SAVINGS: Toucan now try a Canva Pro membership free for 30 days. With it, toucan upload your own fonts, remove backgrounds from photos, save transparent images, gain access to a number of additional elements, and more.
Alternatively, you don’t have to move the mouse at all, and instead, hit “command/CTRL” + “g” to group the elements. To ungroup elements in Canva, select the elements you want ungrouped and then navigate to the top right of your canvas and select “Ungroup.” Or, press “command/CTRL” + “Shift” + “G” as the shortcut.
I don’t see any other potential hurdles, but please be sure to leave a comment or email me if you find yourself needing more out of this. If Canva is in fact a tool you ’re loving, Canva Pro gives you even more reasons for such love, with the ability to magically resize designs, upload custom fonts, and so much more.
I’ve definitely swallowed my pride a few times and just hired a freelancer on Fiverr for quick turnaround, and often receiving something better than I could have done myself. Full disclosure, as an affiliate, I receive compensation if you make a purchase through these links; there’s no extra charge to you.
I’ll also be sharing with you my 5 power tips to help you use the 'roup 'eature better and save you a tonne of time and make your design process super-easy! If you want to move lots of different elements around simultaneously on your Canva desktop the Group feature is really going to come in handy.
Place your cursor near (but not inside) any text boxes and any other elements you want to move. You'll notice that all the elements you selected are now grouped together within one single box with a blue outline.
Note that you will be unable to edit any of these elements individually until you go back to the top right-hand corner of your Canva desktop and click the Ungroup button. This is an essential little tip if you're going to use the Group feature to move elements around on your Canva desktop.
Click on that to duplicate (copy) an entire group of elements if you need to repeat them on a new page, for example. The benefits of doing this are that you maintain the ratio of all the elements inside the group instead of having to resize them individually.
If you create slides or you're an educator and you want to download your work as a PDF to share with students you might want to include a URL link, perhaps to your website or a landing page. To add a link select the elements you want to group together (as above), and then head to the top right-hand corner of your desktop where you'll find a little 'link' icon.
If you're like me and you create multiple images for social media you'll want to be able to resize them quickly to suit each platform. This article will take you through 20 principles of design to hopefully give you a head start in this creative environment.
Even these words and letters you ’re reading now are made up of thousands of curved, angled and straight lines. Check out these wire frame illustrations by Ksenia Starve for apparel brand SN DCT.
Toucan size your elements dramatically large or small to create stunning effects and to signal which parts of your design are more important and which are less. For example, check out this poster by Gab Grzegorz Domaradzki for the movie Drive.
In this poster, the lead character has been scaled up dramatically, drawing attention to him first, and the other faces second. While this scale is not technically based on realism as people’s faces are generally the same size in real life (and Ryan Gosling is not a giant to my knowledge), the dramatic scaling up and down of faces helps viewers to get a quick grasp on each character’s level of importance in the film, as well as making for an effective design.
This scaling of elements to signal importance is often called ‘hierarchy’ which we’ll discuss more in depth later on, fear not! This publication design by The Consult scales up certain statistics, information and numbers a lot to draw attention to those pieces of data over others.
Whites, light grass, soft blush tones and a copper/gold foiling, these chosen colors complement each other gently to create a calm, elegant and feminine design. Unlike the previous example which chose a palette that gently complemented itself, this branding has chosen a color palette that sharply contrasts, creating a much more vibrant, energetic and playful design.
Filters and image adjusters have given us the unlimited ability to adjust our photographs’ coloring and tones. Repetition is a key element when it comes to branding, but it can also make for beautiful one-off designs.
For example, repetition is a key ingredient when it comes to creating patterns and textures. Check out this packaging design by Nasty Chalking that uses repetition to create a beautiful pattern.
Escher did a number of tessellations that focussed on one shape leading into the next via negative and positive space, like this woodcut print “Sky & Water I”. We find symmetrical faces, patterns and designs generally more attractive, effective and beautiful.
Symmetry is used a lot in logos in order to create a harmonious and balanced design. Some examples of large brands with symmetrical logos are Target, McDonald’s, Chanel, Starbucks, etc.
For example, this wedding invitation uses a high degree of symmetry, but if it’s not perfectly mirrored. A prime example of invisible symmetry can be found in editorial design, and more specifically text boxes.
Open up any magazine you have lying around and chances are in a longer article you ’ll notice that the body copy has been split up into columns of text, and these columns are often symmetrically sized to keep things legible, neat, as well as visually appealing. By using a bit of symmetry in your layout, toucan create a sense of balance and order.
If your design doesn’t look quite right, have a go at toying with your symmetry, whether this be increasing it or decreasing it. This stunning example by Jack Crossing layers various shapes of different colors, sizes, and opacities to create a truly beautiful graphic.
Transparency is also a great technique for generating a sense of movement in static images. For example, check out this poster by Filippo Brahmani, Mike Gartner, and Lorenz Posthaste that layers various images with different levels of transparency to create an engrossing effect and sense of movement.
However, as with many things, be sure to use this technique in moderation, as too much texture can quickly overwhelm your design. The more textures applied, the harder type and other elements are to see without a stroke effect around each letter.
This beautiful typographic design by Dan Caesar creates a vintage-inspired effect by using texture. Notice that the use of the rough texture isn’t distracting but rather nicely enhances the piece as a whole, giving it a more handcrafted, authentically-vintage feel.
From text boxes, to images, to blocks of color, consider each of their sizes, shapes, and what ‘weight’ they have in relation to other elements on the page. This vibrant piece uses scale and a clever distribution of elements to make for a balanced design.
Note how this piece achieves balance from left to right and top to bottom through the sizing of elements. Whatever your choice of avenue, be sure that consumers can instantly point to the title without thinking.
The next tier of hierarchy we have the noblemen, the elements that are still important, but that don’t command quite as much attention as the kings. And on the final rung of the hierarchical scale are the peasants, the humble elements of your design that are given the least amount of visual pizzazz, usually things like body copy, less important information, links, etc.
Toucan easily point out the title, the subheading/date, and then down the bottom, the smallest type of additional information that isn’t as crucial to the communication. Some common forms of contrast are dark vs. light, thick vs. thin, large vs. small, etc.
Contrast has a great effect on readability and legibility as well, it’s a big reason why you see novels and many other publications printing in black text on a white background. For example, check out this poster by Jonathan Cornered and the way it ensures there’s adequate contrast against the type and image.
This technique is used a lot in website design, let’s look at an example from Audible’s landing page. See how this landing page design has darkened and muted the image to allow for the bright red box to contrast sharply against the background.
This deliberate contrast helps to draw instant attention to the main call of action (which links directly to a sign up page). Just like you do with your photographs and pieces of art, framing your designs correctly is an important aspect.
Physical frames such as box outlines or graphic element scan enhance or draw attention to specific elements of your design. For example, let’s check out this menu design by Trevor Finnegan that chooses to frame one of the specials as well as the business’ mission statement to draw attention to these two elements that the eye may have otherwise just passed over.
Check out this poster that uses random objects to create a frame for the superimposed type. This way, you draw attention to the piece by the frame, and direct the eye to the really important bits.
Grids can help to keep your content in order, neat, legible and looking good. Once again from Nikola from Magazine Designing, this image shows how a twelve-column grid can give you a lot of flexibility when it comes to aligning your elements.
Don’t think of your grid as lines you have to color inside, but rather a set of simple guidelines used to help you create a stunning design. Check out this example below by Matt Willa, and try to figure out how many columns he used in this design’s grid.
Either way, this example has a clear and identifiable grid system to which each element has been aligned, making for a striking, neat and attractive design. For example, let’s have a look at a design that uses type in a way that could easily be deemed ‘random’ but that has purpose and intention.
This poster by Heath Killed for the film ‘The Killer Inside Me’ mostly uses scratchy, hand-rendered type, and where it uses typefaces, the letters and words are kernel and spaced sporadically and irregularly. This piece layers the hand-type and positions it in a very random way that some people would say hinders the legibility.
If this design were applied to a poster for a children’s movie about cheerful talking animals, it would seem random, and wouldn’t communicate the right thing at all. Also have a look at this design by Laura England that uses a degree of randomness to create an organic-looking, collage-like effect.
Look at how each element has actually been strategically positioned, leading lines have been implemented to guide the eye around the piece, and there has been a selective balance between flat color, texture and photography. This design has opted to represent randomness, with strange shapes, textures, illustrations, all cropped unusually and arranged in interesting ways.
This design appears random, but if you dissect its elements, you ’ll notice that certain parts of the design have been aligned (bottom left blue shape perfectly aligns with the green pointed shape next to it, etc. ), the layout helps the eye flow across the page, and there’s even some hints of a grid at work.
Representing ‘randomness’ and playing with a few avant-garde designs can be effective and super fun. Take a leaf from Juan Camilo Corridor’s book and resize elements in strange ways, throw in a tail of an ‘a’, crop a chicken’s head off, but try to do it while being aware of design conventions and your overall purpose.
This design by Atelier Martino&Jaña directs the eye in a very fluid and organic way, by weaving the text along the curves and shapes of the image. The title and date stand out to us first (thanks to a little hierarchy) and then our eyes are left to flow through the piece as we read the information and take in the photograph.
So, in short, this piece’s flow and direction encourages viewers to read and consume the type while simultaneously taking in the image. Things like: make sure your type is legible, learn to Kern, don’t use pix elated images, etc.
Let’s look at an example that deliberately breaks the rules big time. This poster by Shahid Tag deliberately breaks some cardinal typographical rules in order to make a (very true) joke.
Another example of a rule breaker that you ’ll certainly come across during your design adventures is David Carson. One of the beloved anecdotes about Carson is his layout for an interview with musician Bryan Ferry.
Carson’s basic ethos when it came to design was ‘don’t mistake legibility for communication’. Carson and other rule-breaking designers are often choosing to communicate different ideas to you by breaking the rules.
The ‘migraine’ poster by Shahid Tag we previously discussed breaks the rules in order to make a joke, and Carson’s spread breaks the rules in order to make a point about that interview. But, movement is a big part of the visual arts, including graphic design.
There’s a lot of ways toucan depict this kind of movement, so let’s run over a few examples. We briefly touched on how transparency/opacity can create motion for your designs earlier, but let’s look a little deeper.
This logo example by Vladimir Mikoyan layers sharp geometric shapes of various opacities over each other to replicate a hummingbird’s wings in flight. The simple effect of overlaying these elements creates a clean, clever and sophisticated sense of movement.
Similarly, check out this proposed poster design by Alan Clarke for the 2012 Olympic Games. By layering simple shapes of varying opacities, this poster creates a strong sense of speed and motion.
This example below by Matt Chase uses motion lines subtly on the ‘future’ to indicate movement. A subtle but effective way of giving the design a dynamic edge and indicating movement.
Even with the flattest of mediums, you are able to create a sense of depth, and an illusion that your design expands beyond the second dimension. Now, shadows can be tricky little devils, as they aren’t always linearly shaped, sometimes they stretch, bend, warp and skew.
So, a good technique when exploring shadow-usage is to observe real world shadows, see how the light hits various objects at different points and try to replicate that. Let’s look at an example that showcases an effective use of shadows to create depth.
This reduces the flat appearance, and makes things seem more layered and on different levels and tiers. Check out this design by Fabian De Lange that overlaps illustrative elements, type and graphic elements (the white border) to create a layered look with plenty of depth.
By adjusting the perspective of certain elements, toucan give the illusion of raising them up off of the page, creating instant depth. This electronica-inspired poster by Neil Stevens skews each letter to the right a little and gives them distinct shape and depth.
This simple way of illustrating, shading and adjusting the perspective of each element helps to create a dynamic and engaging design. In September 2013 Apple launched a new operating system that came jam-packed with a whole new design upheaval that basically took away all the bevel effects and drop shadows that created the appearance of depth and replaced them with flatter app icons, screens, etc.
For those of you not familiar, display type basically refers to the fancier, more stylistic typographical designs. Once you ’ve decided between serif or sans-serif, then comes the detailed and sometimes time-consuming step of setting your type.
Make sure your body copy isn’t too big or too small for the medium you are printing onto Composition is a nice point to end on as it is the bringing together of every other principle we’ve discussed.
This is where toucan play, experiment and make a good design look great. As mentioned, composition is basically where all the previous 19 elements we’ve discussed come together.
It also draws attention to the title by using hierarchy and placing it at the top center of the page, making it larger than the other type, and framing it. Note how they all come together in this specific way to create a strong, attractive and effective design.
Overall, by using different combinations, techniques, and content you are able to create an infinite amount of layouts. Once you have that part down-pat, toucan then use different combinations of those notes to create just about any song you want to sing.
Sound Of Music metaphors aside, let’s run over some quick tips and tricks for mastering your composition. Design is a constantly evolving and changing field and each situation is different, unique and exciting.
Develop a ‘design eye’ and keep a mental (or physical) record of interesting ways to use these techniques and store that away for a rainy day.