We’ve shared before how adding media, such as graphics and images, can increase engagement with your social media and your videos. But if you are not an expert in web or social media, you might wonder how to get started. The good news is you don’t have to be a graphic designer, or even hire one, to create beautiful graphics for digital worship.
In this article, we are going to walk you through creating a simple social media graphic using a free tool called Canva.
What is Canva?
Canva is a favourite tool of many marketers who need to create images for blogs posts, infographics, web, and social media. It’s loved by many because of how simple it is to use while also offering a robust set of tools and templates.
There is so much you can do with the free account. For instance, you can create visuals, save templates and customise your designs to make them unique. You can do all of this by using an array of colours, shapes, styles, and a library of free and low-cost images.
Using an intuitive interface, you can drag-and-drop images and shapes, modify fonts, and more to create unique graphics for your digital worship or messaging. You can even create beautiful documents or T-shirt designs for print!
Getting Started with Canva’s Interface
If you are new to the tool, you’ll want to explore the options. You can design a graphic without logging in or creating account to test out a few of the basic features. Once you create an account you can save your designs and even use and modify them in the future. You can also watch tutorials to explore how other designers are using the tool.
Explore Templates and Design Types
Either from the ‘Home’ or ‘Templates’ page you can explore the types of designs you want to create. Selecting a template by type helps you ensure your final design will work where you want it, such as on Twitter or Facebook, which have very different image size constraints compared to a ticket or a brochure.
The free version of Canva provides you with more than 8,000 free templates and over 100 design types to get started.
Customise Your Graphic for Digital Worship
Once you’ve selected a template, it’s time to get to started in the main work area. If you use the free version you have the following tools to work with:
Inside the work area you have the option to browse even more templates based on the type of content you are creating. Here we’ve selected a free twitter template to begin our design.
You can add graphic elements to the template you’ve selected. Options you might want to change include the background image, or adding a logo for your church to the image.
Even if you don’t have a photo of your own, you can browse a library of free and low-cost images to make this graphic your own. Using the search bar, you can enter an image term you might want to browse for your design.
For the example, we are going to change the background using one of the free images under the search results for ‘church’. This is a simple way to create beautiful your graphics for digital worship. You can also upload images to personalise what you share.
To make this change, simply drag the image you like into the design. If you don’t like the look, you can use your keyboard shortcuts (Mac or PC) to undo the move.
When you drag-and-drop the image, wait your selected image to fill the desired space before you release your mouse, otherwise it may lay the new image on top of the design.
Note: you can animate your images if you wish. If you do this, the elements of the graphic, such as the text can move in a manner similar to a slide transition. We will cover advanced graphic creation using this feature in a future article.
You can add a broad range of “elements” to your design depending on what you need. This includes everything from basic shapes, frames, and lines, to stickers, grids, and other graphic imagery to your design.
Add text in a format that Canva’s graphic designers have developed or create a layout that works for your design using features like a heading. Use the toolbox to change the font, colour, size, and even add effects like shadows and include hyperlinks that can enhance how you use graphics for digital worship across your channels.
For our example, we are keeping it simple. Working with the text style from the template we chose, we modify what we want to display for daily Bible reading post.
Music & Videos—For advanced and more dynamic graphic creation for social media or the web, you can add audio and video elements. These come at a cost or can be part of a subscription plan. If you want to use these features you should probably start with a blank template and build around the music or video elements that work for your post.
If you don’t have an image in your background like we do in this post, you can also use sample background elements that are more of a pattern or design.
You Created a Design, Now What?
If you like what you created, it’s yours to use. If you want to keep the design for future use, you will need to sign up for a free account to download or share the graphic. Download options are PNG, JPG, PDF Standard, PDF Print, MP4 Video and GIF.
Saving your design will allow you to resize it for other formats or use it as a template for similar posts (such as future Bible readings).
Upgrading to a Paid Account
If you have a paid account, you can do even more with Canva. You can add elements like your brand logo, colours, and fonts which help you maintain consistency in your graphic content.
Paid accounts allow you to invite collaborators, access even more design templates, and share your content directly to your linked social media accounts. At under £10/month, it’s an affordable tool that can help increase your ability to create visually engaging graphics for your web and print outreach efforts as well as your live streamed and saved videos.