5 Simple Canva Design Basics for Busy Small Business Owners

I recently had a small business owner come to me with an interesting request.

When it comes to strategic branding, logos, and websites, it’s definitely best to buddy up with our design team to ensure you have those foundations set for your business.

But, when you just need to create daily content for, say, social media or a quick email, with the right structure already in place, a small business owner could totally do that without a designer’s help.

And, we knew just what this particular business owner needed: a Canva tutorial.

She was oddly nervous about using it – no doubt overwhelmed by all the options it gives for customization. But, she also realized she needed the ability to handle her social content on the daily (and on the fly) and figured asking for help would be the obvious solution.

We’re glad she reached out!

Armed with her business logo and brand colors, we waded in. Only one hour later, VOILA, she had grasped 5 design basics that would launch her into a year of creating Canva graphics like a pro (implied finger snap.).

What 5 basics did I teach her that day?


(Let’s start at the very beginning!)

  • Choose a size
  • Choose a template

Start by choosing your graphic size and the appropriate template for your content. I tell most business owners that a time-saving rule of thumb is to simply choose “IG POST” as the size and then search for a Canva template that conveys your post’s main message. These templates can always be customized! (Slow down, we’re getting there!)


Want to add photos of your products and services directly to your Canva graphics? House them directly on Canva. Since Canva is a one-stop-shop for creating all things social, saving photos on their site (also accessible by an easy-to-use app) is a great organization and time-hack!

  • Uploading photos is as easy as 1, 2, 3:
  • Click “Uploads”
  • Choose “Upload Media”
  • Add your favorite photos

(Just look at you go!)


Now that you’ve added your photos to your uploads, you can simply pop them into a design when you need them. Or, if you don’t have the right photo for your needs, choose from hundreds of Canva’s stock images that can be added seamlessly to their templates or a graphic you create. (We still suggest starting with their ready-to-use designs to save you time and energy, but if you venture out to create your own from scratch, good for you!) And guess what – if you’ve uploaded your business logo, you can use this feature to add it right to your graphic! (They seriously cover all the details for you.)


Ok, now we’re getting fancy. Want all the reds in your chosen Canva template to be changed to one of your specific brand colors? You can do that! In one click with their “Change All” feature. (It feels a little like magic.)


Have a great photo or headshot, but want to delete a messy background? That is indeed an option and is the perfect solution for truly highlighting a product without anything else in the photo pulling focus! (Like your dog. Mine always tries to pull focus.)

There is so much more you can do with Canva, from adding your brand fonts and colors, to creating IG stories and even PDF documents. But these basics are a good start.

Canva, in our opinion, is worth giving a go, especially since it’s free (with a Pro version once you master the basics.)

If you’ve ever struggled to create quality graphics, especially for social media, either let Canva do it for you, or, if you want to make sure yours are branded specifically for your business, let us create a package of templates that can be updated as needed, and customized via the tips above! 

(And, the best part? No one has to know. It can be our secret. And YOU will look like a star!)

Check Canva out today! You won’t be sorry!

And don’t forget to share the goods with your small business friends!

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