Resources Mentioned

Tutorial Transcript

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You’ve probably seen other business owners creating all sorts of beautiful designs in Canva, whether it’s social media graphics or e-books or workbooks or whatever it is.

You may have had the experience of opening up a new design in Canva and trying to create all of those things yourself and found it feeling next to impossible to do.

Or everything you create looks like cookie-cutter templates.

They’re definitely not the beautiful, branded images and designs you want to create. You know, like the ones your favourite influencer has, that you badly want for your own business.

As a small business owner, you’re likely in a position where you need to create at least some, if not all, of your social graphics and online marketing designs.

Or, if you’re a course creator, you likely already know that you need to create a wide variety of course materials.

But you’re likely wasting too much time inside Canva trying to create your social media images and lead magnets, when you’d rather be promoting your business or digital course.

So I want to invite you to shift your mindset about how you approach Canva.

Please take the pressure off of yourself.

You do NOT have to design from scratch.

I officially give you permission to never have to create a design from scratch again.

No more staring at a blank Canva design editor page.

Use templates. Templates are your best friend, and you have so many of them out there to choose from.

There is zero judgment if you don’t create from scratch… in fact, it’s often the very best decision you could make in terms of your Canva time.

So why is a template so helpful?

Reduced Frustration

First, they can save a TON of frustration. If design isn’t your zone of genius, having to create from scratch may leave you wanting to tear your hair out, burst into tears, or throw your computer out the window. It’s how I feel if I have to do my own accounting… which is why I haven’t done my own accounting in many, many years.

Save Time

Next, it saves SO much time – otherwise you could spend hours creating a design… back to that “how much is your time worth” question; using a template frees you up to work on the roles and tasks in your business that make you money and that fall within your zone of genius.

More Professional

It often results in creating a more professional looking design – because it is designed by a professional designer who understands layout, balance, spacing, and so on. And I know you’re looking to create content in Canva that looks less DIY and more professional, so this can be a massive shortcut to achieving that goal.

Design Inspiration

And finally, templates can also provide you with plenty of inspiration for how to use Canva in ways you hadn’t previously thought of. For example you may see elements combined in ways you wouldn’t have thought to do yourself.

Categories of Templates

I like to break templates down into two categories.

First you have Canva’s own template from their template library, many of which are free regardless of whether you’re on a free or pro plan.

But an increasingly popular option is to purchase a template pack or membership from one of the growing number of template shops out there.

In those third party template shops, a lot of wonderful designers have done the heavy lifting for you in terms of designing templates for the kinds of graphics and documents that you may be wanting to create, so that you don’t HAVE to spend hours designing that perfect e-guide layout or whatever it is you’re trying to create.

While this is a paid option, whereas the templates Canva provides are included in your Canva subscription cost, ultimately it can often be a much more effective solution if you’re not finding quite what you need in Canva’s template library.

How to Find Templates in Canva

But assuming you want to stick with Canva’s own template library, let’s take a super quick look at how you can find templates that fit your needs.

When you’re on your main Canva homepage, you will see a Templates option here in the left hand navigation.

And when you click on “Templates” you will open up a template library that looks something like this.

So let’s do a search for an Instagram Post template… and now it’s going to give me some results. In fact, it’s going to give me a LOT of results.

If I wanted to just create a blank instagram post design, I could click on this option with the plus sign, but if you’re in the templates library, it’s more likely that you’re looking for a pre-designed template.

Now, like I said, depending on what you search for, you may get a LOT of results, and this right here is an overwhelming number, so let’s filter the results to make this feel a little more manageable.

You’ll see an option at the top of the results page called “all filters.”

When I select that filter option, it will pop up a variety of filters that you can use to narrow down your template results.

I’ve already selected the category, so now I might want to significantly narrow the options by choosing the Portrait format size to only show me Instagram post templates in the new, taller sizing.

Then I could narrow results further to only those tagged as “Elegant.”

And then I’ll choose to apply those filters and you can see how dramatically that has narrowed down the results that Canva is providing to me.

From here, I could browse the results until I find what I want to use, or I could go back to filters and further narrow the results.

What’s great is that once you find a design that you like, you can click on that template to see more details about it, and when you do, you’re going to be able to not only choose to customize that template, but you can also see who the template creator is. Then,  by clicking on their name, you can see all templates in Canva that have been created by that creator.

This way, if you like the design style that a particular creator has, you can likely find more designs in that same style by clicking on their creator name.

Customizing Canva Templates

Let’s talk about what it looks like when you customize templates for your own branding.

It’s important to understand that not all templates will work for every brand, and part of the fun of using Canva is the experimenting and playing and figuring out what feels like a fit for your brand, but you need to ensure you choose a template design that is at least generally in line with the aesthetic of your branding.

For example, a template like this is never going to be one that I choose to start with because I don’t use shapes like this in my branding.

To make it usable for my visual brand, I’d need to delete all of the shapes and then I’m not left with much of a design, so I might as well choose something else to start with.

Similarly, I wouldn’t start with a template like this, because while it’s not using any funky shapes in it, it’s meant to work with a dark, bold background, which is also not consistent with my visual brand.

I could still customize this and end up with something that looked professional, but if you choose something that has a very different aesthetic to begin with than your own visual brand, it’s easy to end up losing the look and feel that you were attracted to in the first place.

So when you are looking for a template for your marketing materials, take some care to choose something that already has the general look and feel of a design that would work well with your established visual branding.

So I might start with a template like this from Canva’s template library, and then by removing elements I don’t need, replacing the background image, updating the text colours and formatting, and adding my own visual assets like my logo and my pattern overlay… I can turn it into this.

3 Steps to Customize a Canva Template

In a nutshell then, whether you are creating a social graphic for Instagram or another social platform, a lead magnet to build your email list, a workbook for a digital course, or something else, the process you follow when customizing your Canva templates will be the same.

First, find an appropriate template to start with, or you can design from scratch if you’re so inclined.

Then, update the template with your logo, your brand colours and fonts, and swap out any images to reflect your own brand imagery. This will be made much easier by using the Canva Brand Kit feature, and if you haven’t set yours up yet, you can learn more about that process in my free Introduction to Canva’s Brand Kit tutorial resource.

And then step three is to modify the actual text content of the design to reflect your own content.

Hopefully this quick Intro to Templates tutorial will give you the kickstart you need to tackle your own Canva design creation, but if you’re interested in getting a more detailed walk through of the template customization process, you’ll find find a module focused on using templates inside my Canva for Beginners course.

Canva Template Customization Inspiration

Let’s wrap up with a bit of inspiration about how the same Canva template could be customized for different brands.

First, these are templates for a few different social graphics… and then here are those templates customized for a brand.

Here is an e-book template example… and then here are a couple of customized examples.

Now over to a workbook template, so here’s the before, the original template, and after.

Here’s how a checklist template could be customized.

And here are a couple examples of how you could customize a slide deck template, which you could use as a starting point for webinar slides or course lessons.

So here’s the original template, and here’s what a customization could look like.

Finally, here is a set of customized promotional graphic templates, so the before and some after examples.

Consistency is Key

At the end of the day, the key here is to use your brand kit in Canva and to make customization choices that are always consistent with your established visual branding.

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