It’s so disheartening when you spend all of your time creating a new graphic in Canva, finally get it juuuust right, and then when it’s uploaded to your site or social media spaces, it looks blurry and crappy.
It sucks. It’s frustrating. You want to pull your hair out, or toss your mouse at the wall.
I get it, babe.
And the last thing I want for you is to feel frustrated with your graphics and with Canva. I want you to feel confident and empowered about the visuals you create for your business.
So in this training, I cover:
- The five (5) main reasons why your images might look shit-hot in Canva and like a blurry mess when you upload them to your social platforms.
- Solutions. Solutions. Solutions. Because knowledge is your friend, and you really don’t need to be a designer to win at your visuals.
- Other options, because Mercury Retrograde, Canva runs updates and the Tech Gods get bored.
First, let’s go over WHY I love Canva for Graphics
One thing we can all agree on, is that we need visuals in our business. Not just any visuals. Visuals with a consistent and cohesive style. Visuals that connect, convert and look crisp and clear. Am I right?
If you’re looking to create a quick graphic like an invite or a quick banner Instagram post, you can use PicMonkey, Adobe Spark and probably five other web based design sites that are equally awesome in their own way.
But for your business, you need more than a quick solution.
You need to be able to customize your graphics, create brand templates and organize your whole visual strategy in one convenient place. That is why I love and teach about Canva.
If you’re looking for a web-based design tool to set up custom templates for your biz that you can tweak over and over again, a design tool that’s cost-effective, accessible from any computer, and helps you customize and organize your visuals for your business and your growing team, then Canva might just be your Design Tool Soulmate.
But, as with any design tool, there are pros and cons. It’s important to find the design tool that will work best for you, and learning how to use it well will be one of the biggest game changers for your business.
Now, let’s get to work on how to make sure your Canva images look crisp and clear every time.
1. Use the Right Dimensions
If you’re creating a website banner based off of a newsletter template, chances are that the resolution is out and that your image is being stretched and will look blurry. Always design for the dimensions that you need.
Most websites and social media platforms give the required size dimensions for images. Here’s an example of my banner size dimensions in my New Kajabi site.
If you don’t find the template option you need in Canva, simply create a custom size by selecting the custom dimension button.
Pro tip: Install Page Ruler, a Google Chrome extension that lets you get pixel dimensions and positioning and measure elements on any web page.
2. Facebook Compresses Images
Social media websites, especially Facebook, compress your uploaded Canva designs so that images and the site load faster, and to save storage space and bandwidth. This makes your images (and probably your gorgeous Facebook cover) look blurry.
There’s only so much that Canva can do to make your life easier.
To get the best results when uploading to social media, try these tips and tricks:
- Download your design using the PNG file type.
- Double the dimensions of your design easily with the Canva for Work magic resize feature and overcompensate for the compression. Canva personal users can create designs with custom dimensions from scratch.
- Compress your image sizes without losing quality by using Tiny PNG or Image Optimizer.
3. Use High Resolution Images
If your images are not high res, they will often appear blurry once downloads and more design elements have been added. High quality images are imperative for good design and professional images, and will give the impression of quality. If you are not able to shoot branded images, invest in really good stock photography. If using stock photography, make sure that all images follow the same style, and are ideally from the same person to keep it even more consistent
Using low quality images in your design could result in pixelated images or fuzzy text.
Pro tips: In my experience the only time when my high res images have looked blurry is when Canva had updates, and I could download my images in my different browser. Always save your design and then try another browser. Also make sure that you are not stretching your images or enlarging them beyond their resolution size. These will result in an inferior image.
4. Design Fundamentals
It takes time and practice to develop an eye for graphic design, to know how to use fonts and colors correctly so that images and text complement each other well.
The good news is that you don’t have to be a designer to create professional looking graphics. But you do need to follow these basic rules.
I often see small design mistakes that make images hard to read and appear blurry. The wrong font and color choices can have a huge impact on the quality and legibility of the text on your graphics.
- Contrast is your friend. Use dark text on a light image and vice versa.
- Stick to 2-3 brand colors only. Less is more.
- Keep your fonts simple. Handwritten and script fonts are often hard to read. Add them over an image and people can’t scroll away fast enough. These should be used sparingly. When in doubt, stick sans serif fonts. They are usually easier to read.
- Simplify your design. Always look out for ways to simplify your design. Choose 1-2 main objectives, the text and supporting image for example, and make sure both of them stand out.
I like to have my image and main message be my hero and will make sure they stand out clearly. I will then add in my logo or other branding elements for interest or convenience, but will soften them or have them stand out less, so that they don't compete.
5. Canva Runs Updates
It's important to understand that technology is frustrating. Sometimes your machine wants to run updates when you’re most fired up to work, or the Amazon servers go down (whaaat?), or Canva runs updates that affect the design tool and your work.
As awesome as new features may be, it’s not so great when you can’t rely on your design tool to edit your images, your design doesn't save, looks blurry or your text boxes move around.
It’s hella frustrating, I would know. I work in Canva every day, I know first hand, but it comes with the job description of being an online biz owner and needing to tweak things, learn how to outsmart things or just take a break from them for a bit.
Don’t jump into Canva’s page and give them a piece of your mind and show off the collection of cuss words in your vocab. Not going to help. Instead, feel empowered to figure out new solutions. Implement smart workarounds.
So, what else can you do if you want to give Canva the middle finger / no longer feel it’s your design jam?
If you’ve gone through this list and Canva is still acting up, what do you do?
You can outsmart Canva by making a copy and working in a new design or a new browser.
Take a screenshot of your design if it didn’t save, so it’s easier to recreate.
If it’s not downloading your fancy font correctly, pick a script or sans script font (ideally already in the Canva library).
What other options do you have?
Some of us only have eyes for InDesign, others swear by Photoshop or have it bad for PicMonkey. And since needing graphics in your business isn’t something that’s going away anytime soon, you need to pick one that’s going to meet most of your needs.
Try PicMonkey and Adobe Spark
Try to recreate your image in one of these programs. Make sure that you stick to your brand templates and the look and feel of your images, so that they look similar to what you have been creating and putting out for your audience. Need help? Send me a message here.
Anything else? (11:40)
Is there another drag and drop tool similar to Canva that helps you design stunning graphics in seconds, without needing to leave your web browser? Yes, there is.
And if you’re up for learning a new tool, it’s going to knock your slippers right off.
And it also offers pre-made templates (if you’re not confident with designing from scratch), the option to create project folders, upload images and your own fonts, and it allows you to design for print and web. WHAT? You can create business cards and add them to your cart to have them printed and sent to your home (currently only available to Australians).
The catch? It’s new, so don’t expect perfection. It’s has a free options (limited) and a 30-day trial period and, besides not having the full image capacity and functionality that I love in Canva, it's pretty impressive.
It’s called Easil. And it’s pretty FAB.
So if you’re up to learn a new program and you have some free time to dabble, check it out. You might be pleasantly surprised, just as I was.
And if streamlining and automating your graphics and visual strategy is important to you, it’s the best alternative I can suggest.
We’d love to hear your thoughts and any questions you have. Jump into the TCC community and tag me @nicholettevonreiche with any graphics or Canva related questions and thoughts. I love hearing from you.