Technology Meetup Recap: Canva Tips & Tricks

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On Thursday, March 11, the American Booksellers Association presented a Technology Meetup focused on using the free graphic image platform Canva.

The session, called “Canva Tips & Tricks,” featured a demonstration of the program to customize a marketing asset by ABA Graphic and Web Designer Melissa Napolitano, as well as advice and best practices from booksellers Erin Matthews of Books With A Past in Glenwood and Savage, Maryland; Tonisha Kimble of Wonders of the World Book and Toy Store (online); and Jackie Kenny of Paulina Springs in Sisters, Oregon.

Booksellers can view a recording of this session on the Education Resources page on

Here are some of the key points from the session:

  • Booksellers can use Canva to customize ABA’s social media marketing assets, which can be found on Canva has an option to upload images into an Instagram-friendly template. Additionally, there are templates available for Facebook, Twitter, and more.
  • From there, booksellers can add their store’s logo, contact information, and other important information. The typeface, size, and color for fonts can all be customized. The customized image can then be downloaded from Canva and uploaded to social media platforms.
  • Napolitano recommended booksellers keep the following best practices in mind when creating a graphic:

    • Keep font typefaces and sizes simple. Try to keep typefaces down to two kinds; more than that can get too busy.
    • Use white space to help make designs look neater.
    • When using a design element, be sure you have a reason for it. Less really can be more.
    • Keep designs fully consistent across campaigns.
    • Come up with a thoughtful layout. Using frames and a grid system can make graphics look more professional.
  • Matthews said that she loves Canva because it gives her a strong starting point to work from. Users can choose from templates, color schemes, and more to make a quick post. She also used Canva to create a collage to use as a cover photo for her store’s page on
  • Matthews resisted upgrading to the paid Canva Pro for years, but now that she has, she thinks it’s worth the price. With a paid account, users can create a brand kit, save images, and more.
  • Kimble, who also uses a Canva Pro account, has been using the service for the past several years. She also uses the Canva app, which has limited features but is still really convenient. She finds both versions user-friendly, simple, and intuitive.
  • Kimble said Canva is great for users who don’t have a background in graphic design. She mainly uses Canva to create graphic and text-based images; she prefers to use different programs for actual photos.
  • In addition to creating social media assets, Kimble said that users can also print out cards, fliers, bookmarks, and more.
  • While Kimble doesn’t follow a style guide, she does have a color scheme for her store that she uses in all the assets she creates.
  • To learn more about Canva, Kimble said the best thing to do is to just dive in and create images.
  • Kenny said that she’s only been using Canva for the past two months. Paulina Springs has used the service to create social media posts, a newspaper ad, event marketing posts, and more.
  • Users can also use templates to create presentations, cards, and even graphics for clothing. To highlight art books in her store, Kenny used a web banner template to create a colorful Instagram post.
  • Kenny also said there are options to pull colors from images users might be using in their posts; this helps keep a consistent aesthetic.