How to create a beautiful social media template in Canva

Well!! I must say I didn’t plan to be away from my blog this long; I’ve been incredibly busy with clients (yay!), having holidays at the beach (yay!), planning out my business for this year (just you wait 😉 ), and then getting the kids organised to get back into school (phew!). So thanks y’all for sticking with me. I PROMISE I’ll be back to blogging on a regular basis, with lots of great tips for small business, and with particular emphasis on building your brand beautifully, of course.

This year, I’ve got tons of stuff lined up; I’ll be digging into branding, design principles, marketing, and more, and looking at quite specific things such as website layout, customer touchpoints, social media, packaging, and your workspace. Look out 2017!

 

Right now, I’ve got something a bit spesh for you; I’ll be doing a series of tutorials on how to make some really gorgeous things in Canva, that you can easily adapt to your own business.

Canva’s great and I love it for all sorts of reasons, but I hear lots of people getting frustrated with it – on the tech side, not being able to figure out how to do something in particular (yes, it does have limitations, but there’s always ways around everything), and also on the design side, when their graphics end up looking messy and confused and nothing like they imagined. I go into a bit of both and show you how to consistently get good results in this series of tutorials I’m publishing throughout the month, because the tech and the design work hand in hand to produce beautiful things.

Here’s the first. Enjoy.

 

 

How easy was that!?

I hope it also sparked your imagination and you realised just how much you can actually do in Canva with a little practice. It’s great for social media posts, creating ebooks, blog images, posters, invitations, and a whole heap of other things too.

If you’re interested in learning more, I’ve got a free 5-day challenge happening very soon – it starts on Monday 13th Feb. I’ll go through my best hacks and tips, and you’ll get access to a private Facebook group where you can share your wins and frustrations, get feedback on what you’ve made, and ask as many questions as you like.

This’ll be the second time I’ve run the free challenge; and when I posted this offer to the folk who went through the first time, their responses were “Yes! When does it start?”, “This was so good!”, “I’m in. Thanks!”, and “I’m in, too! I learned so much the first time around!”. How’s that for enthusiasm!?!

Jump on in – starts next Monday, 13th Feb – and did I mention it’s free? http://bit.ly/ConquerCanva2.

See you there!
Julie X

 

Branding 101: Why you need to start with a mood board
mood board

 

I confess: if someone were to tell me I should put together a mood board for my business a couple of years ago, I would have rolled my eyes and ever-so-politely ignored them. Pfffft. I already KNEW what I liked; I had a strong sense of design, I had some colours and fonts sorted for my brand and I figured I was good to go. Well of course, how totally arrogant of me.

A mood board does a whole bunch more than help you choose your colours and fonts – it sets the complete tone of your brand, and will guide you for every piece of content you put out in the world. Think carefully about your current collection of images for social media and web – does everything all look like it comes from one place? Does it all carry your brand ‘voice’? Just using whatever takes your fancy on the day and then stamping your logo over the top of everything certainly doesn’t make it all hang together, and even when you use the same fonts and colours throughout, you can still have an awful lot of variation.

If you’re in a creative business, if you’re running things on your own, YOU are a brand, and you need to project something cohesive.

To help you figure out just what that ‘thing’ is, mood boards are ace.

 

Mood boards help you create a visual language.

 

Your visual language includes colours, fonts and image style, as well as projecting the overall vibe of your brand.

And they’re not just for when you’re starting out – they continue to be useful throughout the life of your brand! They’re your starting point for when you’re pulling together your branding elements for sure, but they also double as inspiration and focus every time you go to put out something new for your brand – a new social media graphic, a new blogpost, designing you new business card or packaging – your brand mood board keeps you focused and gives you plenty of clues on how to do that.

Putting a great mood board together is a scavenger hunt, and it’s just about the best fun scavenger hunt there is I reckon! Because it’s all about you, and you can spend lots of extended time on it. You don’t need to put it all together in one hit; there’s always more you can add in. Take your time, do it as you go about your day to day business; add in bits and pieces as they appear – it’s a work in progress.

So where do you start?

 

1. What’s the purpose of your board?

What’s your mood board for, specifically? Is this board about your business brand and what you want to project? Is it to help you identify your ideal customer/audience and what their expectations are? Is it to share with your designer, so they can interpret it to put your website together? Or to share with others on a collaborative project so they get a sense on where YOUR ideas are headed (which can save a whole lot of angst further down the track when you present a finished ‘thing’ and they say they don’t like it…)?

The more specific you are about your purpose, the easier it will be to choose elements that relate to that.

 

2. Get some keywords.

Keywords will help you drive the direction of your mood board and keep you focused (and not disappearing down the pinterest rabbit hole).  These should be chosen VERY carefully, as each impacts on the other (context is everything). For instance, “sexy” can mean very different things to different people; combining it with “whimsical” or “electric” will point it in different directions, and adding in “cool” or “vibrant” will shift and define its meaning even further.

 

3. Where can you find the best source material?

If you’re making a mood board for your brand, sure it’s useful to look to your competitors to see what they’re doing, and see what your target audience is responding to. But take what you find as a springboard – you don’t want to copy, because that just means you’ll end up looking like everyone else. Use your personality, especially if you’re a solopreneur – you are what sets you apart from others in your field.

Inspiration can come from anywhere. Don’t limit yourself to Pinterest (and I KNOW there’s oodles of fabulousness on there so it’s definitely one important avenue to investigate). But inspiration can come from many other places too – use images from magazines and books, and old photos (just scan ’em in if you’re making a digital mood board; print out your scan if you’re working with scissors and paper).

And PLEASE don’t forget to look around you in the real world. Pick up things that interest you, write down ideas that capture your imagination, keep your fingers ready for gorgeous textures, and always take your phone camera with you.

 

4. What do you need to include?

Well, inspirational imagery of course. You don’t have to stick to your niche for imagery either. If a sad clown pic expresses what you want even if you’re in the tech industry, go for it. If a cute puppy does it for you even though you’re in the wellness industry, stick it in. Don’t limit yourself, especially when you’re in collecting mode – you can always cull it later.

 

Collate, then curate.

 

There’s lots of other things you can include as well that are evocative of the mood you’re after. Examples of fonts you like would be great for your branding mood board; and especially if you include your keywords in some of the fonts you’ve chosen.

Textures are fabulous too – a crinkly leaf, a gorgeous bit of velvet or brocade, a piece of bark from a tree, a scrap of leather, a pretty carved button, a fragment of patterned ceramic, a shell from the beach…

 

Colour is one of the most important factors in tying a mood board together – you might have to work at getting a cohesive colour scheme, so keep searching and adding in more things that speak to the style you’re after, and culling out things that don’t fit – you’ll get there eventually!

And when you’ve got a harmoniously colourful board happening, then you can start pulling out particular hues – if it’s for your branding, I would recommend including your palette somewhere in your mood board, and don’t forget their hex codes. Also, if particular colour combinations are going to be a key element of your brand, emphasise them.

 

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Inspired? Get onto it! If you’re still a teensy bit unsure about what/how, check out what google brings up.

But wait, I’ve got more!! Next week, I’ll write about the different tools you can use to create your mood board (believe me, a real-life one that you can touch has a different feel to it than a digital one) – including a bunch of tech and styling tips to make yours sing.

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Got any questions about mood boards? Pop ’em below.
Do you have one for your brand? Are you happy with it? Share it on my FB page – I’d love to see! If you’re not happy, what specific aspect are you struggling with?

J x