Hi friends! Today’s post will be a little on the long side, but I hope you’ll stick with me because I’ll be sharing my all-time favorite Canva tips & tricks with you! In this Canva for makers post I will share some of the reasons I love the website so much and give you a more in-depth look at what you should be paying attention to while writing up your patterns with Canva. And to wrap things up, I’m also showing you my favorite free Canva templates that’d work perfectly as cover pages for your patterns with all free fonts & other elements + 2 model pages for the written instructions!
So if you’re ready, let’s get started!
Disclaimer: all the opinions in this blog post are my own and this post is in no way affiliated with or sponsored by Canva. If you use Canva media in your designs/products, make sure you’re familiar with the Canva license agreements.
Why I love Canva
Canva is an amazing free tool for so many design needs and especially for pattern writing! Once you get comfy with the website and find/create templates you love, you’ll notice that writing up patterns becomes an absolute breeze and something you actually enjoy doing.
To keep things simple & sweet, here are 3 things I love about Canva!
It’s free. Canva offers so many amazing features for free from fonts to illustrations to images to templates, you name it. I feel like this is a major plus especially if you’re just getting started on your maker journey and are looking for affordable and easy-access ways to find your style and create your brand image, and in the long run it allows you to explore different looks and designs as you & your brand grow and develop!
It’s simple. When I think about Canva, I think about boxes: all the elements are sort of in their own boxes that can be separate or grouped together, and moved freely on the document. Canva offers SO MANY different design sizes (A4 for documents, Instagram stories, Youtube thumbnails, Pinterest graphics, and maaaaaany more) and each design size includes tens and tens of different ready templates, or you could also start from scratch if you wanted to make the design yourself. As you can imagine, this gives endless possibilities when it comes to writing patterns and making other material for your creative business, yet things don’t get overly complicated!
It’s easy. Once you have your pattern template ready, all that’s left is to copy it for your future patterns. This allows you to work much faster and also enjoy the hard work you put in while were creating the template – just update the template to match your new knit/crochet/macramé/insert-craft-here design and you’re good to go!
A closer look
Okay, now let’s get a little more specific! Here are the things I pay attention to while writing patterns on Canva:
The template. As I mentioned before, Canva is full of amazing free templates you can easily edit to fit your personal design needs. I especially love templates for the cover pages of my patterns, and later in the post I’m sharing my favorite free templates for pattern covers! To me, a pattern is allowed to and should look like you – the more you can make it fun and personal, the better!
The pictures. Make sure you’re using high quality pictures of your products to showcase your awesome new design. Your customers want to see how you style your new piece, what it looks like up close and just how amazing it really is! Note here that if you add multiple pictures, you’ll want to make sure your pictures aren’t too big – this will easily make your pattern PDF unnecessarily heavy. Before importing pictures to Canva, make sure you’ve reduced their size to under 1MB per picture.
The fonts. When it comes to fonts, I’d definitely go with less is more. Try to stick to 2-3 fonts: pick bolder ones for headings and something more basic for the body text. The most important thing is that your text is easy to read, and a font that allows you to make the text bold, write in italics and underline parts is a big plus for when you want to highlight parts of your text! Here are elements you can change in your text boxes:
- The font: so many to choose from!
- Font size
- Text color
- Boldness, italics and underline
- Letter spacing & line height
The colors. Let your brand colors show in your pattern PDF! Whether it’s in background colors, heading colors, illustrations colors, make sure you stay true to your style. My favorite tool for finding matching colors is Coolors – it allows you to generate color schemes and make palettes that are the perfect support for your brand identity! Another cool website for making color palettes is Kaboompics, that lets you search for images (let’s say you’re looking for color inspiration based on peonies or Italy), and once you find a picture that matches your vibe it gives you the color palette + all the color codes. How awesome is that!
The elements. Canva has an amazing library of different types of elements like shapes, grids and illustrations that come in handy when you’re typing out your pattern. And so many wonderful items are available in the free version of Canva! I love using different shapes in the background of my text to further highlight what’s important or simply as a design choice, pictures can be put in frames to give them a new life and they also have a bunch of social media icons – all these things take your patterns to the next level and make them look professional and finished!
A thing to keep in mind when it comes to text boxes is that each individual text box is its own entity, and if you want to change a text characteristic and apply it to the entire document, you’ll have to do so separately in every single text box (I haven’t found a way to change the font of the entire document like you would do on Word for example). But personally this has never slowed me down!
Putting it all together. Let’s say you’ve now decided on the fonts you want to use and have created the first heading + text body combination. Instead of always starting from scratch, try grouping these two text boxes together, after which you can duplicate the newly created box of elements and change the text as needed. This is a step that helps you save time and keeps you from repeating the same steps over and over! In fact any items can be grouped together on Canva – be it text with text, text with pictures, pictures with shapes, and so on.
Locking elements. Sometimes you might want to group some elements of the template together, but not all of them, yet items you don’t wish to include are too close and get grouped into your selection. Not to worry! You can lock elements that are on your template, which means as long as they’re locked they won’t move and therefore won’t bother you when you’re moving boxes/pictures/shapes around your document. Super practical!
Page numbering. There’s no automatic page numbering but this can be easily solved – just insert a text box in the corner of the document and write the page number there!
Duplicating pages. Once you’re happy with the look of your page layout, click the ‘Copy page’ icon above the page on the right and it’ll copy the entire page and add it below. This way, you’ll have your headings, text bodies, colors, page numbers + all other possible elements ready where they need to be and all you need to do is change the text to match your pattern (and manually change the page number as well)!
Duplicating designs. When all the hard work is done, give yourself a round of applauds – another pattern successfully typed out! To make your life even easier in the future, you can make copies of existing designs and use the same template for all your patterns, making pattern writing more efficient & fun!
My favorite free templates
I also wanted to share with you my favorite free templates from the Canva template library that I think would be perfect for pattern cover pages! I’m also including two examples of text pages that I put together myself to show how you can go about writing the actual pattern. All the elements in the templates can be changed (colors, fonts, text sizes, etc.) and they’re all free, giving you lots of creative freedom!
The design size on Canva for these is A4.
- Lora (size 24, letter spacing 0, line height 1.2)
- Moontime (size 126, letter spacing 0, line height 0.68)
- Playfair Display (size 26, italics, letter spacing 0, line height 1.4)
- Playfair Display (size 40, bold, uppercase, letter spacing 0, line height 1.2)
- Glacial Indifference (size 19, italics, letter spacing 200, line height 1.17)
- Bebas Neue (size 88, bold, letter spacing 130, line height 0.96)
- Glacial Indifference (size 19, letter spacing 200, line height 1.17)
- Glacial Indifference (size 17, letter spacing 87, line height 1.36)
- Glacial Indifference (size 17, bold, uppercase, letter spacing 60, line height 1.17)
- Glacial Indifference (size 23, uppercase, letter spacing 118, line height 1.4)
- Poppins Light (size 73, uppercase, letter spacing 40, line height 1.1)
- Glacial Indifference (size 15, letter spacing 70, line height 1.4)
- Poppins Light (size 24, bold, uppercase, letter spacing 0, line height 1.4)
- Moontime (size 70, letter spacing 0, line height 1.4)
Here’s some inspiration on how you can go about designing the actual page layout of the written pattern – here too the sky’s the limit when it comes to fonts, colors and all other elements you feel like adding!
- Headings: Glacial Indifference, size 16, bold, uppercase, letter spacing 70, line height 1.4
- Body text: Glacial Indifference, size 12, letter spacing 70, line height 1.4
- Color: #edd7d6
- Headings: Moontime, size 36, letter spacing 0, line height 1.4
- Body text: Glacial Indifference, size 12, letter spacing 70, line height 1.4
- Color: #e8e0db
I hope this blog post gave a new boost to your pattern writing habits and that you found the tips & trick insightful! At the end of the day, a lot of pattern writing and figuring out the design is the product of putting your mind to work and doing the creative work to find your own style. So don’t be afraid to explore, to try different designs and to always be willing to learn new things!