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.
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!
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.
#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.
Each one literally takes minutes to complete.
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:
Or what about this one. I can’t wait to play around with the “blur” function:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
by @benjaminsoo, who used the Blackout Sunrise and Sheepman Bold fonts (the latter is available in the Handy Pack in the STORE). ___________________________________ Would you like to see your photos featured here? Add the hashtag #bestofOver to the photos you use Over with. We look for creative, clever, square, inspiring, minimalistic, beautiful edits. (Check out pictures we’ve posted here for examples of what we look for.) Enjoy creating!
or this clever use of words and images:
#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!
Happy holidays!! Here are some lovely recent #WordSwagApp edits, including designs made with our FREE holiday edition of the app! If you don’t have the app yet, search the App Store for “Wordswag” – it’s the app with the red icon. . Congrats to @wangrim0816, @chaholl2011, @manifeisty, @sirujana, @jared_levy, @sofiedee, @reedw98, @suchtruewords, & @hotairballooncairns! . Design amazing text layouts automagically with @WordSwag <”” download link
A photo posted by Word Swag App (@wordswag) on
I’s no surprise that Canva’s Instagram account can be a source of visual content inspiration too – check it out:
#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!
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!
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.
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):
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!
Latest posts by Donna Moritz (see all)
- 5 Super Easy Tips for Instagram Engagement to Get the Party Started - May 23, 2016
- 5 Ways to Get Started with Short Video, Even If It Freaks You Out - April 16, 2016
- 50 Shortcuts to Create Visual Content for Social Media - March 5, 2016