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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Video Tutorial, Marketing

4 New Ways You Can Get in Front of a New Audience on Youtube

YouTube can seem like a pretty scary obstacle to tackle. Not only is it video (eeek, your face is now out there for the world to see!), but how do you create a video strategy that’s manageable for you?! What is a video strategy? What you do know is, if you are going to take on a new platform you want to have a strategic plan and have a measurable ROI from your new endeavor!

I feel ya! I am a mom to 2 little ones under 3 and I’m not going to take on a new platform that will suck up more of my time (I’m looking at you Facebook), let alone a platform where I need to get showered and dolled up every week just to film videos!  

YouTube can seem like a pretty scary obstacle to tackle. Not only is it video (eeek, your face is now out there for the world to see!), but how do you create a video strategy that’s manageable for you?! What is a video strategy? What you do know is, if you are going to take on a new platform you want to have a strategic plan and have a measurable ROI from your new endeavor!  |  Think Creative Collective

This is exactly why having a plan will not only save you time BUT will allow your videos to convert at a much higher rate. I plan out my videos ahead of time and film as many as possible in one day thanks to my video strategy. This allows me to stay consistent with my video content.

Why is it important to stay consistent with your video content?

Let’s Get An Understanding Of YouTube

YouTube has its own algorithm and SEO. And even though we don’t have the exact formula for algorithm success on YouTube, we know what YouTube likes to see in a video

1. Watch time

YouTube promotes highly valuable content and one way in which they determine whether your content is valuable or not is by how long people watch your videos.  

If people are clicking on your video and tuning out after 30 seconds, you are never going to get any traction on that video or your channel! You need to make sure your video is grabbing your viewers’ attention from the first 3 seconds (the estimated time you have before that viewer decides to stay and watch or say no thank you) and keeping their attention until the very end.

2. Engagement

Another way that YouTube determines whether your content is valuable or not is the amount of engagement your video gets in the very first 24-48 hours after it goes live. This includes likes (thumbs up), comments and shares.

The more engagement you get on your video, the higher you can expect to get ranked in YouTube search results.

3. YouTube SEO

There is quite a bit that goes into YouTube SEO and the metadata you should be including in each of your video posts. I do all this research when I’m crafting my video strategy. This way when the time comes to post a video, I know exactly what to include in my metadata. It saves a boatload of time!

But the three most important SEO pieces to your video are the title, what’s written in the description box and the tags you include. All this information allows YouTube to clearly understand what your video is about.

How can you make YouTube manageable for you?

Here are 4 easy ways to get started!

1. Finding The Content Your Audience Is Actually Searching

The worst thing to do when starting a YouTube channel is to create the video content you “think” your audience wants to see. In fact, you might even research their pain points and use them as your video titles thinking, “I know what they want!”

The issue is that sometimes those pain points aren’t actually what your target audience is typing into search engines. Not clearly understanding the keywords and phrases being searched in your niche means you won’t get your video in front of your audience. Even if it’s the most highly valuable piece of content you’ve ever created, it needs to be optimized for the YouTube search gods!  

By using tools like YouTube Search, TubeBuddy and Google Keyword Finder, I am able to come up with the exact video title I need to use to make sure that my audience finds me in search results on YouTube. This way I know I’m not wasting my time on content that is only going to get a few views and is never ranked on YouTube!

2. Providing Valuable Tutorials

One of the very best and quickest ways to get started on YouTube and grow your channel is by creating tutorials. Whether these tutorials are screen shares or video of you showing your viewers how to paint or use a camera, tutorials and how-tos are HUGE on YouTube.

People go to YouTube to find answers to their questions. Have you ever gone to YouTube and the first 2 words you typed in where “how to…”? Exactly!

Educational content is the very best way to start a YouTube channel. You are able to show your audience that you know what you are talking about and you are able to build your authority in their eyes. And let’s not forget, you are helping them solve a problem. It’s going to be a while before they forget you!

3. Going Live On YouTube

I know a lot of you LOVE Facebook Live, but YouTube also has its own live component. And the reason why I love YouTube Live is the searchability factor! (Psst! YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world!)

Yes, Facebook puts you at the top of the news feed when you go live and yes, Facebook Live is probably where you get most of your interaction, BUT is any of that interaction with a new audience? Is Facebook Live actually growing your audience?

The sad answer is no. Because no one will actually see your video unless they already follow you. You are not going to get in front of a new audience by sticking strictly to Facebook Live. And after a few hours or days, that video is pretty much lost on your page.

Going live on YouTube, if optimized correctly, could potentially mean that new viewers might find you while you are filming! Just like Facebook, YouTube is loving itself some live video and is currently giving all live videos a huge boost in ranking! So, once you find the keywords and phrases that your target audience is searching on YouTube, get on live and help them out! Added bonus: no video editing for you!

4. Repurposing Facebook Videos

But what about all the amazing Facebook live videos you’ve already done? And what if you’ve already promised your Facebook audience new live videos every week? Don’t stop! Just take it a step further.

Until Facebook has a searchability function, download your Facebook live videos, upload and optimize them on YouTube. This allows you to reach a new audience, plus repurposing this content saves you time! Who doesn’t love repurposing?!

A great way to start using your Facebook Live videos for YouTube videos is to host your Facebook broadcasts like you would in a pre-recorded format. Save your question and answer session for the end of the broadcast, then simply cut that part out in editing. You won’t have to do much editing to this type of video and it gets more content on your channel for new viewers to start consuming.

When you upload these Facebook videos just make sure you create a custom thumbnail and optimize it properly to get your content in front of a brand new audience!

Were you overthinking this whole YouTube thing? Didn’t think YouTube could be that easy, right? I get that a lot!



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Video Tutorial, Instagram

How to Create an Animated GIF without using Photoshop

You’ve seen them on Social Media, and you’re curious, “How on earth do I make a GIF?” Graphics Interchange Format (GIFs) are files that show animation or simple movement. They are a great way to add a little fun to your feed, show off some personality, stand out and change things up a bit. They’re the perfect mix between the two leading forms of communication, visuals and video.

You’ve seen them on Social Media, and you’re curious, “How on earth do I make a GIF?” Graphics Interchange Format (GIFs) are files that show animation or simple movement. They are a great way to add a little fun to your feed, show off some personality, stand out and change things up a bit. They’re the perfect mix between the two leading forms of communication, visuals and video.  |  Think Creative Collective


So how on earth do you actually create your own unique GIFs without being a Photoshop or Techie wiz?

In this short training I show you four (4) easy and fun ways to whip up your very own GIFs in minutes.

1.  CREATE YOUR OWN GIF USING GRAPHICS

This is where you create a set of graphics that will show movement or tell a story.

www.T4Bv3.gif

STEP 1: CREATE AND DOWNLOAD YOUR IMAGES

You can use Canva or Easil to create your graphics.

I suggest starting with the end in mind. Think about what you want the very last impression to be, then work your way back and plan your animation accordingly. You want to determine which part of your graphic will “animate” and which part will stay unchanged.

Tip: Watch the video to see a few more examples.

Now, download your images either as PNGs or JPGs.

STEP 2: CREATE YOUR GIF

I like GIFCreator.me. There are other programs you can use and most of them follow the same basic steps as outlined below. Upload your images and create your GIF.

I like this site because it’s clean, clear, user-friendly and fast. You also have full control over the Animation Speed. It’s so easy.

Here are the steps to your GIF-creation success:

1. Upload images from your computer.

You can upload up to 350 frames or graphics.

2. Resize your GIF, change the speed and order of frames.

You have full control of the size of your image and speed of animation (or delay). Just drag the frames in the order you’d like. You can also add more images if you want to. See your GIF appear in the preview window (see example in the image below).

3. Create and download your GIF

Select “Create Animation” and your GIF is ready to view, download and use.

Yup. It really is that simple.

2.  CREATE YOUR OWN GIF FROM PHOTOS/IMAGES.

The difference between option one (1) and two (2) is that you’ll be taking these images with your Camera or your Phone’s camera.

You still need to think through your story and decide which part of the picture you want to animate.

As a result, I suggest setting your camera on a tripod to keep it still, then styling your set and only moving the part of your set that you want animated after each shot. Taking enough images for each “frame”.

See the example in the GIF below.

www.GIFPhotos.gif

STEP 1: CREATE AND UPLOAD OUR IMAGES

As mentioned, set your camera or phone on a tripod and choose which portion of your set will animate.

Edit, crop and filter all your images in the same way (this is important) and upload them to you computer.

STEP 2: CREATE YOUR GIF

Open GIFCreator.me, upload your images. Change the speed and see how your GIF comes together in the preview window.

Then once you’re happy, select “Create Animation” and your GIF will be ready to view, download and use.  
 

WHAT OTHER WAYS ARE THERE TO CREATE A QUICK AND EASY GIF?

3. FROM YOUR PHONE USING BOOMERANG

If your phone supports the Boomerang from Instagram app, download it and start taking short little video or GIF Clips in seconds.  You can save it (top right corner) and upload it to your social media or share it directly from the app to Instagram or Facebook.

I show you how I create one in seconds at the 7:07 minute mark.

4. CREATE A GIF FROM YOUR YOUTUBE VIDEOS IN SECONDS

Team TCC is all about not recreating the wheel if you don’t absolutely have to. So…. if you already have some fab videos uploaded to YouTube, simply type the word “GIF” (duh) before the word YouTube on the video you would like to GIF and the URL will open up in GIFs.com

Mind blown yet? Try it out.

It’s pretty easy to figure out, but I show you at the 8:05 minute mark.

And that, my friends, is four (4) easy ways to create your own unique GIFs quickly and easily.

Your turn!
Permission to go GIF around. And don’t forget to share your thoughts and excitement with us in the Think Creative Collective Community.

We can’t wait to hear all about it.

See you next time.

Nicholette



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Trello, Video Tutorial

How to Use Butler for Trello So You Can Automate More Things

Are you ready to fall even MORE in love with Trello?!

Yes?

Well ok then, buckle up buttercup.

Butler for Trello is legit like a BUTLER for Trello. It makes things more automated and more awesome in general, and really fills a gap that you didn’t even know existed.

The basics: You give Butler a command and it does it automatically for you from that point on.

Are you ready to fall even MORE in love with Trello?!  Yes?  Well ok then, buckle up buttercup.  Butler for Trello is legit like a BUTLER for Trello. It makes things more automated and more awesome in general, and really fills a gap that you didn’t even know existed.  The basics: You give Butler a command and it does it automatically for you from that point on.  |  Think Creative Collective

Some examples:

  • Have a master calendar and have anything added to ANY other board in your Trello account automatically go to that calendar with the same due dates, etc.
  • Have a board just for your team and have any card that they’re added to in another board added to that board too.
  • Move things from a “future” board or list to a “this week” board or list when it’s due in 7 days or less.
  • Have cards auto-archive when marked as “complete”.

That honestly just scratches the service with Butler and Trello — they’re like the perfect freakin’ couple. #couplegoals

To get started, it’s actually crazy easy:

  • Go to ButlerforTrello.com and sync your Trello account to Butler.
    • You can select which boards you want to add Butler to (you can add as many or as few as you want).
    • This will add a “Butler” list to the boards you sync it with that houses instructions.
  • Head over to https://trello.com/b/2dLsEE9t/butler-for-trello to view basically ANYTHING for Butler inside a Trello board (that alone is great marketing, right?).
    • The two most important things here are both in the “instructions” column:
      • How to use Butler.
      • Command Builder ←-- this is uber important.
  • Head over to the command builder (link in that Trello board above AND in your “instructions” card in the Butler list on your synced boards). Or, ya know what, let’s make life easy — you can also click here.
  • Build your prefered command (refer to the video below for more here).
  • Insert your command as the TITLE of a card in the Butler list.
  • You will get the big green checkmark and an “understood” comment if it’s a command that is understood by Butler. If not, try again homeslice.

NOTE: Make sure that your list/board titles are written exactly (punctuation, capital letters, etc.) as they are in the boards in your commands — if not, you’ll still get an “understood”, but it won’t actually fire.

I’m telling you — this is a game changer and such an awesome tool for Trello users.

Eeek — go play for yourself!



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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.



Show us your pretty graphics on Instagram!