Learn how to create killer brand graphics for FREE in Canva
video tutorial on how to create on brand graphics in canva for free

Getting Started in Canva

One of the biggest benefits of using Canva to design graphics for your brand, is that it’s FREE. While there are paid elements within the free account, you can basically make any type of graphic you want for web or for printing for free in Canva. There is also an app with Canva which means that you can create killer brand graphics on-the-go with your tablet or smart-phone.

Another benefit of using Canva is that they have all of the most common sizes of web images and print images pre-loaded and you can be designing with a simple click instead of making sure you have everything the correct size. Of course, you can always create a custom size if Canva doesn’t have the exact size you’re looking for.

If you don't already have a Canva account, go ahead and register now. Gather up all of your brand elements and images and upload them into your Canva account.

Setting up Brand Elements in Canva

Once you are logged into Canva, you’ll want to set up your brand elements. While the free version doesn’t allow you to upload custom fonts you can save your brand colors for use in your projects. You can create a brand style guide, if you don’t already have one, that will be saved in Canva. Having it saved in Canva will help you, or anyone else making graphics for your business, stay consistent with your branding when creating graphics.

What you’ll need are your logo, any brand submarks you may have, the names of your fonts and the hex codes for your brand colors.

1. Log in to Canva

2. Load your brand colors.

  • On left column click on “Your Brand”
  • Under Brand Colors, click the + sign
  • Add the hex code of up to 3 brand colors. The paid version, Canva for Work, allows more colors as well as uploading fonts and your logos. You can still upload logos in the free version, you just don’t have a folder labeled logos.

3. Click the blue, Create a Design, button

  • Scroll down to Documents and select US Letter
  • On the left hand side click Uploads. This is where you will upload any photos, logos, or submarks that you will want to use in your designs. So go ahead now and upload all of your brand elements (logo, submark, alternate logo, watermark, pattern, illustrations...etc)

4. Now you can layout all of your brand elements on your style guide page. Typically you place your primary logo at the top and under that the alternate logos, submarks or any other brand elements.

5. On the left hand side click Text. We’re going to add you typography elements now. If your fonts are not in Canva, you can do a quick google search to see what other fonts are similar to yours and find those in Canva. If I know clients will be using something like Canva, I like to give them a font pairing that I know they will find there.

  • Click Add Heading, Add Subheading, and Add a little bit of body text
  • Arrange these on the page under the brand elements and change them to the font selections for your brand

6. Optional: add a photo or two that represent your photography style for your brand

Done! Now you have a style guide that will help you create killer brand graphics that are consistent with your brand story and message.

a simple style guide to help keep you or anyone on your team on brand when creating elements for your business

Designing a Facebook post image in Canva (with video tutorial)

Canva has preloaded size templates for all the most popular image sizes for online and for print. If you upgrade from the free plan to Canva for Work plan you get Magic Resize, which is pretty cool because once you create a design Canva will automatically resize it to whichever size you select. There is a little bit of adjusting you have to do after, but it’s keeps all of you elements to your graphic. This is a nice alternative to Photoshop or Illustrator. Honestly, I’m pretty darn good at Illustrator and sometimes I head to Canva to create graphics quickly. In fact, all of the graphics for this series on Facebook were created in Canva and I’m going to show you how to use a Canva template and make it your own.

Facebook post created in canva
  1. Once you’re logged into Canva click on the blue Create a design button.

  2. If it’s not an option already at the top right, scroll down until you see Social Media and select Facebook post.

  3. Scroll through the templates until you see one you like. Focus on layout, not color, not the image and not the font choice…. These are all things that you will change to match your branding.

  4. Once you make you selection you can click on uploads on the left column and grab a photo that you want to use from your uploads. If you click and hold the image and then drag it over where the image is on the template it should automatically replace the template image with the one you drug over. If you need to adjust the positioning, double click your image and drag or resize it as need to fit the cropping of the template.

  5. Next you’ll want to use your style guide (if you can’t remember your font names) and change the fonts out. Sometimes it’s easier to just insert a new text block in case the text spacing isn’t how you want it.

  6. I also like to add in my logo and/or my website url

  7. Click the download button. For a web graphic you’ll want to use PNG and for a print graphic you’ll want a PDF.

Watch the video if you learn better with visuals :)

Come hang with the Nash Franks Family on Instagram!

BRANDING, GRAPHIC DESIGNJenn Nash
Is Your Brand or Logo Idea Based on Trends or Strategy?
brand identities should have concept, strategy and purpose. Ask yourself these 3 questions to determine if your idea is based on trend or strategy

A well designed brand identity will have

  1. concept

  2. strategy
  3. purpose

You can’t just have something that looks good.... Well you can, but it’s probably not going to serve you like you want it to. If your current brand identity or logo feels is dated it could be because it doesn’t accurately reflect your business. Perhaps you saw something that you thought looked cool or looked pretty and thought, “I want that for my brand”. OR maybe your business values and core mission have made a big shift since you first started. Your brand identity needs to do more than just look cool or pretty or whatever adjective fits you.

It needs to:

  1. Reflect your business values and personality   - concept

  2. Inform viewers of who you are and what you do - strategy

  3. Attract your ideal/dream customers - purpose

Here are 3 questions to ask yourself if you’re thinking you need a rebrand. These questions will help you determine if you're just attracted to the latest trends or if your ideas are based on the core values of what your business represents. You want your identity to both represent the business AND attract those dream customers. It doesn’t do your business any good to have something pretty that you as the owner like, if it doesn’t resonate with those dream customers.

1. Does this branding represent my business values and personality?

Think about the core values you’ve set for your company. What are those defining values that you run your business by? For example, if you are a financial advisor that specializes in working with new families. You’ve defined your values to be: trust, honesty and family. You want your branding to reflect those values. A juvenile or cartoon-style logo may appeal to families, but does it look professional or worthy of trusting with your life savings? If my client describes the values of trust, honesty & family but keeps requesting a specific font that looks like a kid’s handwriting, that’s not fitting with their values, it might just be something they think looks cool or something they saw another business using.

Also think about your brand personality and the brand words that you’ve chosen to describe your brand. Are you attracted to fonts or colors for your branding because they represent your brand words or is it because you’re seeing it everywhere and it’s the current trend? Doing the groundwork and laying the foundation of your branding by defining your core values and brand words, will serve you so so well as you or your designer creates your full brand identity.

2. Does your branding tell customers who you are and what you do?

If you’re the same financial advisor as before but your branding includes images of beach balls or cars or animals, there will be a disconnect between your brand message and what the viewer sees. These disconnects, or lack of consistency, will undermine the impact of your business. Customers need to know you, then like you, and then trust you before they will give you their money. Any moments of inconsistency will slightly, even subconsciously, lessen their trust in you. Your logo and all of your other brand identity materials should accurately tell the viewer who you are (your business name) and what you do.

3. Does your branding attract your dream/ideal customers?

You want to love and be proud of your business’ branding, but it’s even more important that your brand attracts your dream customers. You know who these people are, and you want more of them to buy your product or hire you for your service, so you need to make sure that is who you are attracting. If you ideal customer is new families, then you need to have a brand that attracts that. You wouldn’t want to use photos of grandma and grandpa on their rocking chairs, you’ll want to incorporate images of young families like those you are trying to attract.

good example of young family finance company branding
 

vs

bad example of young family finance company branding

If you approach your brand just from the aspect of “this looks cool”, “this is pretty”, or “this is so on trend”, then you’ll likely end up with a dated brand without a foundation to build upon. When you work with a designer they will use strategy and help guide you to defining your brand values and words by using questionnaires, mood boards, and discussions with you. Developing these components at the beginning are key when it comes to building a solid brand identity. Afterall, your branding is more than just your logo.

Come hang with the Nash Franks Family on Instagram :)

Jenn Nash
Do you have a brand or just a logo?
LEARN HOW TO TELL IF YOU HAVE A BRAND OR JUST A LOGO.

MY ORIGIN STORY

I started Nash Franks Creative kind of by accident. I had two friends that had started their own companies and paid a designer to create a logo for them. The each loved their logos, but didn’t really know how to implement it. When they thought about have a brand they equated that to getting a logo, but a logo does not make a brand. Because I was devouring any design resources and online classes I could get my hands on, my friends started asking for my help in implementing their logo and helping them with all of the technical things that they didn’t know how to do. I absolutely loved it. Years later I’m still the brand strategist and website creator for Neatbeat Hair Salon as well as the owner’s latest business venture PIP University.

LOGO VS BRAND IDENTITY

Do you have a logo, but no real branding identity yet? Did you get a logo when you started out, because… well you had to have a logo, and now it doesn’t seem to fit? Are you just overwhelmed because you never really thought it through this much, and now it seems like too much to think about? Especially when you’re busy actually running your business? If you answered yes, no worries,  IT’S TOTALLY OK!

Why is it important to have a brand vs just having a logo? Well let’s dig in and start with a quote, and then we can move on to some definitions.

“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”  - seth godin

 

What I specifically love about that quote is that he refers to stories and relationships and I think those are two of the most important aspects of a brand.

A LOGO is a graphic representation or symbol of a company name, trademark, abbreviation, etc., often uniquely designed for ease of recognition

A BRAND is the external representation of your internal vision and values - it’s the whole story that you are communicating to your customers.

Brands speak to us and tell us their story, and it’s not because the logo tells us, it’s the story & identity that each company carefully crafted around the brand, and now that logo has embodied their story. They’ve told us who they are and what WE CAN BE by purchasing from them. They did not create a logo and then tell you the story after the fact. Their logos were developed embody the story that they want to tell.

We’ve all heard the saying, “it’s just the tip of the iceberg” And I recently saw another designer, Lilah from The Higgins Creative use this analogy and I thought it was soooo perfect in graphically depicting this difference between the logo and the brand identity. The logo (the graphic representation of the brand) is what you see, it’s that tip of the iceberg. But there is sooooo much more beneath the surface, so much more.

iceberg logo.png

 

Your story, they why behind what you do, Your company mission, the impact you desire to have on your customers and community, those area all the foundation upon what your brand identity is built upon. Underneath you also have your values and the solutions that you bring to your customers’ pain points. All of these items that you don’t necessarily see when you look at a logo, but they are what your logo is built upon, and what it represents. That’s why it’s super important to spend the time to develop what’s beneath that iceberg.

When you are communicating your story to your audience, you should make sure that your brand story all needs to make sense and consistency is the key here.

YOUR BRAND AS AN EXPERIENCE

Think about a time you ordered from an etsy shop or another online store – was the experience you had on the website consistent with the experience you had when the product arrived? Let’s say you were on a really well designed expensive-looking interactive website. It had soft colors and a romantic feel, but when the product arrived at the your door it’s in a crumpled box with bright neon colored, graffiti style stickers on it and no return address. Is that ‘making sense’ to you? Would you think that it came from the website that you ordered it from? NO WAY! When you confuse your potential customer like that, you sacrifice the trust you started to build when you showed them that on point killer website. And that’s a total bummer.

The number of touchpoints your customer has with you is increasing. Nowadays customers may have visited your Facebook page, Instagram feed, website, called by phone, sent an email, visited your store (if you have one), received a package in the mail, signed up for a free download, been sent some emails…. the list goes on and on. If any of these touch points do not live up to your dream customers’ expectations whether consciously or unconsciously their trust factor in your business is going to decrease.

OK, so now that you’re educated more about logo vs brand and how they combine to make your brand identity, but now what do you do with this knowledge? You can go back and take the steps that will help you uncover and develop your full brand identity beyond just that logo!


LIFE BEHIND THE SCENES @NASHFRANKSCREATIVE


BRANDINGJenn Nash