Creating stunning visuals for online businesses is kinda my JAM.
Staying true to a brand identity while creating stunning visuals to attract dream clients and customers is how I create MAGIC for your business.
Don’t take my word for it though… This is what a client of mine had to say:
Here’s the thing: There’s no point in having a strong brand with a beautiful logo, color palette, font, and all the trimmings, if your graphics are not using these elements the way they were intended to be used.
If you find yourself struggling to keep the integrity of your brand when creating graphics for your business, then keep reading for the 5 ways to do so when using Canva templates…
How to keep the integrity of your brand when using Canva templates
1. Stick to your brand guidelines
Your brand guidelines document is essential in stating the standards for how your business brand should be represented to ensure that it does the job of effectively communicating your vision and values.
Not only does this document hold all the information regarding the visual assets of your company, it also guides you on how to apply your assets so that your graphics are consistent with your brand.
Before you even get started with designing any sort of visuals for your business, it is absolutely vital that you learn and understand your brand guidelines so that you create graphics that do the job of maintaining the integrity of your brand.
Think about it… A colour palette, font pairing and logo can be applied to look many different ways. Some of the end results may not be the right aesthetic for your brand even though you’re using all the same brand assets. This is where your brand guidelines will help – it will show you exactly how to apply your brand to get the kind of look that best represents your business.
Whenever undertaking the task of customizing Canva template, be sure to have your brand guidelines on hand so that you can easily create on-brand graphics that match your business vibe.
2. Ensure your copy flows well, while sticking to your brand voice
It goes without saying that your copy plays a big role in getting your brand voice across, but did you know it also heavily determines the LOOK of your graphics?
This is exactly why it’s so important to make sure your copy will not only flow well so that it’s easy to read, but also so that it actually works visually too. This can be tricky when you are trying to stick to your very specific brand, but there are things you can do to ensure that it all works together well…
- When it comes to writing headlines for your graphics, try to have a few different options to play around with on your graphic. Sometimes a phrase may flow really well when reading, but it can look a bit odd when applied to a graphic. Having a few variations of a headline can help you find the perfect fit.
- If you don’t have time to come up with multiple headline options you could always try switching up the wording. When doing this, just be sure to double check for errors and read it out loud before hitting the publish button so that it rolls easily off the tongue!
- Play around with different fonts to highlight certain words in your headline. This works wonders if you have a script font that you could use to draw the eye to something your audience might find intriguing. It would also work by using an accent colour, using italics or bold, or in some cases using uppercase.
If you need help clarifying your brand voice, do yourself a favour and take a look at this blog post by my friend Jackie Sunga.
3. Use on-brand stock photos
Running an online business means that you are bound to rely on graphics if you want to get your brand noticed. This is why Canva templates are so great – they help you save time and energy that you’d otherwise be spending on creating eye-catching visuals to promote your business and offers.
However, if you use off-brand stock photos for your graphics, it doesn’t matter how brilliant the templates are – you’re stepping out of your brand boundaries and compromising the integrity of your brand.
This is another reason why Canva is so convenient – you get instant access to a library of stock photos that you can add to your templates to really make the graphics you create fit with your brand.
A handy tip to find on-brand stock photos inside the Canva library is to use your brand words as keywords when searching. You can also use adjectives that describe your brand vibe, the names of colours from your palette, or scenes your target audience would find appealing. Example, if your target audience is yoga instructors, you could search for “woman meditating at the beach”.
Be sure to stick to photos that compliment your brand instead of images that don’t fit with the rest of your aesthetics. This will ensure that you create a consistent, cohesive look with your visuals.
4. Use stickers and animations that are on brand
This ties in closely with the previous point but it’s something I see people don’t pay that much attention to. Stickers and animations are fantastic ways to draw attention to your graphics, encouraging your audience to interact with your content.
However, this is also a wonderful way to add an interesting, on-brand bit to your graphics so that your previously one dimensional content transforms into something dynamic and memorable.
If you are someone who struggles to infuse your own personality and authentic self into your business, using stickers and animations are a simple but highly effective way to dip your toes into sharing a bit more about the person behind the company. As with stock photos, be sure to use elements that compliments your brand and doesn’t clash with the rest of your vibe.
Try to follow the “less is more” rule if you are new to using stickers or animations. Meaning, rather pick a few that you can use on repeat for your audience so they can instantly recognize the graphic as yours.
5. Make sure you choose the right Canva templates
One of the biggest mistakes people make when using Canva templates is that they choose a design based on how the graphics look in the shop mockups instead of looking at the elements a template is made up of. If you are someone who struggles to get your templates looking as good as the ones pictured in the mockups, ask yourself this question: “What is it about this template that appeals to me?”
If you are choosing a template based on the styling being used, you’ll fall into the trap of picking templates for looks over purpose. This means that you are attracted to the aesthetics and you’re not choosing a design that will work for your brand.
Remember: A template that requires you to do more than just change out your fonts, branding and images, is NOT serving its purpose of removing the design work from your plate. Therefore, it is the wrong template for your business.
If you struggle to create graphics for your business because you don’t have a designer’s eye, then the easiest way for you to find templates for your business is to choose designs that are similar to your brand style.
Here’s how you would do this:
- Have your brand words at the ready so you can search for templates using these keywords. Adjectives that describe your brand vibe and style are really going to help you narrow down on template options that are good choices for your business. Example, if you describe your brand style as “minimal, muted, and boho” you can use these words to search for Canva templates.
- Pay close attention to the elements being used in the templates. Example, if your brand is known for using geometric shapes and patterns then choosing a template that makes use of watercolour swatches is probably not going to be the best choice for your brand.
- Take note of the photos being used in the Canva templates. If the images being used with the templates are not close to what you’ll use in your business, then you may want to reconsider your template choice. Most people don’t realize that photos play a big role in the way a graphic turns out. So if you are a bookkeeper who wants to maintain a more serious level of professionalism, then you may want to avoid templates designed with causal travel shots.
- Font choices also form a huge part in Canva template design. This is why I recommend you picking a template that uses similar fonts to your brand. For example, if you are drawn to a template and you notice there’s a script font being used quite often, you may want to keep in mind that if you don’t use a script font in your brand, then a different font style won’t give the same effect to the graphic.
- If you struggle with any of the above then the easiest way for you to choose a template for your brand is to simply pick something that is as close to your colour palette as possible. This will not only give you a much better chance of creating beautiful graphics that look similar to the shop mockups, but it can also serve as a helpful guide when it comes to customizing the templates with your own branding.
Your brand is meant to be cohesive, and the style should remain consistent across the board if you want to build trust with your audience. Choosing templates that don’t work with your brand will throw off that harmony and you’ll end up with a brand that feels all over the place.
A consistent business brand is probably one of the biggest assets you can have, and will go a long way in building trust with your audience as they become more and more familiar with your company.
Using Canva templates is a fantastic help, as it saves you the headache of having to design visuals from scratch. By following these 5 guidelines, you will find the customization process to be a whole lot easier, and have a much better chance of producing stunning graphics that actually elevates your brand instead of compromising it.
As you know, a consistent brand is the very first step toward better looking graphics.
So, if you need help putting your brandboard together, I’ve got you!
Simply hit the button below to take the 2 minute Dreamy Biz Brand Quiz and get a fully populated brandboard template which you can customize for your business right in Canva! The results will also give you a detailed report to help you understand the chosen assets so you make good design choices for your brand.