Are you creating your own social media graphics on Canva or another platform? These tools can help you keep your brand's look sharp on social—but only if you know how to use them!
Before you invest time and energy into creating DIY graphics, be sure you understand this six-step checklist of design tips.
1) Know the goal of your social media graphic.
This is good advice to follow before doing anything for your business. Always know what you are hoping to accomplish. Is the social media graphic you are designing meant to share information? Sell a product? Teach something? The goal should drive the content, layout, and design of your post.
2) Never DIY without your Brand Identity Guide handy.
Assuming that you have invested in professional brand design, your designer likely created a Brand Identity Guide for your reference. This guide will help you confidently use the right brand colors, fonts, logo sizing, and more when creating your DIY social media graphic. Keeping consistent with these elements of your visual identity will help your design look polished and on-brand.
3) Choose imagery for your social media post carefully.
Think back to your goal and determine whether a photograph or graphic is the best imagery to communicate your message. Make sure that any photo or graphic you choose is not copyrighted (or be sure to request permission to share with credit). It's also important to select images and graphics that align with your brand's overall look and feel. Custom photography and graphics are always the best!
4) Use typography to emphasize your point.
Use words wisely within your graphic. I think it works best to limit the amount of text to avoid overwhelming people. Make sure the text you do include is legible. Use the typefaces indicated in your Brand Identity Guide and don’t use more than three separate typefaces in one graphic. (Typefaces are font families such as Times New Roman, Calibri, or Futura.) Think about your typographic hierarchy and choose the biggest or boldest fonts to call attention to key points.
5) Don't forget white space in your social media graphic.
White space, or negative space, is a way to describe the background of a graphic. Despite its name, white space doesn't need to be white at all! It can be any color, texture, pattern—or even a background image. By having enough white space, the viewer’s eye can more easily interpret your graphic. Avoid things looking cramped by ensuring there is enough space around text boxes, logos, and imagery. Also, size things to avoid too much white space, or your design will look unfinished and sparse.
6) Size your social media graphic correctly.
A properly-sized social media graphic will give you the most impact. Thankfully, Canva makes it easy to know exactly what size to use for each of your platforms and post types with their social media sizes reference guide!
Here’s one more bonus tip—batch and plan to save time! Start by mapping out which more highly designed social media posts you have coming up in the next month. Then set aside some time to create all of the post graphics at once to ensure that you are consistent in your branding and imagery while also varying the look enough to keep your feeds interesting. I’d love to see the DIY graphics you create with this checklist as your guide—be sure to tag me in a comment the next time you post one!