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How to use Canva to create a brand kit for your small business

How to use Canva to create a brand kit for your small business

Posted: Thu 9th May 2024

With the rise of digital marketing, having strong visual branding is more important than ever. But you don't need to break the bank hiring a graphic designer – with a tool like Canva, you can create your own branding materials easily and quickly.

Canva is a popular graphic design platform you can use to produce a wide range of visual content. Its user-friendly interface and extensive library of design tools and templates make it the perfect option if you're looking to build an impactful brand.

In this blog for Enterprise Nation's Tech Hub, digital entrepreneur Natalia Nicholson explains how to confidently create professional-looking graphics that reflect your brand identity, boost your online presence and help you connect with your ideal audience.

So whether you're starting from scratch or looking to refresh your current brand, here's how to use Canva to make sure your brand always stands out.

 

Tech Hub: Recommendations and resources to help small businesses adopt new technology

 

Getting your branding right from the start

Sales funnels, customer journeys, user journeys – you may have heard all these terms. Ultimately they all mean the same thing.

You can have the best customer journey, a brilliantly conceived marketing strategy, all your tools and tactics in place, Google Analytics for your data analysis. But if your branding isn't right from the very beginning, you're going to find it difficult to convert potential leads into sales.

A tool like Canva is a great introduction to the world of business branding, and an essential aid in helping you create a brand kit that will boost your brand recognition and make sure everything looks consistent.

Branding as a promise to your customer

Look at any big and successful brand.

  • They're consistent in their branding.

  • They have a logo and are crystal-clear on how they use it.

  • They have their own specific fonts for their marketing materials.

  • They have brand colours and a strong brand image that people associate with them.

This is their promise to the customer.

Before you start building out your own brand kit, you must be clear on your brand story and your brand identity. Your brand story should be one sentence that tells people why you exist, why you've created this particular product, why customers should like you, buy from you and trust you.

Once you have all that nailed down, you can make your brand promise – and explain to your customer exactly what it is you do.

The aim is to convey your brand identity and brand story in all your content. Whether that's a social media post, a marketing video, a blog, your website, your sales pages – your brand guidelines must be ingrained in every single piece of content you put out.

If it isn't, it will break your customers' trust. Customers are intelligent and will spot little tell-tale signs and inconsistencies from a mile off. Once they do, they start to see the flaws in your brand, and worry whether you're authentic.

Creating your brand kit in Canva

The best way I can describe Canva is that it's like having your own in-house graphic designer who'll design everything you need. Your logo, your brand kit, your social media content, maybe even your website and any proposals or presentation documents you need.

Canva is going to be your one-stop-shop for all your brand visuals and marketing assets. And it's really easy to use.

So when putting together your creative assets, it's really important that you get that consistency. Your brand kit as a whole is:

  • your logo

  • your brand colours

  • your fonts

  • your photography and imagery

You can build up all these elements in Canva and pull them from your brand kit as and when you need them.

When you first explore Canva, you'll have the option of a paid version (Canva Pro) or a free version. Anything labelled "Pro" is available only to paid members, but the paid membership is priced quite cheaply at £100 for the year. You'd pay a lot more for an in-house designer!

Your logo

For such a small symbol, your logo represents so much. It's the start of your journey as a business, and the visual cornerstone of your brand's identity. It's much more than just the image or text it contains – it embodies the essence, values and distinctiveness of your brand.

A well-designed logo ensures people recognise your brand, fosters brand loyalty and communicates your brand's message to your audience effectively. What it's doing at all times is bringing your customer or your prospect back to the promise you're making: "This is what we do."

So it's really important for your logo to be:

  • simple

  • recognisable

  • memorable

  • clear

In the beginning, no-one really knows who you are, so it's worth designing a logo that states plainly what your business is offering. There's no one rule – what works for one business won't always work for another. But not overcomplicating things is definitely the way to go.

Think about your brand identity and your brand story. Think about the message you're trying to convey to someone who doesn't know your business and is coming into contact with you for the very first time.

Designing your logo in Canva

  • In the top-right corner of Canva, you'll see a purple button that says Create a design. When you click it, you can either upload an existing design – let's say you're doing a rebrand and want to tweak your old logo – or create a new design.

  • If you type "digital marketing services logo" into the search bar, you'll see lots of templates appear. Click one to open it, and Canva will take you to a screen where you can play around with all the different design elements: colours, text, background and so on.

  • Whenever you upload files to Canva, they become part of your library. If you have an image you'd like to use, you simply upload into Canva first – with a simple drag and drop – then apply it where you like.

 

 

Your brand colours

After your logo, it's time to think about your colour palette and the colours that make up your brand. My business, Women in Digital Business, is targeted at underrepresented groups, mainly women of colour, so we have a whole spectrum of beiges and browns and oranges. And that's our palette.

It's really important to have a standard set of colours and use them consistently. If you're inconsistent and have a lot of different things going on, it will break that feeling of trust with the customer. No matter what content you send out into the world, stick to your brand colours across all your branding materials, and even your product packaging.

Using a uniform colour palette will help make your digital marketing channels – like your website, your social media and your email newsletters – really strong and professional. That's your brand identity right there.

Designing your brand colours in Canva

  • In Canva, you can click into Brand on the left-hand side of the screen and store your brand kit there.

  • In your brand kit, you can set all your brand colours. Later, if you want to change a background or a template, for example, you can select colours that you know are from your colour palette.

  • You're looking to develop a colour system. For example, you might have a specific colour you use for buttons on your website. You might have a base colour you use for backgrounds, or a particular colour for headings in text.

  • Keep your brand identity strong by applying your colour palette accurately and consistently in all your content.

 

 

Your fonts

The fonts in your brand kit are critical to your brand's visual identity. They include specific typefaces and styles, such as bold, italic and so on. You need to choose which font you're going to use to communicate your brand message effectively and consistency across all media.

Fonts contribute to your brand's personality, readability and overall visual appeal.

Readability, in particular, is very important. You can have a great-looking font that's actually not very easy on the eye. If people can't read it, it isn't doing its job. This is something you should test before you go live with your brand kit.

In terms of overall visual appeal, fonts help to make sure you have a cohesive and recognisable brand presence with each part connecting to the other.

A good rule of thumb is to have no more than three fonts:

  • one for headings

  • one for subheadings

  • one for body text

Designing your fonts in Canva

This video is all about how to create your brand fonts. Again, you'll click Brand on the left-hand side to go into your brand kit and set up all your fonts.

 

 

Your photography and imagery

The imagery you use for your branding is key. What photos and images you use will depend on what you're selling, but ultimately people want to feel a connection with you.

Photography in a brand kit refers to the style and type of images you use to visually represent your brand's identity and values. It encompasses everything from the subject matter and the composition to the lighting and the colour schemes.

A consistent photographic style really helps reinforce your brand's message and emotional appeal, and makes the brand recognisable and relatable to your audience. It's really essential to how you create a cohesive visual narrative across all the different segments of your brand community.

With my business, our target audience is underrepresented women. So you can imagine how important imagery is, because underrepresented groups often don't feel heard and don't speak up. It's really vital that in the photography we use, they can see a reflection of themselves and who they want to be.

 

Watch this webinar to learn more about navigating Canva’s user-friendly interface and finding all the features you need to create truly impactful marketing materials:

 

Exporting and using your Canva brand kit

Once you've compiled your brand kit and all its essential elements – logo, colour palette, fonts and photography – you'll need to export it from Canva so you can use it and share it.

Exporting it in a format that's really accessible to your team, partners and potential collaborators will make sure you're getting that consistency across all your marketing materials.

You can export your brand kit as a PDF or a cloud-based style guide, then share it with anyone who's involved in creating content for your brand. That might be a graphic designer, copywriter or video editor you're outsourcing work to, for example.

With your brand kit in hand, they can make sure that every piece of material they create aligns with your standards and guidelines.

 

Tech Hub: Recommendations and resources to help small businesses adopt new technology

Keen to adopt tools like Canva? Tech Hub can help you

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Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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