help you dream up your recipe book.



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