EVENTS Visual marketing with Canva

Another belter from SCBWI Scotland. If you missed the Visual Marketing with Canva Workshop 
with Iris Pase, fear not. Author Lindsay Littleson has kindly shared highlights, tips 
and personal insight for those new to Canva.

Months ago, my daughter Sally told me I should really be using Canva for promoting my books and book-related events. Obediently, I downloaded the app, had a look and backed quickly away, utterly flummoxed. It all seemed so complicated!

So, I was delighted to discover that SCBWI Scotland were running a Canva workshop, and hoped that it might help to raise my confidence levels enough to at least give it a go.

At the beginning of the workshop, the majority were completely new to Canva, although some of us had some limited experience.

Iris explained that Canva is an easy-to-use, graphic design platform and can be used to create content including flyers, social media posts and cards for all occasions! She had some excellent tips on how to increase engagement and sell our work on social media.

  • Use attention grabbing pictures and animations, but know you audience. Who is your content aimed at?

  • Even the basic Canva templates can be customised, so make them your own.

  • Make use of your writing skills. Sell, but through story-telling. It will be much more impactful than a hard sell.
  • Build a consistent brand - perhaps by creating a colour palette matched to your current book cover.

Iris then talked us through the basic tools. If there is a little crown next to it, the feature or graphic is only available to those on the paid plan, and I do think that working with the free version might eventually become frustrating when so many lovely elements are out of reach.

Iris demonstrated how an Instagram post template could be customised by changing the graphics and fonts. Apparently, animated pictures and gifs really help attract attention on social media and Iris showed us where to find them on the dashboard. She explained that the phone app is quite user-friendly but using Canva on a laptop makes it easier to move design elements around and designs are obviously easier to see on the larger screen. She added that a basic square shape suits most social media posts.

Then, guided by Iris, we all attempted to create a Twitter banner. My first attempt was dire, but experimenting was great fun and I think we were all beginning to see the benefits of Canva.

Image: Iris Pase

Next, we had a go at making a social media post about a book signing. The shared result was really impressive and incredibly professional-looking. Mine definitely needed some more work.

The two hours had flown by and with only a few minutes left, we created a book review for Twitter or Instagram. My final effort was definitely an improvement on my first!

Many thanks to Iris for leading the workshop and to Caroline and Onie for arranging this event. It was such an enjoyable and helpful mix of information and practical application. My confidence levels are so much higher and I can’t wait to start creating my own attention-grabbing social media posts.

Just need a little more practice...

Image credits: Onie Tibbitt


Stephanie Cotela is the Network News & Events Editor for Words & Pictures Magazine. 

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