How to Design Professional Graphics for FREE!

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Innovators create. Whether in the form of a whiteboard drawing, napkin scribble, or a well thought out design, creating is essential to communicating an idea. It moves abstract thoughts into patents, new processes, and products. To create, you need a well-furnished toolbelt, allowing the creative process to continually flow. Your digital toolbelt should contain tools serving a variety of functions. Canva is my cordless drill, undoubtedly the most used tool in my home and on my screen.

Anyone that knows me knows I live by a simple mantra: “if its free it’s for me.” It is true. OK, enough about me. Let’s talk about my secret graphics weapon, Canva. Every infographic on my blog took shape inside of Canva’s easy to use design canvas. Graphics tell a story, at times, better than the written word. As you blog or tell digital stories infusing graphics helps readers to engage and visualize your content.  Flex those creative muscles using professional design templates, ready for rich content. If you or your students post to the web, the content becomes part of your digital brand. Canva helps you look great!

Sign Up and Create Your First Design!

  1. Go to
  2. If you are part of a Google Apps district, make life easier by clicking Sign up with Google. You will automatically be authenticated as long as you are logged into your Google account.
  3. If you aren’t logged in yet, you will be required to enter your password.
  4. Next, Canva will ask “What you do?” to help personalize your experience (personalization is everywhere!)
  5. I selected Blogger and it provided a few templates they recommend for blogging.
  6. A few more choices are presented. Select one and know, you can change it at any time once you’re into the interface.
  7. Now, you will see a canvas on the left and layouts on the left.
  8. If you don’t like the layouts, don’t sweat it; Click on Canva (their logo in the upper left most corner).
  9. Then, click Create a design and you will see all possible choices.
  10. Click on a few to see what they offer.
  11. Add Items to the canvas: To add items to your canvas, just click on them and they will appear to the left.
  12. Stretch and rotate images: Use the dots on the corners to stretch and the circular arrow to rotate images.
  13. Color shapes: Most shapes and many illustrations allow you to change their color. Just click on the graphic and if the color can be changed, you will see small color blocks above your canvas. If you don’t see a color you like, click on the + sign.

Get to Know Your Design Options:

Design Elements
Canva Elements
Upload your own content! (Don’t forget about
Text - Canva
Canva offers Preformatted Text
Layouts - Canva
Select from a variety of professionally designed layouts.


















Do you wonder how Canva offers such an amazing service for free? Once you start working with Canva, you’ll realize that they offer a variety of graphics for $1. I’ve used them before and you can pay a one-time cost or a lifetime cost to use the image. They also offer a premium upgrade allowing you to organize your graphics, collaborate with up to 50 team members and create a brand kit for creating brand-consistent content more quickly.  I often grab royalty free images from the web and use Photoshop or an alternative modify colors to match my design. There are plenty of FREE images and graphics from which to choose within Canva, so get started.

Enjoy creating amazing graphical designs guaranteed to impress your readers and viewers! Oh, and it’s fun too.

Canva for Students

COPPA imposes certain requirements on operators of websites or online services directed to children under 13 years of age, and on operators of other websites or online services that have actual knowledge that they are collecting personal information online from a child under 13 years of age. According to Canva’s Terms of Use, students must be older than 13 unless supervised by an adult. Excerpt from Canva’s Terms of Use:  Any use or access to the Service by anyone under 13 who is not directly supervised by an adult is strictly prohibited and in violation of this Agreement.