Create Better Visual Content at Warp Speed with these Shortcuts

Are you avoiding creating visual content for your social media posts because you don’t feel creative? Not a designer? No time?

It’s your lucky day… You don’t need to be creative when you use these awesome resources to fast track your learning at warp speed.

In fact you can learn to create awesome content for posting to all of your visual social media platforms with these shortcuts – in no time at all.  Call them “learning hacks” if you will.

Create Better Visual Content at Warp Speed with these Shortcuts
Warp Speed by Shutterstock

I spend a lot of time convincing my readers, subscribers and program members that they CAN do this “visual content stuff”. They can create shareables, or short video or slidedecks… if they embrace the tools we have at our disposal.

You may have heard me talk about some of those tools on this blog – Canva, WordSwag, PicMonkey, Over, and the list goes on. Three years ago, even two years ago, we did not have the amazing tools and apps at our disposal that we do now.

People often ask me about how I can create visual content so swiftly and easily.  Wanna know a secret? It’s not me! It’s the tools… plus a little secret designer “training” that takes less time than you think. It’s that training that I want to share with you in this post.

I’ll be highlighting some places you can go to for “design” tips – the little nuances of layout, colour, images, fonts/text and balance that don’t necessarily come easy.

Sure the tools make it easier – but everyone can do with a little designer “edge”, right?  The following resources go beyond the tools to some of the insider designer tips and tricks that give you that extra edge.

These are my top 5 top go-to-places for visual awesomeness – or at least making my visual content look somewhat attractive and eye-catching.

 

#1  Canva Templates

“Hang on a sec, Donna!  Canva is a tool”, I hear you say.

Yes, yes it is.

But …within that tool is a world of discovery – via their templates.

What are Canva templates? They are pre-designed “templates” – sized correctly for particular projects – ie a Facebook post or Instagram Post, Podcast image, or social media image. Each “template” has a series of designs that you can choose from – making the design process easier!

Use Canva Templates to Create Better Visual Content Quickly!

 

So how does this help me to learn how to create better visual content for my social media marketing? Whenever I visit Canva’s templates, I scroll through a few designs and use them for inspiration:

  • When you find a template design you like, click on the font to see what the Designers at Canva are using – all caps? lower case? style? size?  Write it down and use it in your own designs!
  • Make a note of what font combinations work well together. Getting that part right makes it sooooo much easier to whip out a great looking image.
  • Use the templates as a starter.. pick one, but change out the image. You can learn so much just by changing one element or adding your own colours/fonts/text.  Learning by doing is more effective than watching a video training, reading a post or listening to a podcast.
Use Canva Templates for Stylish Design
Use Canva Templates for Stylish Design

 

#2  Design Tutorials (at the Canva Design School)

The “Design Essentials” Tutorials are a one-stop-shop for us non-designers!  If you are like me and you do not “get” Photoshop, BUT want to learn how to create shareable visual content, quickly and easily and in a fun way..then you will love this resource.

I can’t speak highly enough of the Design School at Canva. It’s the combination of the Blog (see #4 below) and the Design Essentials tutorials.

These tutorials are split into sections that star with 3 Introductory tasks and move on to tasks based around Colour, Images, Fonts, Backgrounds, Shapes and Icons, Layout etc.

Design Essentials Tutorials at Canva help you to learn about design quickly.
With Canva’s Tutorials, you can fast track your learning!

Each one literally takes minutes to complete.

Minutes!

And it’s not a video or boring training blog post. It’s a real, interactive “you do the activity” kind of training. Because it is so hands on, you remember what you learned and you start using the skill in your own designs.

For example, I learned how to use the “Saturation” filter and shapes to make this cool effect:

Learn to use different design techniques using Canva's Design Tutorial templates
This color saturation task taught me something new that I can USE!

 

Or what about this one.  I can’t wait to play around with the “blur” function:

How to create Better Visual Content with Canva's Design Tutorials

Stuck? Need a hint?  Just hit the “Need a Hint” prompt and a video pops up showing you how to do the task!  Simple!

The Design School also keeps a record of which trainings you have done, ticking off those that you have completed… it’s like a fun game, and because they are so quick to do, it’s easy to do one each day, or even more.

Canva Design Tutorials allow you to create better visual content
Canva Design Tutorials allow you to track your progress

 

Trust me, this is worth it.  The secret creative mind of Melanie Perkins (Canva CEO, Co-Founder and Design Extraordinaire) shines through in every one of these mini-design lessons.  It’s such a personal touch to be able to do the lessons hands-on in Canva.

Get stuck in with Design School!

 

#3  Get friendly with Design Tools on Instagram

Here’s the thing. Design Tools on Instagram post awesome images on their accounts that showcase how to use their own Design Tools.

Which is a good thing – as the images they post are awesome.

So….

If you follow those design tools, you can get daily inspiration for different ways to use those design tools.

Are you with me?

Let’s take a look at 3 of the best ones to follow:

#1  Over

When it comes to looking at how to use a design app or tool, Over has to be my favourite for inspiring ideas.  Their entire Instagram account is filled with images created with Over (available on iPhone or Android).  When you see something you like, take note of the layout, style and font.

Over Account on Instagram shows us how to create visual content easily and quickly
Follow Over on Instagram for Inspiration

 

One thing that I Iike about their account recently is that they showcase images (many by fans) that portray a clever mix of images and fonts to create awesome visuals. Like this mix of visuals and text to feature a Lava Lamp:

 

  or this clever use of words and images:    

A photo posted by Over (@over) on


#2  WordSwag WordSwag curate User Generated Content from their fans to showcase the awesome ways in which other people are using WordSwag – let these designs be your inspiration!


#3  Canva

I’s no surprise that Canva’s Instagram account can be a source of visual content inspiration too – check it out:

Canva on Instragram is a great place for Design Inpiration
Check out Canva’s Instagram account for inspiration for visual content

 

How to Create Better Visual Content (at Warp Speed) with these Shortcuts
Pin it for later!  Image by Shutterstock.

#4  Canva Blog

Once you have finished some tutorials, be sure to read the blog – jam packed with regular posts about how to create and use visual content for social media, it is an easy way for me to get some quick, easy to implement ideas.

The Canva blog is designed for everyone – not just designers.  Take advantage of it!

The Canva Blog is a great source of learning for skills to create visual content

 

Today, I did a quick check in to the blog and read this post – it took just a minutes and I got some really great tips about alignment – tips that are relevant to use with any design tool of choice, not just Canva.

And when you have finished the blog post? There’s a link to do the “Alignment” tutorial. Sweet!

Canva blog posts are a great source of ideas and learning to create better visuals!

 

#5  Picmonkey Blog

Just like the Canva blog, the Picmonkey blog has some great tips for using not only their tool, but creating and designing in general with any tool.

Picmonkey Blog is a great resource for learning new tricks!
Drop by the Picmonkey blog to get some new ideas!

 

Not using PicMonkey? You can sign up here.  It’s worth keeping an eye on this blog as they also highlight new themes that they have released on Picmonkey.

For example, this new theme for comic super heroes (which I LOVE):

PicMonkey Blog is a treasure trove of great visual content tips!
New resources? PicMonkey keep you in the loop on their blog. Boom!

 

That’s it – 5 ways to fast track your design skills at warp speed without signing up to a University course on Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator!

Your turn.  What’s one thing you wish you could do more easily when creating visual content for posting to social media – leave a comment below!     

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Donna Moritz

Visual Social Media Strategist at Socially Sorted
Donna is the founder of Socially Sorted, a Top 10 Social Media Blog Winner in 2015 & 2016, and winner of the 2014 Best Australian Blogs Competition (Business Category). Donna helps businesses, bloggers and entrepreneurs use visual social media and content strategy to get more traffic, shares and sales in their business. She is a contributor to Entrepreneur Online and Social Media Examiner and has been featured in Forbes, NBC, Yahoo, the Huffington Pos, Entrepreneur and Problogger.
  • Thank you so much for sharing Donna! I wondered how to create customized captivating visuals, but thanks to you I now know where to go to do this! Thanks again 🙂

    • Awesome Diana! That’s great to hear. Glad you found it useful and have fun playing with the tips and tricks!

    • Thanks Donna and Diana, too. I myself is thinking on how to do better visuals and there you have the list of tips and stuffs. This is worth bookmarking and gonna do this, sooner.
      Thanks again!

  • I have a huge desire to create better images quicker, yet don’t feel like I have the time to transform that desire into action. Going to Canva Designer school this weekend; thanks for the nodge, Donna!

    • AWESOME Ana…. the Design School is seriously cool and even if you do just one you go “just one more” haha. It’s gamification at its best. If you use even one or two of these strategies and then do some of their hands on tutorials you will get some cool tricks to put up your sleeve!

  • Wow, Donna! This is such a rich post! I am sharing to my peeps:)

  • Nathalie

    So, Donna, I know PicMonkey and Canva inside out but have NEVER used WordSwag. Will put this on my list right away Thank you!

    • haha you will LOVE it! It’s very addictive and super fun to use!

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