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Tips and tricks to master social media graphics

Creating social media graphics has never been this easy – thanks to some useful apps. Here’s how to master them with some useful tips and tricks.

Social media is a big deal, period. Almost every business worth its dime needs to have a social media presence today. And apart from the engagement, as in the actual socialising, a big component of that presence is the content you put out on social media – images, videos and more. There are quite a few handy tools for your computer and your phone that can help you master that. Here are a some of those tools and how you can use them like a pro!

Use Canva

One of the most useful web-based tools for social media graphics, the best thing about Canva is how much you can do on it. From pre-configured templates for all social media needs to an almost inexhaustible stock of elements ranging from illustrations to icons – if you’re a social media executive of any level the usefulness of Canva is not lost on anyone. But even within this uber-useful platform, there are few tricks you can use to get the most out of it. Check out the platform here, it’s free.

Canva Interface
Canva is a very useful platform that is capable of fulfilling almost all your social media graphics needs

Move elements by incremental amounts

Like most image based editing tools today, Canva provides the ability to move elements around on your canvas using keyboard arrow keys, once they are selected. But that is by a measly 1px at a time and that can be frustrating, even if you’re going for an exact alignment. Without losing the convenience of using the keyboard, you can use the shift+arrow keys to move objects around by 10px at a time.

The alignment grids help you get the perfect arrangement
The alignment grids help you get the perfect arrangement

Group elements without creating a selection box

In a design, you might have the need to maintain the alignment of certain elements with respect to each other, yet move them around on the canvas. One way to do that is to use the mouse cursor to create a selection box around objects but that can be inconvenient if the objects are far apart and there are other elements in between that you do not want to include. Use shift+click to group objects together and move them.

Everything except the ice-cream has been selected in this instance
Everything except the ice-cream has been selected in this instance

Use keyboard shortcuts

Apart from the shortcut-based tips above, there are a bunch of other useful keyboard shortcuts that can make this already easy-to-use tool even more handy. Check out these shortcuts here. For instance, in Canva, you can press T any time to create a textbox.

Shortcuts - shortcuts everywhere!
Shortcuts – shortcuts everywhere!

Use filters – and keep them consistent

Filters have become an inseparable part of a social media experience. Once available only to photo-editing experts, filters have brought post-processing abilities in the hands of every smartphone and desktop owner. And they are also available on Canva.

Using the same filter for all your graphics can help maintain a brand image
Using the same filter for all your graphics can help maintain a brand image

Click anywhere on an image on your canvas (only applicable for images, not other elements) and in the floating popup menu, select ‘filter’. There are quite a few options along with sliders for brightness and contrast. To keep filters consistent across your images, use the filter code available on the bottom right to keep filters consistent across your images. This will work even if you’ve gone into the Advanced section and played around with more than just the brightness and the contrast, making it a very useful tool to master. And copy this code to apply your own custom made filter to a bunch of images across your social media.

Browse only through free designs

While Canva does have a lot of free options when it comes to graphics and elements, it still does have paid elements as well. And it can be pretty frustrating when you’re looking for something specific among the free options and almost all that shows up is paid. To avoid that, when you’re in the elements tab, type brand:BAAAAP7rQ8M into the search box and hit Enter. All the free elements within the app will be filtered with this and presented to you on the left panel.

Free! Free! Free!

Fill letters

Among the Canva elements, there are a lot of options that are unique. But one is particularly useful if you’re trying to get some unique text onto the canvas. In the elements search box, type ‘Letters’ to get a bunch of frames shaped like the alphabet. Now, use them in your design and fill them with images of your choice to create interesting patterned text like this.

A to Z - everything is right there
A to Z – everything is right there

Design on your phone

Despite all its good features, Canva will let you down on one front – the Android smartphone. While there is an app available for App Store, a counterpart for Android isn’t out there yet. This is where Desygner comes in. While its web app is almost identical to that of Canva, with a couple of additional features like a ruler. And with its mobile app, Desygner offers the same utility on your Android smartphone as well.

Some examples of options available on the app

There you go – that’s probably all you need to know for your quick, instant social media needs everyday. These tools and the tricks for them should make you a pro at social media graphics design in no time. And these aren’t the only tools you can use. If you think we missed anything, let us know in the comments below!

Arnab Mukherjee

Arnab Mukherjee

A former tech-support desk jockey, you can find this individual delving deep into all things tech, fiction and food. Calling his sense of humour merely terrible would be a much better joke than what he usually makes.