You’ve got a blog. Great. You want traffic. Next it’s important to determine where your 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 find your audience, focus on creating the best professional images and videos to engage them while building a following. Depending on your business, service, product, or course, you’ll want images for blog articles, sales funnel pages, and social media. In this article I focus on just one design piece of that puzzle, and it’s really a simple one will make your brand and your images stand out. So let’s see how creating free background designs with Canva can help you grow online.
Any graphic or image you use is part of a first impression about you and your business. The goal is to create an engaging image that focuses on your message; the image may be your background or be a combination of elements including a background. The point is to get them to: read your post, make a sale, or generate a lead. The background could be as simple as an image that relates to your offer or it could be a background that reinforces a 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 all your needs.
Let’s look at your options when creating Canva backgrounds for web and social media.
To make it easier I’m going to break this down into several intuitive design concepts related to how our brain processes images. First, when using a photo as a background, I don’t place much if any call to action text on it without overlays, buttons, or contrasting text. Most photos have complicated elements; adding text that is viewable while not blocking relevant parts of the photo is important. When creating a background from scratch it can easily be used as a call to action area a blog, homepage, sales funnel, or social media post. Canva has hundreds of free backgrounds available to start with; the real question is how to use them to your best advantage?
Minimalistic Backgrounds – Simple Images and Textures
A plain image or simple color as the background and a strong call to action works well and anyone can easily make this quickly. It’s super easy in Canva to do. Create a new design with the dimensions required. For a more realistic background use the photo menu and type in keywords like sand, water, web, desktop, abstract, etc. Canva returns the query with lots images to choose from. This makes a great minimalistic background for a call to action image in a web page or sales funnel page. Using this type of background is great for social media; simply add a catchy title with a small graphic logo and clickable links to your site or product pages. A minimialistic background also works well as a Facebook cover page. Still there are other options that may work better for your brand.
In this example I created a minimialistic background from with water and sand images, then I added CTA text with sub-text. It’s not fancy, but sometimes minimalistic is a perfect way to focus on the CTA.
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 placed 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 a cover is a breeze. There’s a resize option on the top menu; this option effortlessly resizes or copies and resizes on the fly. So once a background is made for a social media cover, it is a breeze to resize it for other social media platforms.
It’s best to use images that relate to the written copy. That way the images reinforce any CTAs that are added. As mentioned previously, image text must be readable while not blocking key parts of the image. From a design perspective, this approach looks more professional.
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
Infographics are popular choice in specific situations, because infographics are data-driven messages. When using an infographic, I recommend keeping the background simple and unobtrusive. Here, similar to background banners used above the fold, you want it to focus the reader on the information. Notice, in this I use very plain color backgrounds so the data is what catches the eye. It can be 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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