Making Money In Your Free Time: Creating TpT Store Banners with Canva
Last time we talked about how to use Pinterest to market your products in your TpT Store for free. Now you are probably asking, "How can I make a graphic good enough for TpT and Pinterest when I am not a designer?"
There are literally hundreds of different ways to make high quality graphics for TpT and Pinterest... Today I want to teach you about one of my favorites, Canva.com!
What is Canva:
Canna is an online resource aimed at producing graphics that are suitable for a range of digital and print applications such as images for social media and blogs, infographics, posters, etc. The best part is that it is super easy to use, comes with tons of templates and can be free to use. Head over to Canva.com and set up a free account. They do have a business account option, but you won't need this now. You can always upgrade later if you desire.
You could spend a fortune on expensive design tools but Canva can make most of the things you will need to get your business off the ground. If you already own the expensive design tools such as Indesign and you know how to use it, then by all means do! But... the reality is that most of us don't own those products and wouldn't have the extra time to learn them even if we did. So, we use Canva.
I love that Canva lets me create designed with custom dimensions. Today I am going to talk you through how to create a banner for your TpT Store using Canva.
There are two banner sizes for your TpT Store. The "Store Page Leaderboard" runs along the top of your store page and the "Store Page Column Banner" appears on the left side of your page under your custom categories.
Anytime you can customize your store, rather through banners or custom categories, you should. This will give your store a nice professional feel making it a step above the average TpT store.
Notice that each banner has a specific size requirement. If you try to upload anything that doesn't fit this site requirement your image will be distorted and/or parts of it will get cut off and look horrible. Canva to the rescue!
Head back over to your Canva.com account and we will start building the first banner.
Once you are logged in, you will see a group of images the top of the screen that say "Create a Design" (click the + button to see more sizes). These are some of the more common sizes that you may want to use to create a Facebook Post or an Instagram Post. Take a moment to scroll through those so that you will have an idea of what they offer.
Notice that none of them measure 718 x 90px (pixels) as the TpT Banner indicates you will need. You will need to click the "use custom dimensions" button in the top right corner.
Once you click that button you will be able to create any image of pretty much any size. It will default to pixels (px) which is what we need for this project. If you are ever making a project and you need to use inches, just use the dropdown arrow to select a different measurement option. Type in our custom dimensions of 718x90px and click the green design button.
Your screen should look like this:
The long skinny white box is your canvas to work on. Anything in the gray will not show on the final image.
All of the sky and hill boxes on the left side are different arrangements you can choose if you want to upload pictures into your banner. For this banner we will not be using them.
Click the background tab on the far left menu. It will look like this:
Notice that the ones at the top (pictured above) are free. As you scroll down you will start seeing a $ symbol in the corner of the images. If you see the $ symbol it means that image costs $1. All images and backgrounds are either free or $1. If you are okay paying $1 go ahead and choose any background you would like. If you want to create for free (which is what I typically do) choose one that says free.
I am going to choose this cute chevron background by clicking it, but if you have been following me for very long you will know that that shade of blue will clash with my established edlah brand (we will talk branding in another post). I want to change the color, but keep the design. I will do this by clicking on the design on my canvas and clicking the color changing tool at the top left of the screen.
It is March while I am making this, so I am going to change it to green, but not any green... my edlah branded color of green so that it won't clash with my other images.
Typically I have a pretty standard banner that says my vision behind edlah:
But today I want to make something for a sale I had over Spring Break, so I am going with a green spring colored background.
Now to move onto text. If you know what you want it to look like go ahead and just insert a text box by clicking the text tab on the right side of the screen and selecting the size of text you want to start with, rather that is a heading, subheading or body. You can always adjust the font and text size later.
If you aren't exactly sure what you want it to look like, or if you want to add some kind of fun text box feature there are a ton of predesigned ideas to choose between by just scrolling down. The best part is that you can change the text, colors and fonts for most of these designed. There are also a ton to choose from that are free. Keep in mind, if it has a $ next to it it will cost you $1 to download... that's a $1 per item that you choose with a $ symbol. You can download as many free items as you would like without paying a penny.
As I scrolled through the list of ideas this one stuck out to me:
...but... When I clicked on it to add it to my design it didn't quite work... It was close to what I was thinking, but a little small.
So I scrolled a little further and found this on:
Obviously the color would clash with the green I picked, but that would be an easy change. You can change the color, font and font size by clicking the text box inside of your image and then making your adjustments with the tool bar at the top of the screen.
I changed it to my branded color of blue and tweaked the size by clicking the image and dragging the dots on the corners. I ended up with this look:
This was pretty close to what I was thinking so I kept playing. I liked in the red-ish circle how it had 3 layers of text, but I couldn't adjust it big enough to make it work for my design.
I used the text box tool I showed you earlier, played with different fonts and sizes and eventually came up with this design.
It isn't my most impressive work, but it is clear, easy to to read and quickly communicates important information.
A banner like this should have only a few colors, one (no more than two) different fonts, and be easy to read at a glance. I made sure to include the dates of my sale, so that someone coming along the day before would understand the sale hadn't started yet...or if I forgot to change the banner out on the 16th, someone coming along on the 17th would know that it had ended. We will talk about how to set up a site wide sale in another post.
Your first banner will most likely be more similar to this orange banner that I almost always have up in my TpT Store. It is branded with my orange, includes my tag line "preschool through every day experiences" and has my branded bubble graphic. Again, I kept it simple, with one font, minimal colors and easy to read at a glance. Always make banners and preview images simple and easy to read at a glance.
I choose not to use my entire logo on this banner, but maybe I should. I try to include my logo as often as possible. We will talk about logos in a future post as well.
Play and have fun with this! It isn't a race. Sometimes you might have to come up with a draft one day and then come back a few hours or days later to make final adjustments... that's okay. I do it all the time. Sometimes you have to take a break and come back with fresh eyes.
Once your image is finished it is time to save it. Canva should automatically save as you go every few minutes, but sometimes it will be between saves when you finish. You can always look at the top bar to see if it has any unsaved changes. Click file > Save if you notice that it has not updated. If you download without saving it will download the last saved file. I have gotten in the habit of just saving every time anyway just to be safe. See how this says 'All changed saved" in the blue bar and also says "Last saved a few seconds ago" next to my save button. I am good to go.
Now you are ready to download your finished banner!!! Click the download button in the top right corner of your screen. You will have several different options for File Types. Depending on what you are doing you may need to download in a different file type. For this banner I am going to download as a PNG file. According to the TpT Website, you can upload a banner in the following file types:
.gif, .jpg, .jpeg, and .png.
PNG files are good for graphics in general rather screen or print. If you aren't sure what to choose, it is typically a pretty safe choice. A PNG file can also be resized easily if you plan to use it on a website or something as well.
Uploading Your New Banner To Your TpT Store:
Now that you have your brand new fabulous store banner, I will show you how to upload it to your TpT shop.
Head back to your TpT store and log in. In the top right corner of the screen you should see your name or your store name with a dropdown arrow. Click on that arrow, then select "Dashboard" from the options listed.
The dashboard has a ton of great information that we will talk about later. For now, just click on the "Marketing" tab.
Ignore everything else for now and just click on the "Customize" icon.
You should have a screen similar to this, but without my banners showing of course. The banner we just made was the "Store Page Leaderboard" banner.
Under "Store Page Leaderboard" click the "Choose File" button and upload your new banner.
You can also enter a product page link if your banner is advertising a certain product. I have mine just linking to my store homepage.
When you are done, click "SAVE" and your banner should be showing in your store!!!!
Canva is a fabulous tool! I know you are going to love it! You will get complements all the time about how great your graphics look when you use Canva!
As I mentioned, before Canva comes with a ton of free design resources, including free templates. Make sure you take some time to look at some of the freebies they offer. Obviously it is best to adapt the templates to fit your own needs, by adjusting colors, fonts, images, etc. but they are a great way to get started and get inspired. We will talk more about Branding in a later post.
This Weekends Homework:
1. Create a free Canva account (no need for the business account right now)
2. Discover some of the predesigned templates.
3. Create a column banner for your TpT Store (pay attention to the size: 160 x 200px)
4. Upload your second banner.