How Canva Pro Can Help Musicians with Branding
I’ve been a long-time user and fan of Canva. I started with the free version, used it for maybe a year, then switched to Pro. If you’re a long-time reader, you know how I love trying things out to review them for you. Some have gotten better reviews that others, but I strive to be honest and thorough in each post.
I’m going to tell you all of the ways Canva Pro can help songwriters, singers and musicians to establish a brand and grow a fanbase.
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How to Use Canva Pro to Brand Your Music
I frequently talk about things musicians should be using (like Pinterest) to further their careers. It’s not always what you think or assume! Canva Pro is one of those things.
Here are the top ways I use Canva Pro in my career. Keep in mind that I’m a session musician and blogger, so my uses for it may differ slightly from a regular musician/artist, but the features are pretty much the same.
A lot of the following tools come with the free Canva version, so I recommend trying that out first to see if you like it. There’s no time limit to use the free version, so if that’s all you need, have at it! I’ll let you know what tools are exclusive to Canva Pro, just to avoid confusion.
Things You Can Do With Free Canva:
1). Album Cover Design
This is the most obvious reason for artists to use it, but here’s a pro tip: I get paid to design and create album covers for people, and Canva is all I use. You’re literally using what the pros use to make album covers (yes, I’m calling myself a pro, it’s my website so I can make bold claims). I do use the perks of Canva Pro, but if you’re just starting out, you can design your album cover in the free version.
What’s great about Canva is that the templates are pre-sized, so you don’t have to blindly guess at what size you need to use for your graphics.
2). Logo Design
Does your band have a logo? If not, you should consider one. Think about The Rolling Stones, Nine Inch Nails, or Prince. You see that logo and you know the band:
If you don’t have logo design experience, I recommend at least getting pro feedback before releasing your official logo. However, you can get started on your own and make changes as you go. There’s always room for musicians to reinvent ourselves!
3). Social Media Branding
Each of your channels should have a familiar look, so that fans know it’s the same artist/band. Even if your photo is just your face, you want everything to look similar so that people find you easily. Canva has pre-sized templates for each social media platform. There are also plenty of pre-made designs if you don’t feel confident making your own.
Pro tip: Sign up for an account on Creative Market. Every week, they send six free graphic design pieces you can download. You can build up a library of designs, fonts and graphics, then use them as needed.
Canva also has specific filters you can use to keep the same colors and themes consistent throughout your channels.
4). Create a Brand Kit and Share it With Your Team
You can save a selection of specific colors and fonts to your brand kit. This will save a TON of time when designing a lot of things, so you don’t have to keep digging for the color code or font. It also will ensure that everyone on your team (other band members, management, etc) can go in and use the same fonts and colors.
You can also share designs with the team before posting, so no more drunken Instagram posts from your bass player. Now the group can vote on it and make collaborative changes.
Canva has video and written tutorials to use pretty much everything on the site, which is helpful if you need Canva-specific advice or just can’t remember how to do something small. There is also a whole tutorial series on Canva Pro, but I’m going to break down a lot of it for you here.
Things You Can Do With Canva Pro:
Canva Pro is $120 per year, but you can try it free for 30 days. I hesitated for a while because I was a struggling musician and couldn’t justify the expense. Now, I consider it well worth my time and money to have the Pro upgrades. Here is what you can do when you upgrade:
1). Schedule Social Media Posts
This is a new feature from Canva Pro, but I’m excited about it. I do not like social media and go to great lengths to avoid it, but of course I need to use it. Scheduling posts ahead of time helps me remain “seen” and active while giving me peace of mind and saving a ton of time.
There are other sites that do this, such as Buffer and Hootsuite, but since I’m already in Canva it’s one less step I have to take.
2). Upload Custom Fonts
I bought this font on Creative Market. You can use any of Canva’s (many) free ones, or there are a bunch of pro-exclusive fonts. However, as someone who creates a lot and is on Pinterest a lot, I can tell you that MOST of Canva’s fonts are already in use. There are hundreds of thousands of fonts for sale that don’t cost a lot and will help your brand stand out.
3). Easily Resize Photos
Everyone who’s on multiple social media channels knows how frustrating it can be to painstakingly resize an Instagram photo for Facebook, Twitter, etc. With Canva Pro, you can resize everything easily.
Let’s say you’ve just designed your album cover or decided on your new logo. Great, now you need a Facebook page banner, Facebook photo, Twitter header, Twitter photo, Instagram post, Youtube banner, LinkedIn, and on and on. There’s also different size requirements for each profile photo. It can drive you to the brink of madness, but Canva Pro will remake your photo for every one of these with a simple click.
Sometimes you may need to adjust the placement or size of graphics after resizing them, but it’s a couple of seconds vs several hours spent resizing everything.
4). Create Folders
This is helpful to me as a blogger, session singer and graphic designer. I can easily keep everything organized so I don’t waste time looking for them. Here are the folders I use:
I could have many more, but these help me keep my things organized for easy access.
5). Access to thousands of exclusive photos, fonts, effects and features
If you have the free version, you’ll often see a photo with a small crown on it. This means it is only accessible via Canva Pro. Once you upgrade, you’ll have access to allllllll of the exclusive stuff. Here are some of my favorite Canva Pro exclusives:
Remove Background of Photos
You may notice my YouTube videos are usually just me on a background that isn’t in the actual video. This is because I take a screenshot of this and remove the background. It makes videos look much more professional and eye-grabbing. In the video above, you’ll see how quick and easy it is for me to do this important task.
I was paying a different company for this service exclusively, but now it’s one less thing I have to do elsewhere.
I use this a TON in my YouTube videos and not much else, but I use it often enough to make the $120 worth it. I can make a ghost appear behind me, add emojis, or any other little thing to highlight a joke or make a point.
Custom Animation Options
You can create gifs or small movies on Canva (perfect for Instagram or short YouTube segments). There are several you can use for free, but the Pro option offers more variety.
Please keep in mind that everything I’m mentioning here is all purely user experience, meaning I’m only speaking about what I know and use frequently. There are probably a TON of other features that I don’t even know. If I’m missing any, please comment below and let me know!