Canva.com is a cloud-based design tool that simplifies the creation of digital assets used for social media, email, blogs and more through beautifully crafted templates and an easy to use editor.
There is an overwhelming number of free and premium design software out there. What makes Canva different?
Canva helps its users focus on brand consistency. It offers features for creating a digital brand kit to hold your logo, fonts, and color palette. More importantly it makes those assets easily accessible during your design process. Having your brand kit at the tip of your fingers when you’re creating your graphic means that it can be difficult not to have a consistent brand image.
Unfortunately, the brand kit features are only available for premium accounts. What do you do if premium just isn’t in your budget for now? Don’t worry. I’ve got that covered for you.
Who is this tutorial for?
- People with free accounts who don’t have access to the brand kit features.
- Anyone who wants to download their kit to share with a designer or other person regardless of account level.
Note: You do need to know Canva basics like how to add text, colors, images, and shapes.
1. Choose a canvas
You can pretty much choose whichever canvas or template you want. Many people have a go-to like how I typically use the Facebook Post template to create almost everything social media related.
To keep things simple, lets choose the US Letter Document.
- Log in.
- Click the Choose a Design button in the upper right hand corner of the Canva screen.
- Search or scroll down to US Letter Document. Select it.
Note: If available, you can click custom size instead of US Letter Document. Enter 8.5 for width. Enter 11 for height. Click the drop down arrow and select “in”. Click Create New Design.
2. Upload your images
Go ahead and upload your logo and other images into Canva. Your logo is an obvious choice for a brand kit, but you may also want to just have certain photos easily at hand. Examples of photos you may want to upload are photos of your products, photos of you, or photos of events you have participated in.
There are a few ways to upload images into Canva. I’m only going to share one method here for simplicity and time.
- While in your template, click Uploads on the menu on the left of the Canva screen.
- Select the location of your image file and follow the directions to upload.
3. Start building your document
Give your document a title
The title can be something like “Your Company: Brand Kit”.
- Create a section heading by typing “Logo”
- Place your logo(s) on the screen.
- (Optional but very helpful) Add any notes about where and how the logo should be used.
- Create a section heading by typing “Fonts”
- Type the name of the font. Make sure that it is actually the type it’s naming. Example: If it says Arial then it should be in Arial. Next to the font, provide details about the font such as the size, color, weight (thin, regular, bold, etc.), and usage (Title, heading, body text).
Note: What if you haven’t selected brand fonts? If you click Text on the menu on the left and scroll down, you will see several font combinations. If you like one, choose it. Also, the web is full of articles on how to select font combinations. Enter “brand font combinations” into the search engine of your choice.
- Create a section heading by typing “Colors”.
- Drag boxes onto the screen and change them to the colors you need.
- Beneath each box, enter the name of the color and the hex code value (include rgb if avalable). It is important to enter the hex code because it ensures that you always use the correct version of the color.
What if you don’t know your hex codes? No problem. If you have an image like a logo that contains all of your colors, you can utilize a site like Adobe Color to pull the colors from your image.
Contact Information and Links
You’ll want to add a section for contact information and links because you may need to add this information to the graphics and documents your create using Canva. If you’re anything like me, remembering all of the links and emails is impossible. You may also want to share this information with the designer.
- Create a section heading by typing “Contact”. Note: If you only want to add contact information and no additional links, you can leave off the heading.
- Type in the links and contact information you want to share.
4. How to use your brand kit
Now that your brand kit has been created, there are a number of ways that you can use it.
- You can easily download the document and send it to team members or designers.
- You can use the Canva share feature to share it directly with team members or designers. Pro Tip: Make a copy and rename the copy something like “[shared] Brand Kit”. Making a copy protects your original in case something happens. The “shared” in the title will also serve as a reminder to you not to delete the file or to at least send out a message to everyone to make their own copy before you delete it.
- The brand kit serves as your design center. Allow me to explain.
What makes the brand kit features on the premium version so great is that you have easy access to the images, fonts, and colors while you are designing. The brand kit that we’ve made in the free version is useful, but you don’t have access to it throughout. There are 2 ways to get around that issue.
- Make basic templates for most of the document types you want. Make a Facebook or other social template with the logo, fonts, and colors. Make a pdf document with those same items. Whenever you need to make a new version of those documents, just make a copy and rename the file. Now you can start designing and all of your colors and fonts will already be in the editor.
- You can copy paste between tabs/windows. Open your brand kit. In another tab or window open the template that you want to create. Select items from your media kit. Right click and copy or Ctrl + C for windows Cmd + C for mac. Paste the item(s) on your new design (Ctrl + V for windows, Cmd+V for mac). Now you will have easy access to the colors and fonts.
Here’s a simple brand kit example that I designed for this tutorial. Feel free to use it for inspiration.