Canva + OnSpot Social: Create Custom Brand Images for Marketing Campaigns

Brand Images matter … right?

Are you looking to create custom brand images for your business? Do you have an upcoming marketing campaign that you need to develop creative for? Canva is an incredible tool for businesses who don’t have a designer on staff or even for teams who have an art department but need a super quick fix.

Not only is Canva easy to use, but it’s a free tool for creating custom images. Canva allows you to create free logos, printed brand materials, digital images for social media, and much more. In this article, we are going to walk through a step-by-step approach that you can use to create custom brand images.

Sign up For a Free Canva Account

free logo tool

Signing up is easy. Canva customizes your experience based on how you classify yourself. Canva allows you to select:

  • Education (teacher or student)
  • Small business (startup or blog)
  • Large company (100+ employees)
  • Nonprofit or Charity
  • Personal

Select your classification and then sign up using your email address or your Google account.

Choose a Design Template to Create Custom Brand Images

create marketing materials for free

One of the best features of Canva, of which there are MANY,  is the ability to choose a design template to start from. Canva makes it super easy for anyone to use their service because they provide so many plug and play options. Canva provides templates for creating business logos, presentations, social media posts, ads, resumes, posters, banners, invitations, eBooks, business cards, gift certificates, email headers, and much more.

Simply click the green ‘Create a Design’ button located at the top of the left navigation bar, select the design template you want to use, and you’re off and running.

lead capture banner blog post

You can also start from scratch and create custom brand images using your own dimensions. Simply click on “Use custom dimensions” in the top right corner and input your images’ width and height dimensions as pixels, millimetres, or inches. When creating custom home screen background images for OnSpot Social we recommend using this option in Canva.

Start Designing with Canva

Canva Instagram

For the purposes of this article, we have chosen to design an Instagram post using Canva. You will see from the image above, Canva starts you off with a blank canvas in the middle of the screen. This is your playground. If needed, easily add additional pages by clicking the “Add a new page” button below the white canvas.

On the left side of the screen is where you can pull in all of the elements needed the create custom brand images needed for your next marketing campaign. We’ll start digging into each of the five options that Canva provides in the next section. Before we do that, a few of the other useful utilities provided by Canva:

  • You can re-name your design so that you can easily find it at a later date by simply clicking on the existing name that Canva provided at the top of your screen “Instagram Post – Untitled Design”. Clicking directly on the design title instantly makes the title editable. Type-in the new design title and click the Done button. It’s as easy as that.
  • Another great feature of Canva is that it auto-saves your work so you never have to worry about losing anything.

Canva Makes it Easy by Providing Layouts, Elements, Text, Backgrounds, and Upload Options

Canva makes it easy to create custom brand images quickly. For our Instagram post, we have the ability to leverage pre-existing layouts, image elements, stylized text headers and copy, backgrounds and even upload our own photos in order to incorporate them into the design. These options are located on the left sidebar.

Simply click on any of the tiles to check out the available layouts, elements, etc. All of the legwork has been done for you by Canva’s designers. All you have to do is sift through the options and pull in whatever makes sense for your brand. A great way to quickly find what you’re looking for is the Search bar located at the top of the left sidebar. Type in your search term and Canva will bring up all of the relevant options.

Choose a Canva Layout to Create Custom Brand Images

Depending on the design that you select, which in our case is the Instagram Post, Canva will provide you with various layouts to pull into your design. Layouts are the perfect tool for making sure your design looks impeccable.

Canva does all of the heavy lifting for you by making all of these layouts available to you for free. Don’t recreate the wheel. Scroll through all of the available layouts that you have to choose from and select the layout the best represents the look that you’re trying to achieve for your Instagram post.

When you’ve found the layout that you want to use, simply click it to pull it into the blank canvas area. You now have a full layout that you can begin customizing for your brand.

Select Canva Elements to Use When Creating Custom Brand Images

create custom brand images canvaCanva elements make it super easy to customize your layouts and designs. Elements are similar to PowerPoint shapes except Canva provides much more to work with and makes elements super easy to manipulate. Add icons to your Instagram post.

Create a border using a square shape. Insert dotted lines or arrows pointing to something you want to call out within your design. All of this is possible by using Canva elements.

Canva provides the following Element categories:

  • Free photos
  • Grids
  • Frames
  • Shapes
  • Lines
  • Illustrations
  • Icons
  • Charts
  • I love Canva

Select the category that you want to explore and begin digging into all of the available options. Once you have decided on the element that you want to pull in, simply click it so that it shows up on the canvas area in the middle of your screen. You can now manipulate that element however you need to in order to make it work well with your design.

If at any point you determine that the element is not going to work with your design, simply delete it and pull in another element. You can create some really amazing images for your brand by simply playing around with all of the available elements.

Format Text Within the Image

edit text canva

The Text formatting feature for Canva is a great tool for getting your copy to look perfect.  You have the option to add a heading, subheading, or body text. Canva also provides you with a number of text templates if you would rather use something that their design team has created. These options are great for creating logos as they are already designed for you.

Regardless of which option you choose, simply click the option to add it to your design. Once the text has been added to your design you can use the Canva editor to adjust the font size, color, and type. We’ll talk more about the Canva editor a little later in this article.

Add a Canva Background to Create Custom Brand Images

canva design toolIf you want to add a colored background or even a designed background to your image then simply click on the Background tile along the left sidebar. It’s positioned between Elements and Upload. Backgrounds are a great way to make your images stand out.

If you decide to simply add a background color you can use the color selector that Canva provides or you can actually add your hex colors by clicking on the plus symbol under “DOCUMENT COLORS.”

Doing so will open a window that makes it possible to input your color code. This option allows brands to match exactly their brand colors.  You can leverage this same functionality even if you choose one of the Canva backgrounds.

The only difference is that you would click the background to add it to your canva and then use the Canva editor from within the canvas area to input your color codes. It’s super simple and ensures that your brand colors are pulled through when you create custom brand images using Canva.

Upload Photos to Use When Designing Custom Brand Images

canva imagesAnother great Canva feature is the ability to upload photos from your device into Canva. The upload works like any other file upload that you have used. Once you have successfully uploaded a photo into Canva it will be available to use for your current design, but also all future designs.

Brands normally have existing imagery or logos that need to be included in marketing materials, which is why Canva allows you to add those files to Canva. To add the photo to your canvas, simply click it. Once it’s been added to your canvas you can use the Canva editor to modify it however you like. You can add as many uploaded photos as you want to your canva design.

Optimize Images Using the Canva Image Editing Tools

canva image editing

As you are adding different layouts, elements, text, backgrounds, and photos to your image? You can start using the Canva editor to customize the look of everything within your canvas. Simply click on the element you want to edit and that will open the Canva editor bar which appears just under the green header bar within the canvas area. This tool is absolutely incredible. It allows you to tweak and fine-tune every aspect of your design. Below is a breakdown of each option and what each allows you to control in order to create high-quality images for your brand.


  • Color selection – Control the color of your layouts, elements, text, and backgrounds by selecting a color option or match the colors of your design to your brand colors by adding in your color codes.
  • Filter – Everyone loves filters these days. Canva provides a number of filters, such as cali, drama, edge, epic, festive, grayscale, nordic, retro, rosie, selfie, street, summer, the blues, and whimsical. There are also advanced options to control the filter intensity, brightness, contrast, saturation, tint, blue, x-process, and vignette. You can even add in custom filter codes if you have those set up for your brand.  For most, you won’t need all of these advanced options, but they are nice to have if needed.
  • Crop – Canva provides you with the ability to crop certain elements in order to get the look just right.
  • Flip – This is a cool option, especially for photos. It’s a great option when you’re trying to layer elements on top of an image but cannot seem to get everything to look just right without obscuring the background photo. By flipping the photo either horizontally or vertically it provides you with a few different options to consider.
  • Spacing – The spacing scale allows you to automatically adjust the space between multiple elements of your image without having to manually adjust them. The scale does all of the heavy lifting for you.
  • Copy – This one is pretty self-explanatory. Copy any element in order to duplicate it.
  • Arrange – I personally use the arrange option quite often. It allows you to move different elements forward or back in order to create the proper layering effects.
  • Transparency – Another option I use quite often is the transparency filter. You can take any element of your image and make it more or less transparent. This allows you to create very interesting visual layers.
  • Link – If you’re creating digital files you can link text to a URL.
  • Delete – Another self-explanatory control option. Use this option to delete an element or group of elements that simply aren’t working within your design.

Easily Download Canva Images

canva create marketing images

When you’re ready to export your image, simply click the “Download” button in the top right of the green header bar. What’s great about Canva is that it will allow you to download your image as a number of different file types. For instance, you can download it as a .jpeg, .png, as a PDF, and even as a high-resolution print-ready PDF depending on how you plan to use the image.

In our example, since we were creating an Instagram post, a .jpeg or .png are the best options. You simply make your selection and click Download. The file will be on your computer in seconds. If you need your file on a transparent background, Canva can accommodate for a few bucks.

Once you’ve created a few images using Canva you will notice that the time it takes to create an image really speeds up. Not that it takes longer to begin with, especially compared to using traditional design software, but like any tool, you get better the more you use it.

Use Canva with OnSpot Social to Create Branded Home Screens for Your Experiential Marketing Campaign

Canva is the perfect free design tool to use to create custom brand images for marketing campaigns using our lead capture platform, OnSpot Social. That said, you will still find this how-to guide for using Canva extremely helpful even if you’re not currently using OnSpot Social for your business.

OnSpot Social is an experiential marketing platform which allows brands to collect email addresses, leads, and engage customers using an iPad at events, in stores, or during sales rep conversations. OnSpot Social allows brands to use custom designed backgrounds within the app,  so using a free tool like Canva to create custom brand images is super helpful.

Here’s a quick example of what one of our custom home screens looks like – we used Canva to create this image:

email collection app

Hopefully, this article was helpful in providing you with a solid overview of all that Canva offers. Canva is an incredible free design tool that all brands and marketers should take advantage of. If you don’t have a designer at the ready Canva will become your new best friend.

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