Canva is a graphic design platform that allows you to create graphics and other visual content for your blog or social media. Figuring out how to use Canva has been the single biggest game-changer for my Pinterest account.
In today’s post, I am going to be sharing with you my tips on how to design effective pins using Canva for Pinterest.
I wasn’t always a graphic designer. In fact, I had absolutely no idea how to actually design pins that would capture people’s attention and get them back to my blogs and my websites.
But now that I’ve figured this out, I can even use Canva to design social media graphics for pretty much every aspect of my blog. So whether it comes to designing graphics for my Facebook group or my Facebook page or graphics for my Instagram account I use Canva all the time.
If you’re new and you don’t know anything about Canva don’t worry this tutorial is going to help you figure out how to use canva like a boss specially for Pinterest.
So let’s dive in.
I am going to be showing you how to use Canva to design pins on a day-to-day basis using two main methods.
The first method is by using a Pinterest template which is within the Canva interface. The second method is by using a grid based creation system.
So let’s get started.
#1 Using a Pinterest Template
You can use Canva for free or switch to a pro account. Obviously, Canva pro has more features. Some of which are an extended library of images, access to more templates, and so on.
Using Canva, you’ll be able to create different social media graphics. In the Canva interface, there are a couple of designs that you can select from. When you click on Pinterest graphic you’ll see it’s dimensions, which are 735 x 1102 px.
You can also go to the search bar and type Pinterest graphic. That’s the second way of finding it. Either way it’s going to open the same results.
You can choose whichever template you like.
Most of these templates are going to be free with your account while some of them, like I mentioned earlier, are premium templates where you’ll have to pay for the premium images or you might have to pay an extra amount depending on the elements used within that template.
So keep in mind that all of the templates you see might not be available to you with the free account. It would depend on the kind of subscription you have.
Since I have a Canva Pro account, I have access to more templates. But I am going to use one of the free templates to show you how to design pins on-the-go and super easily with Canva.
Before we dive into editing the pin you’ve chosen, let me give you a quick walkaround of the Canva interface.
Side panel menu
On the left side panel, the first option you see is Templates. You have access to different templates where you can also search for templates within the system.
Next option is Photos. You can upload your own photos or you can search for stock photos. You can click on the free tag next to the search bar and see which photos are free but depending on your subscription this feature may or may not be available to you.
Each photo has a tag with it which indicates whether it’s free or you’ve to pay a premium dollar amount.
The third option is Elements. That’s basically different types of graphics which you can use to make your image look a little bit cooler. You can pop out your image depending on which graphic you need. For example, you can have graphics that are animated, you can have shapes, stickers, different gradients, illustrations and icons graphics that you can play around depending on what you want you are aiming to make.
The next option is Text which is basically, as the name suggests, used to add a text to our graphic. If you click on it you also get the option to add a heading or subheading.
The Background option means the image background. You can choose let’s say a blank background, a landscape, or a patterned background.
The Uploads indicate your own images that you’ve uploaded which you can use to make pictures.
And if you want to sort your designs into Folders, the next option lets you do that. Of course, this option is if you have a pro account where you can save your templates otherwise Canva only allows one folder.
Let’s say I want to have an image that says “10 gift ideas for Christmas”. From the template, I’ll keep the background but delete all the text and graphic elements. So, first I’ll add text. You can click on text on the left and select a heading and type “Unique Gift Ideas for Christmas”.
I’ve taken a random pin example because this is something everyone can relate to no matter what your niche is or what you’re trying to do with your blog or website or your business.
Top menu / options
At the top of the interface, you have different options where you can pick the font, font size, the colour of the text, bold, italic, the alignment option in which you can align the text. Then, you have the option of capitalizing or not capitalising your text so when you click on it, the letters become all caps or all small.
If for some reason you have bullet points in your pin feel free to add them in a list using the next option.
You can also duplicate this pin or this element using the Duplicate option. For example, if you click on a particular element, then it duplicates that element for you to use. You can also select multiple elements to duplicate.
This option also allows you to duplicate the entire design if you want to use it for another pin once you’ve created a design. Or you can just use the copy page option that is right above your
design page which will duplicate the design/page.
Position allows you to position the elements say to the top, left, right, bottom. I generally pick them up personally and move them around but if you are not that comfortable with moving the elements yourself you can use the position option.
The paint brush option is to copy a style. This is an interesting element that I tend to use a lot depending on how my pin background is.
The grid you see next to the paint brush is basically to control the transparency of your image or an element. So, if you click it, you can reduce the transparency to make it look a bit more blurry to the point where it’s completely white.
There might be pins which are super bright and you don’t want them to have this contrasting feature with the text. So what you can do is you can move this scale and see how transparent you want it to be.
Adding a Heading
Now, I want to make the heading all capital so you can do a shift capital that is type it all in caps or you can also click the ‘aA’ option at the top (mouse cursor below) that makes all the text capital as well.
Now, I want to make sure that this is the kind of font that is readable which is super important in having a great pin design. So, I’m going to click the first option next to the side panel with the font name in it (mouse cursor below) and click to see all of the fonts.
Canva has a lot of inbuilt fonts. The ones with the crown symbol next to it (mouse cursor below) are those that you have to pay for or come with your paid subscription. All the others that don’t have an icon are free and you can use it.
I am going to use PT Sans because I like that font and it is a very easy to read font. When you click on it, the font on my image automatically changes to the one selected.
I want the text to be bold and I want to increase the font size. So, I’m going to click the ‘B’ at the top and this will make the text bold. Then, I’m going to click the number visible at the top (pictured below) to see what an ideal font size this image should have. Maybe keep it at 64 and position it at the centre.
Adding a Sub Heading
I want to add a number to the text so you can either add a heading or a sub heading and then change the size super easily. I am going to put 10 and then move it up next to “Unique”.
Now, I’ll just drag and move it to the top, increase the size and keep it. You can also change the font of any of the text elements anytime you want. I want to change the font of the number ‘10’ so I’m going to look for something different and unique and add that just so that pops out a little and is not exact same as my text title.
I’d like to change the text colour so to do this, click the ‘A’ on the top with a colour bar below it (mouse cursor below). Now, brand colours is something you only get with a Canva pro account. What you will normally see is the default colour palette and you can always pick your own colour to be added to it. I want the colour red so, I’m going to change the text of ‘10’ to red.
Adding an Background Image
Now I am going to change the background so I’m going to go in photos and I’ll search for Christmas which will give me photos of Christmas. You can hover over the images to see which ones are free or not (pictured below).
To make the image your background, you can drag it and put it at the back and that basically adds it as a background image. You can change the image depending on what you like. This image finding process can take a little bit of time depending on what image you want to add because different images look different with different text.
If you feel the image isn’t aligned properly, you can double click on it which gives you the entire image canvas which can then be moved around to see which frame fits best. Depending on how wide or how tall the image is, you may or may not be able to move it up and down but you can definitely move it left and right.
Then, I’ll add a second subtitle or a second headline. So, I’ll add something which is going to want to make people click on this image. I’ll add a subheading called “that are under $100” because I want to emphasize that these are cheap Christmas gifts that anyone can have.
I generally like to have my subtitle in small letters because it is not something I want a lot of focus on. It’s just that extra added element that I want in my image and I generally have my main title in all caps because it’s easier to read.
I’ll then pick a different font for it so that it brings a different element to this image, maybe the dancing script font.
There are different types of fonts which are both curved or serif. And depending on how comfortable you are and what you want to use You can also play around with fonts and see what goes well with what.
I’m a huge fan of symmetry so I like things that are super symmetrical and really neat and clean. So most of my pins if you see are super symmetrical. You can make whatever changes you want to your elements like I did.
You can also play around with the fonts. It might be that you have a specific font for your blog that you use and love and you want to keep that on. But on Pinterest you can really experiment as much as you want with fonts and see what suits you and the image best, what is readable, what looks neat, what easily pops out on the image.
And then of course there are different types of fonts, fonts that are super exotic and super specific. But I would say to stick to fonts that are easy to read. You don’t want to confuse people on your pin so you want to make sure that these fonts are easily readable and legible. So I went with Oswald for the main text.
Adding your Brand Name
Now the only thing missing is to add another title which is going to be your branding. So let’s say I am doing it for my website, for my travel blog, so I’ll put IndianGirling or www.indiangirling.com and you can put whatever your brand name is. There’s no set way to do it, you can choose different ways on how you want to do it.
But make sure to add your branding because a lot of people tend to steal pins and redirect them to their account. So you want to make sure that your pins if stolen always have your branding on them so that people know that was the original website where it came from.
Again you can play around with colours. Normally I don’t like to have more than two or three colours in terms of text on the pin so that it doesn’t confuse people viewing your pin.
I’ll put it here at the bottom but of course there is no right place to put it. You can put it on the top or bottom. I try to keep it Away from my main text because if I have it right under the 2nd title it is too distracting so you want to make sure your design actually guides the reader to what is the most important thing on the pin and what they should be reading.
Download Your Graphic
Now once you are done with the design, you can go to the download option and select PNG which is the high quality image because you want to make sure it’s glossy and nice with a high resolution.
You can pick a smaller file size image for your blog if that is something of a challenge for you in terms of your website speed or just to make it smaller in terms of the space that it holds.
You don’t really need a pdf unless you plan to print the image so then I click the download button.
You can also compress the file but you don’t really need that especially not for Pinterest. I would download the image and save it somewhere on my website which would save my design which I can then use on my Pinterest.
So, this is the first method of designing a pin which is super easy and super simple in which you use an existing template and you play around with it.
#2 Using a Grid based Creation System
Now the 2nd method is the grid method which basically gives you more freedom in terms of how you want to design your pin and it gives you more bandwidth in terms of which element goes where. So, depending on how creative you’re feeling and what would be the signature style of your pins you can use the grid method.
It takes a bit longer, of course, to design with grids because first, you’ve to go to the graphics option, then find a perfect grid for you so this is definitely a more advanced technique which I wouldn’t recommend to use at the beginning.
At the beginning, you can just get comfortable with the existing Pinterest templates. You can also use the bonus templates that you get with my Pinterest course or you can create your own templates using the free Canva templates that you have. Work around with the fonts, colours, different sizes and just get a feel of it and see how it looks.
And once you’re ready to graduate from that and you want to have a bit more unique pins or have your own design pins then you can search for grids or search for a similar design in your graphics and use it.
Grids / Adding A Grid
Grids basically separate your pin image into different sections that you can then divide between placing images and/or text.
Let’s say you want to create a collage pin to showcase four different things. So, let’s go to ‘Grids’ and add a four piece grid which basically gives you four sections to start with.
And what you can do is select the grid and change the colour or to whatever we want. And then you can move around the grid, make it short or big.
Adding Images to the Grid
Now, let’s say we want to create the same design which is “10 unique Christmas gift ideas” but in place of one image we will have 4 images. So, you can search for “Christmas gifts” in images and pick four different images this time. This process might be a little bit harder because we have to make four different images work together.
Pick the image(s) you’d like to use, drag and drop it on top of the grid and it will automatically go to the back. You can also use the “Position” option to see if you want to move the pin or you can double click on the image and move it left or right.
The trick to using four different image options is that all four images have to have a coherent look and feel and that’s why I wouldn’t recommend you to use them if you don’t have a good colour sense because you definitely need all of the images to go along together.
They need to have some sort of colour balance and go really well with each other and that can take a while because you have to look through, look for the right images, see what goes with what and in which context and then play around with it.
So this is something that you don’t necessarily need to do at the beginning but it can definitely bring out a different flavour in your images. We have four different images that we want to use.
I find this process super fun because I like designing, especially now that I am somewhat good at it I love doing it. But, of course, depending on how much time you have, you might not want to spend a lot of time brainstorming it.
But, for me, Pinterest is a visual platform and is really very important to have the right image consistency and pattern on your pins because if you don’t have the right images or if you don’t have the right pins, that, for me, beats the point of using Pinterest because for me the very essence of Pinterest is having kickass pins and having amazing pins that make your brand pop out and make people want to click.
So, in my experience, and in my opinion it’s extremely important to design the right pins. It really showcases what you’re talking about and it gives a super high quality, consistent and professional feel.
To add text to your graphic, you’ve to follow the same steps as the previous method. After you’ve added the text, you might come across a small problem. The text might not be bold enough to actually pop out against the background.
So, you can add a background to this text. And for this, what you need to do is layer the grids. You are going to have to add a normal, one-page grid, resize it, move it around to place it on top of the current one and use it to layer your text (shown below).
Now, you might also find that if you have made the text before the grid, the text might not be visible when dragged above the text background. So, what you can do is you can easily duplicate the text and move the older one on top of the grid.
You can also pop out the colours a little bit just to make sure it gives a nice look and feel. Since this entire image is white I would like to have a warm background for this pin. So I’m gonna select a slightly warm background for the pin and maye pick red for it.
Now since the text background is dark, make sure to pick a contrasting colour, I’ll go with white, for the text so that it stands out and is readable.
You can do different things around with this pin, maybe change the text or add a number to it or whatever else you like.
Finally, when you see the graphic, you’ll see that it’s a very neat image, very symmetric. You can see that the colours are playing well with it. You can see that the text is clearly visible, it’s legible and it has the wow factor where you’re like oh it’s the ultimate gift guide. I want to go and see it.
This is the grid method of creating pins which I personally use because I am comfortable designing pins on canva and I like having that customizability option available. But you don’t necessarily have to do it, you can definitely go for the image that we created before and use one of those pins.
Find All Your Designs
If you’d like to see all your designs or visit any of them again, Canva saves all the designs you create under ‘My Designs’ which is another good thing about Canva. If you have a pro account you can also save it as a template but if you don’t that’s ok, you can use your pins as they are.
Resizing Your Graphic
Apart from Pinterest graphics, you can also use Canva to design lots of different things for your blog. So another thing that I do is that I tend to resize this pin in a different dimension so I can also use it as a blog graphic. What that does is it makes this pin into a blog graphic so I can use that as my featured image.
Or you can also resize it as a Facebook Post, for example, if you wanna share it on Facebook as a social media post. You might have to move around the elements a bit to make sure it fits the sizes. But again the resizing feature is only available to you as a pro user so it’s not available on the free account.
In conclusion, these are two super easy ways to create Pinterest pins on the go, on a daily basis. But my advice to you is to create a couple of templates and make sure that you are comfortable with using these templates. Then you can duplicate them and create pins super-fast, quick and easy because you don’t want to spend hours and hours creating pins.
You can get my Viral Pinterest Templates here if you’d like tested, proven designs that work.
You want to spend time optimizing the pins when you upload it to Pinterest which is something we discuss in a lot of detail later on. But this is the core of it. This is how you create amazing pins that look professionally designed that bring you a lot of traffic and volume in terms of sales, in terms of leads and in terms of more income.
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