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If you want to create stunning digital planners without the steep learning curve of professional design software, Canva might be your new best friend. You likely already have Canva for creating other digital products, so why not start there?
Let's break down the pros and cons of using Canva for digital planner design and share some tips to help you maximize this user-friendly tool.
Pros: Canva's Fabulous Features
Canva has a lot going for it regarding digital planner design. Here are some of the platform's top benefits:
Canva's intuitive interface makes it easy for anyone to create beautiful digital planners, regardless of their design experience. With its drag-and-drop functionality, you can quickly and easily customize your planner to your heart's content.
Even if you haven't used Canva yet, they have an amazing Design School full of tutorials breaking everything down. Need more personalized help? Check out the Canva Clubhouse membership. Pam is the Canva guru – and is always willing and ready to help!
Canva offers a wide range of digital planner templates to kickstart your design process. Simply choose a template that suits your style and customize it to match your brand or theme.
There has always been a bit of confusion regarding what is allowed to be sold using Canva templates and what isn't. Luckily, Canva just released a super clear explanation for digital product creators to refer to.
Design Elements for Days
Canva's extensive library of design elements – including icons, shapes, illustrations, and more – allows you to add flair and personality to your digital planner. Simply search through the elements, using the parameters to narrow down what you are looking for.
You can specialize your search in many different ways. For instance, you can search for a particular category, use your brand colors, or even use Canva's AI Text-to-Image feature to create your own unique elements. There are so many ways to maximize your Canva use – don't be afraid to try them out! (You won't break anything, there is an undo button…)
Typography fans, rejoice! Canva boasts an impressive selection of fonts, making it easy to find the perfect typeface for your digital planner. Using their Brand Hub you can save all of your fonts for your brand, or multiple brands, so you know exactly what you want to use for your digital products.
Furthermore, you can download commercial-license fonts from Creative Fabrica and then upload them into Canva if you can't find a font you love, or if you are already using a font that isn't offered in Canva already.
Canva's collaboration features make it simple to work with team members or clients on your digital planner design. Share your work, get feedback, and make edits in real time. By adding members to your team – you also get access to all of their Brand Hub settings, and you can easily work together on one project.
To add a member to your team (my plan allows for up to 5 team members at no additional cost), click the “+Invite Members” button on the home page. Add your team's email addresses and send them an invite. Now, you won't be able to automatically see what they are working on unless they share the document with you, so don't think you can oversee what they're doing.
Cons: Canva's Limitations
While Canva is an excellent tool for digital planner design, it does have some limitations. Let's go ahead and discuss the cons associated:
Limited Number of Pages
The absolute biggest con associated with Canva for digital planner design is their limitation on the number of pages you can create. Technically, Canva does not let you create more than 300 pages per design. That seems like many pages – but not if you're trying to create a daily digital planner or journal (hello, 365 days…)
You can work around this issue by creating a 2-page (horizontal) planner and having each page account for two days. This gets your planner down to 182 pages, allowing you to add the necessary index pages and other planner pages as needed. You can also use a third-party PDF merger where you would download your planner creation as two files and then hyperlink on the back end. (Course coming soon!)
Tedious Linking and Naming
I'm not sure any of the other platforms allow for a quicker way to hyperlink the digital planners you are creating, just because I haven't researched them yet. Still, the process in Canva can definitely be tedious. How I teach others to create digital planners is to have you name each and every page as you create it to allow for the hyperlinking process to be easier.
Once that's done, and you are ready to hyperlink your entire planner (I highly recommend doing this at the very end), you must select each text box or element individually, press the link button, and locate the page you want to link to.
Naming and Linking:
- Navigate to “Grid View” in Canva
- Click on each page number, and type to add a new title.
- Go back to the “Page View” and select the first element you want to hyperlink.
- Click the “Link” button
- Scroll through the list of “Pages in this document” to locate the page you want to link to.
- Once selected, Canva will give you a “Link added” confirmation.
- Continue this process for all links you want to create.
- TIP: When linking tabs to their destination pages, link the cover pages tabs first, then copy (Ctrl+C) and go to the next page, and paste (Ctrl+V) them. You will need to do this for each and every page if you are using tabs.
Tips for Using Canva for Digital Planner Design
Now that you know the pros and cons, here are some expert tips to help you make the most of Canva for digital planner design:
Master Canva's Shortcuts
Canva has a plethora of keyboard shortcuts that can save you time and effort while designing your digital planner. Take some time to learn these shortcuts to streamline your design process. It's ok to use their menu to pinpoint the elements you want to add. However, if you take the time to learn their shortcuts, you will improve your efficiency.
Canva created a great infographic that shows all of the shortcuts they offer. You can download and print it out here!
Organize Your Designs
Keep your Canva workspace tidy by organizing your digital planner designs into folders. This will make it easier to find and manage your projects as your design portfolio grows. Don't forget to create templates for you and your team, as well as clean up your Canva every month to get rid of images you no longer need access to!
TIP: If a teammate has shared a design with you, and you are having an issue finding it again, you can search your “products” and filter by “shared with me” or select the team member's name, to see those files.
Maintain a consistent look and feel throughout your digital planner by sticking to a cohesive color palette, font pairing, and design style. This will not only make your planner more visually appealing but also create a more user-friendly experience for your customers.
Check out Canva's Brand Hub (available on CanvaPro) to get all of your colors and fonts picked out. This will allow you to quickly pick the colors as you create planners, their mockups to sell, or any other digital product creation!
Think Outside the Canva Box
While Canva's design elements and templates are fantastic, don't be afraid to think outside the box and incorporate your own custom elements, like illustrations, icons, or patterns. This will help set your digital planner apart from the competition and showcase your unique style.
I love using ChatGPT to get ideas and prompting Midjourney to give me unique pictures and elements. If you are new to the AI world – and possibly a little overwhelmed or not getting the outputs you expect – check out the Women of AI membership (Sorry, no dudes allowed…). Sadie and Sharon have loads of tools and resources available, and they make it all so simple!
Canva for Digital Planner Design: The Verdict
Canva is a fantastic tool for creating digital planners, especially for beginners and those looking for a user-friendly design platform. While it does have some limitations in terms of page limits and tediousness, its intuitive interface, a vast library of design resources, and ease of use make it a top choice for digital product creators.
By understanding Canva's pros and cons and implementing the expert tips shared in this post, you'll be well on your way to designing stunning digital planners that capture the hearts of your customers. Need more help? Join the Make Digital Planners with Samantha Facebook group and ask your questions – I'm willing and able to help!
***Pssst… Have you checked out the Passive Income Pathways VIP membership? My coach Sadie is AMAZING – and will get you on the right path to passive income!**