Updated: Jul 13, 2020

I have been reminiscing about the things we took for granted before Covid-19, in what sometimes feels like a previous life. But I am finding it inspiring seeing businesses rethinking their service offers and pivoting their operations. Showing up online and smashing, it is truly amazing to watch.

I have found myself also thinking about how new challenges can present new opportunities and found a fitting quote from Albert Einstein, who said: “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” And one question that keeps coming up in various conversations was whether we should be marketing in these unprecedented times?

I believe the answer is yes but at your own pace and in your way. Also thinking about how business owners can utilise this time to concentrate on the behind the scenes tasks that you never have the time to do. You could plan your business and steer your reputation with a complete refocus with consideration for the new mindset of your target audience and the current landscape.

Try out these actions they could help:

✔️ Follow a strategic ‘day by day’ and ‘week by week’ approach and continue to show up online and accept that it’s ok to be visible at your own pace.

✔️ Promote your services and products as best you can under these unique circumstances.

✔️ Be strategic and empathetic; support your audiences by sharing insightful information from legitimate sources.

✔️ Reframe your services and seek out new opportunities.

✔️ Stay focused and remember that this WILL pass.

According to Virgin Media “the UK's coronavirus lockdown has roughly doubled the UK's internet usage during the day.” Source The Independent.

I believe that the businesses and brands that show up in this crisis will be the ones that we will all remember. Preparing yourself for a comeback isn’t always easy, but if you do it in the right way, your customers will appreciate it.

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Updated: May 16, 2020

As a business owner and digital marketer, having the freedom to design and create my graphics for campaigns or promotional resources is nothing short of empowering. Using Canva gives me the tools I need at my fingertips to produce high-quality designs for both web and print media. By sharing my Top 5 Design Tips, I thought it could help others to achieve professional design results using Canva as I have.

In a recent article from Social Media Today by Emma Wiltshire titled 'Digital Marketing Tools We're Thankful for This Year' she wrote: "Adobe apps are the most robust design tools you can find on the market and are perfect for people trained in graphic design; but for everyone else, Canva offers a large variety of templates for all your marketing needs." Reading this got me thinking about how much the graphic design process has evolved. It's interesting to think that just ten years ago, delivering marketing campaigns involved so many more methods and people. Working with a trained professional was the only option but an added cost. At the time, I knew that for the simple stuff I needed, if I had the right tool, I could've produced the designs myself. Thank goodness for Canva!

I believe that Canva has unleashed a design revolution for business owners and anyone else that wants to produce high-quality design work. Founded in 2012, Canva uses a drag-and-drop format that provides access to photographs, vector images, graphics, and fonts for over 10 million users in 179 countries around the world. As a brand, this online design tool goes above and beyond to offer user-focused support and best of all, their slogan is 'design anything'. And they're right. We can.

Design Tip #1: Keep it simple

After registering at www.canva.com, it's essential to think about what you are trying to achieve with your designs. Who is your target audience? What is the message? Do you need a call to action? Asking these simple questions will help to stop over cluttering your designs. My rule is to think that every single element in your design has to have a purpose. That's why my designs stay simple and stand out. I made the image above for a client to promote their Twitter account, by adding some engaging copy this image helped grow their Twitter following online.

Design Tip #2: Make the most of the Canva photo library

One of my favourite features that Canva offers is access to a fantastic photo archive that will make your designs come to life. The photos are cleared for commercial use so that you can use them for brochureware, websites, social media the list is endless. Researching images can be time-consuming, so Canva's archive means that you can use specific search terms to find photos that match your messages. I created the graphic above using the search word 'team' and inserting a well-known quote. This graphic could be a nice visual for a celebratory social media post about a recent business accomplishment to give some personality to your brand.

Design Tip #3: Branding success

Steve Forbes, Editor in Chief of Forbes Magazine, said that "Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business" and he's right! For me, consistency is essential; there are lots of options available on Canva for graphics and fonts; it can be easy to enter a Canva rabbit hole. If you've not locked down your brand's colours, fonts and style, why not seize the moment and use Canva to help. For PRO Users there is a handy Branding Kit, where you can add your hex codes so that they are always to hand. The image above is a simple way to make your branding document that you could share with your team so that these vital branding details become embedded in what you do.

Design Tip #4: What the hex?

Canva uses what are called hex codes to code colour. It is a smart way of specifying colour using hexadecimal values. The code always starts with a hashtag (#) and is followed by six numbers or letters, for example, #03DDDC as above. Using these codes can unlock a whole manner of colour options, Canva uses this coding system to make it easy for any colour to be added to your designs. Canva opens up a world of colour options but remains user-friendly. If you struggle with matching colours, Canva also has a Colour Wheel that suggests colour combination making choices simple. You can find it here: www.canva.com/colors/color-wheel

Design Tip #5: Balance is everything

One of the basic principles of design is balance. Without balance, your designs can look incomplete, so attention to detail is paramount because well aligned or well-distributed elements will look tidy and aesthetically pleasing. A way to make sure you're on the right track is to use Canva's Measuring Tool to align the elements of your design. By dragging your cursor over these elements, you can align to the edges and centre, then click Position in the toolbar and choose an alignment option under the Align Elements section. Now perfection is achievable in just a few clicks.

I make marketing simple through my work as a Marketing Consultant. I am now offering a Design Sevice; using Canva, I can provide a graphic design service to help businesses like yours stand out on and offline. If you would like to find out more drop me a line at annette@ah-marketing.co.uk.

I hope that these tips have given you some helpful ways to make the most of Canva. If you have any other great Canva design tips, please share them below in the comments!

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