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You’ve got a blog. Great. You want traffic. You next decision is on where you think you’re biggest audience resides. Is it on Facebook? Do you connect better on Instagram? Could Pinterest be a possibility or do you have great SEO using Google? Maybe it’s some other platform. But no matter where you should focus you’ll need professional images and probably some video to engage your audience and build a following. Depending on your business, service, product, course, or blog you’ll want images for both your blog articles, sales funnel pages, and social media posts. In this article I focus on just one small design piece of that puzzle and it’s really a simple one that can make your brand and your images stand out. It’s all about creating free background designs with Canva for your needs.
Any graphic or image you use is one of the first things your audience views so the catch is to use a background to engage and focus on your real goal. That might be to get them to: read your post, make a sale, or generate a lead. So your background could be as simple as an image that relates to your goal or it could be just a background that reinforces you call to action. Most bloggers and small biz folks aren’t designers but with Canva you don’t have to be a Picasso; you can take your own images or free image backgrounds you like and create the perfect backgrounds for whatever your blog or business needs. So let’s see what your options are.
But I’m going to break this down into a couple of basic design concepts we all understand intuitively because it’s how our brain processes images. First, if you use a photo as a background you won’t be placing much if any call to action text on it without overlays, buttons, or contrasting text. If you create a background of your own you can easily use it as a call to action area on your blog, homepage, sales funnel, or social media post. So what kind of free backgrounds can you create with Canva and how can you use them to you best advantage?
Minimalistic Backgrounds – Simple Images and Textures
A plain image or simple color as the background and a strong call to action can work well if you choose this. It’s super easy in Canva to do. Create a new design with whatever dimensions you need. If you want a more realistic background use the photo menu and type in keywords like sand, water, web, desktop, abstract, etc. This makes a great minimalistic background for a call to action image in a web page or sales funnel page. If you use this type of background in social media you can simply add a catchy title with a small graphic logo and clickable link back to your site or product pages. A minimialistic background also works well as a Facebook cover page but you might consider one the other options and determine what best fits your brand.
In this example I created a minimialistic background from using water and sand; once created I added CTA text with sub-text. It’s not fancy, but sometimes minimalistic is best.
Background Images For Banners and Posts
As for images, they are absolutely fantastic as hero headers as long as they don’t detract from any CTA or text message you’re wanting above the fold. They also are fantastic on cover pages for Facebook and Pinterest, although each platform has slightly different sizes. Facebook covers are 820 x 312; Facebook Group covers are 1640 x 856 pixels and the newer Pinterest Profile covers 840 x 450. All these different sizes are enough to drive one nuts but with Canva, resizing your cover is a breeze. There’s a resize option on the top menu; it lets you resize or copy and resize. So once you make your cover you can resize it for all your social media channels.
If you do decide images are what you need, it’s best to use images that relate to your written copy. That way the images reinforce your point. Be sure any image text you add on top is and doesn’t block key parts of the image. From a design perspective, it looks more professional and will still get the message across to the reader.
What you exactly decide on is your preference but consider what “type” of image will be used and what if any written content will be embedded or overlaid on the image.
Backgrounds for Infographics
Say you need an infographic; because infographics are data-driven messages I’d keep the background simple and unobtrusive. Here, like with a background above the fold, you want it to focus the reader on the infographic data. Notice, in this I use very plain color backgrounds so the data is what catches your eye. You can make the top more complex where the Infographic title resides, but still, this background is colored, shaded or two-toned.
Background Gradients and Abstracts
They work well in specific situations. For example, a gradient instead of plain color can add a nice effect without being overwhelming. There’s a ton of ways to get a gradient; use Canva’s, download a free one from Pixabay or any other free site or make your own. I’ve created three backgrounds with the same exact call to action as a lead generation block for a web page. If you added a button it would be perfect for a popup subscribe form or a redirect to a subscribe landing page. The point is that the backgrounds were quickly made in Canva using both gradients and abstracts. Both were quick to create.
Free Texture Backgrounds
Textures can be paper, plastic, brick, wood, metal, or basically anything with a pattern that isn’t too distracting. It’s basically an image of a surface or material. It can also be combination of those things. Just Google the words free textures and you’ll find sites that offer really nice images you can upload and crop in Canva. You can also use Canva‘s search box to look for images already available. Similar to using photos as backgrounds, you may need to add a slight opaque overlay to make any text placed on the background stand out. You can also create more complex background by overlaying multiple backgrounds with the top one being almost transparent.
In any case, the right textured background will look good and it’s quick to create. Below is a simple example of a textured background with a quote and icon.
You may find the perfect background image from these sites or just start by seeing what Canva offers.
The last two are strictly texture backgrounds of real surfaces or objects. Take a look at those sites; you’ll find lots to pick from.
Make Your Background Engaging
Whatever style of background you end up creating you will have noticed that different styles of backgrounds work for best for certain types of uses. There is a relationship between the text, graphics, CTAs, and what type of background gets used. Not surprising is how to combine the background and the elements to make catch your audiences attention but with Canva and a bit of quick trial and error you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to create professional looking free backgrounds for all your digital needs
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