Learn how to use the best free web-based graphic design tool for small business: Canva – to create inspirational quotes that you can use for your website and social media

How many times have you shared an inspirational quote on social media? They’re popular because they’re visual and easy to canva is the best free graphic design tool for small business - create your own quotes for social mediaconsume quickly. If a quote resonates – people will engage, and if it’s not they won’t. How many times have you shared a nice quote that had someone else’s business logo or website address? Would you like to have people sharing images that have YOUR business logo and YOUR website address? If you answered YES, you’re in the right place!

One of the best ways you can build your brand on social media, is to show up consistently with your name/face or business name/logo – in a non-salesy way. You want to share content that is helpful and educational (like tips or how tos), or content that will entertain or inspire (like inspirational quotes, fun jokes or funny observations about your industry). Each social channel has it’s own culture – you can be more silly on Facebook, where LinkedIn is more serious. If in doubt as to what type of content is acceptable for a specific social network – look to see what others are sharing – and what is getting engagement in the form of likes, comments or shares.

If you want to check out someone who is a prolific visual content creator on Facebook you can look at the David Avocado Wolfe Facebook Page. A local Victoria BC business that also does a great job creating their own branded graphics is yoUnlimited. Here’s an example of a quote from the yoUnlimited Facebook page:

Inspirational quote from the yoUnlimited Facebook page

You will need 3 things to create your inspirational quotes:

1/ A png copy of your business logo with a transparent background – If you don’t have this you can ask the graphic designer who created your logo to provide this for you. Or if you have a copy of the original art file for your logo – you can provide this to any graphic designer and they can get you a png file with a transparent background. If your logo is in color, it’s ideal to also have a black version and a white version with a transparent png background.

the difference between a png image file with transparent background vs a jpeg image file with a white background

2/ A few photos – You can use your own photos, stock photos you have purchased, or free stock photos you can legally use. If you would like more info on this topic – and a list of great resources to find free and affordable photos online visit: http://juhliselby.com/where-to-find-free-and-affordable-stock-photos-to-use-on-your-website-or-blog/

My current free favorite stock photo websites are the following:

Pixabay: http://pixabay.com/

RBG Stock Photo: http://www.rgbstock.com/

MorgueFile: http://morguefile.com/

3/ A few inspirational quotes – Collect your favorite inspirational quotes in one place – preferably using an app onCreate free graphics online that will help your stand out on social media your smartphone – since you are likely to always have it with you. I love using Trello for this – but you could use another tool like Evernote or one of the many other note taking apps you can add to your smartphone.

How do you find great quotes?

I find quotes when I’m watching movies, reading, watching educational or inspiring videos on YouTube, listening to podcasts, or just writing down smart things people say (be sure to ask if you can quote them). The more original your content, the more likely it will get shared. How many of you would love to share a quote like: Gandhi’s “Be the change you want to see in the world.” or John Lennon’s “All you need is love” Okay I shouldn’t roll my eyes at classic quotes – but they are less shareable since we have all seen them a million times on social media. I promise you, if you find quotes that are more original (i.e. less likely that someone else has used them) – you will get more likes, comments and shares.

How do you know what type of quotes will resonate with your ideal clients?

You can start by looking at public Facebook pages of businesses or brands that already have the audience you want. What type of content are they sharing? Which posts have the most engagement? You can see the likes, comments and number of shares for each post. Which images have the most engagement? You might also find it helpful to make a general a list of topics that are of interest to your audience (i.e. Some of the topics that we share about on social media for Freebird Collective include: branding, marketing, social media, entrepreneurship, success, life balance, mentorship, small business challenges, time management & more!)

If you don’t know where to start – ask your current best clients (or those you would like to have as clients):

1/ What type of shows or movies do you watch?How to design graphics online using the free tool Canva

2/ What type of books do you read?

3/ What do you read or watch online? Where do you get your news?

4/ Who are your favorite inspirational speakers?

5/ What do you want to learn more about?

This should give you an idea of where to start or what type of quotes could be a fit.

Do you happen to be personal friends with anyone you would consider an ideal client on Facebook? Look at their Facebook profile/timeline to see what type of quotes they are sharing or create a private list of ideal clients from your personal Facebook profile – so you can see which type of visual content they are engaging with (likes, comments & shares).

Once you have your business logo, photos and quotes ready – You will need to set up a free account on www.Canva.com

This tool is so fantastic, easy to use, and mostly FREE (as long as you use your own photos and don’t choose paid images/templates). It’s the best free online graphic design tool out there. In less than three years, Canva has built a community of 2.1 million users who have created more than 18 million designs! Once you’re logged into Canva, for inspiration you can view the “Stream” tab to see what type of designs others are creating. Your designs will be private by default, unless you change the setting to public.

This tutorial video below will walk you through the steps for how to create your inspirational quotes with your branding. May the creative force be with you!

You should create your images in batches

You can sit down for an hour or two and create a bunch of visuals all at once that you can then share (or schedule) to your website or social media channels over time.

If you want to get fancy and match the colors on your branded quotes to your business branding on your website you will need to know your hex colors

For example, the turquoise color we use for Freebird Collective is #74cac1. There are a number of simple free tools you can use to find your hex colors. I use a great little tool called ColorPic that lets me grab any color on my computer or from the web. It’s a free program you need to download to your computer: http://www.iconico.com/colorpic/

Alternately, if you don’t want to download anything to your computer, there are a couple of web based options. You can upload a photo to the “Get Colors from Image” website: http://html-color-codes.info/colors-from-image/ or you can use the free eye-dropper tool in Pic Monkey www.picmonkey.com/blog/eyedropper-tool/ PicMonkey is another helpful free online graphic design tool – it has some features that Canva does not – but I prefer Canva overall. One feature I love in PicMonkey is the ability to use your own fonts from your computer – so you can match your brand font(s). Canva should be adding that feature soon.

Please share your images with us on our Freebird Collective Facebook page: www.facebook.com/freebirdcollective The Birds would love to see what you create! To learn more about online graphic design check out the Canva Design School blog: https://designschool.canva.com/ and Canva’s YouTube channel for tons of great tutorial how to videos: www.youtube.com/user/canvadesign/videos

If you need help creating professional looking graphics – Freebird Collective’s web & graphic design expert Kim Timothy would be happy to help! You can click here to learn more about Kim or to get in touch.


Do you have other easy to use free (or affordable) graphic design tools that you love? Please share them with us in the comments below!

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Social Media Marketing Strategist & Coach at JUHLi SELBy Social Media
JUHLi SELBy is an award-winning social media specialist & founder of a social media training company in Victoria BC, Canada. She has spent the past 13 years helping self-employed professionals and small business owners use marketing tools to connect with and expand their audience. She shows clients how to use social media marketing effectively - to build relationships online that will lead to sales. She enjoys connecting with great people, learning, travel, smartphone photography and spending time with her adorable but slightly naughty wiener dogs.