Creating and Selling Digital Downloads Using Canva: A Beginners Guide


Want to know how to make and sell digital downloads using Canva? You’re in the right place!

I’ve been wanting to create Digital Downloads, and I’ve been told by several sources that Canva is the application to start my endeavors. What is Canva? How do I learn Canva quickly and easily? Which Digital Downloads sell the best to online buyers? I need a helpful resource to get me started on my Digital Download journey.

In our handy beginner’s guide, we’ll introduce you to the program, discuss the legalities, help you figure out what to create, and show you the best Canva Courses out there.

Ready? Then let’s begin.

What Is Canva?

Canva is a graphic design platform that allows anyone to create invitations, Instagram posts, and most of all, digital downloads to sell on Etsy!

It has an attractive drag-and-drop interface and over 20,000 customizable templates. Just upload your photos, drop your photos into the template, save the file, and you’re good to go.

You’ll find all sorts of templates — Zoom backgrounds, infographics, book covers, letterheads, photo collages, tickets, etc. — but, you can start from scratch for a completely custom design.

The best part? It’s free! With the free version you will find plenty of tools to get you started right out of the gate. From stock graphics to amazing fonts, Canva has you covered to get you started on day one.

Can I learn the free version quickly? YES! Because it’s all drag and drop, no programming or understanding of fancy terminology needed. You simply need to be willing to jump in and experiment and try with the features provided.

However, there is a paid version (Canva Pro) that can help take your digital download business to the next level. With the paid version, you will find many more graphics, font and features to help you create with ease.

But let’s take a look at the differences.

What’s the Difference Between Canva Pro and the Free Version?

In all honesty, lots of Canva’s functions are available on the free one. So, the only reason you’d need Canva Pro is if you plan to use the premium features.

Don’t worry, we’ll make it easy for you to work it out:

 FreeCanva Pro
FontsCannot upload your own, lots of fonts to choose fromMore fonts to choose from, can upload your own
Photos and ElementsLimited number of design elements and photos, can upload your ownLots of design elements and photos, can upload your own
Templates8,000 templates, can upload your own20,000 templates, can upload your own
Folders3 folders to organize designs, none for photosUnlimited folders for both designs and photos
BrandingSave 3 colorsSet multiple color palettes
AnimationsNot availableOnly available in this version, you can upload your own videos
ResizingNo resizing optionsMagic Resize function, Custom Resize function
SchedulerNot availableCan schedule your designs to post to your Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook
Transparent BackgroundsNot availableCan save designs with no backgrounds as PNGs

Can I Remake and Sell Canva Templates?

Canva gives you a lot of elements, backgrounds, and templates to use. It can be difficult to figure out whether you’re allowed to remake and use them in the products you wish to sell.

Here’s what’s allowed straight from the horse’s mouth (the brains behind Canva):

  • You can use the content in Canva for both commercial and personal reasons.
  • You can use the content in social media and marketing without restrictions.
  • You can use the content on your merchandise.
  • You cannot sell or take credit for media in Canva that you do not alter.
  • You cannot trademark designs with stock media. Thus, it cannot be used in logos.
  • Unless you are making a template to sell for use on Canva, you cannot use Canva Pro content for templates of any kind.

As you can see, Canva has it share of rules. Don’t let that stop you from jumping in and being the creative you are, building your templates, and seeing success.

What Are The Most Popular Printables to Make and Sell on Etsy?

We’ve covered all the basics and main bits now, so it’s time to think about what you want to create on Canva. Truthfully, there aren’t any limitations, but it’s useful to know what sells so you can turn a profit ASAP.

#1 Children’s Activity Books

Parents want to keep their kids entertained. Not only does this allow the adults to do the cleaning in peace for once, but it also helps increase their children’s academic abilities.

Fun and simple worksheets or activity books will fly off your online shelves. Try creating a book filled with both educational and purely enjoyable content, for example:

  • Dot to dots
  • Mazes
  • Simple math puzzles
  • Hangman
  • Comprehension pages
  • Handwriting practice
  • Coloring pages

#2 Scrapbooking Elements

Scrapbooking is all the rage. People love getting crafty with paper since it’s easily accessible, inexpensive, and simple to start.

Thanks to this rise in popularity, printable scrapbooking elements are selling like hotcakes on Etsy. Most people make themed sets for people to use in their journals. We recommend doing the same. They’ll be back for more; we can assure you!

#3 Greeting Cards

You’re either organized or really not when it comes to birthdays. So why not make some aesthetic printable greeting cards for those who need a quick yet pretty solution.

Ideally, you’ll want to have a card design or two for every occasion, including:

  • Birthdays
  • Christmas
  • Graduation
  • Wedding
  • Moving home
  • Baby boy/girl
  • Easter

#4 Fitness and Health Trackers

Whether you fancy targeting the mom of three or the young, single, male bodybuilder, fitness and health trackers help people stay on track.

There are truly endless opportunities here. You could decide to create a monthly or weekly printable to boost motivation. Or you could design an entire tracker notebook, containing pages like weight loss tracking, glucose levels, and workout regimes.

#5 Monthly Calendars

As with health and fitness trackers, there are endless opportunities with monthly calendars. You can create minimalistic ones, themed ones, and even include other habit tracking features.

Alongside this, you can ensure your designs work with multiple paper sizes. People tend to go for A4, A5, and letter size. But others might prefer smaller, A6, sizes so they can easily carry their agenda around. 

#6 Wedding Planners

On average, couples spend over 15 months talking about every tiny detail of their wedding. It’s the biggest day of their lives, and there is so much to remember.

And that’s where your planner comes in to save the day!

You can make their planning time a lot easier by giving them timelines, guides, and checklists to help them stay on track. Ideally, you should create one big planner, so the happy couple doesn’t need to flit between hundreds of files to find information.

#7 Photo Booth Props

Photo booths are becoming increasingly popular for weddings and other special events. Props are a massive part of this activity! You just don’t feel satisfied if you come out of the booth without a photo of you and your mates in feather boas, a silly name tag, and a mustache.

You can create printable sunglasses, funny captions, hats, lips, googly eyes, and so much more to help the big day celebrations go off without a hitch.

Where Can I Learn the Basics of Canva?

By now, you likely have a solid idea of what you want to make and sell in Canva. The issue now is — how do you do that?

While you can go through the laborious task of teaching yourself. We encourage you to seek a well-informed tutor. It will save you a bunch of time.

Below, you’ll find the 5 best Canva basics courses in the business.

#1 The Canva Master Course

Udemy offers this amazing course to build your Canva skills. This 8.5-hour course will take you through the latest features of Canva, the basics of design, and how to build a strong brand identity through practical tasks.

You’ll discover how to make and publish your designs from the Canva program. The tutor will even guide you through creating GIFs, animated text, and simple landing pages, all while having oodles of fun along the way.

Once you’ve finished the Udemy course, you’ll be presented with a Certificate of Completion to commemorate all your hard work. 

#2 Learning Canva Certificate Course

If you’re looking to learn Canva quickly, this course is a mere one hour long! With 20,556 total enrollments, it has a portfolio of satisfied customers backing it up.

Despite its short duration, you’ll learn:

  • How to add and edit images
  • Typography
  • How to use design templates
  • How to design logos and presentations
  • How to create simple animations

You’ll receive a Certificate of Completion from this LinkedIn-based course. By the end of the hour, you’ll know how to make basic graphics and edit images for:

  • Business cards
  • Newsletters
  • Social media
  • Brochures
  • Gift certificates
  • and more!

#3 Canva Complete Course for Graphic Design

This 3.5-hour course takes you from understanding the basics of the Canva Dashboard to knowing how to become an expert graphic designer.

You will discover how to:

  • Design an eye-catching logo
  • Design banners for social media
  • Create amazing graphics
  • Design stylish, clickable thumbnails

The tutor will guide you through real-world practical projects that continuously push your skills to the limit. Every chapter features a brand-new task to follow along with, so you can guarantee you never get bored!

Just like the rest of them, you’ll get a Certificate of Completion once you finished this Udemy course.

#4 Canva Course: Beginner’s Guide to Canva for Graphic Design

Skillshare courses have been praised for their consistent quality — and this Canva course for beginners is no different!

You will learn:

  • The basics of designing with Canva
  • How to make graphics
  • How to navigate around Canva’s dashboard
  • How to change backgrounds and text
  • How to use templates and layouts
  • How to download and print your designs
  • How to share your work

Jeremy Deighan, the course instructor, provides the information in a very clear and concise way. As you progress, he will give you insider secrets about the software, and give you easy-to-follow instructions.

There are 14 lessons inside the course, one leading seamlessly into the other.

#5 Canva Course: Design and Sell Your Own Professional Canva Designs

To really kickstart your digital download business, you need to know both how to use Canva and how to sell them. This course gives you both. 

In just 3 hours, you will discover:

  • The usage and practical application of Canva’s functions
  • How to sell your designs to clients
  • How to make aesthetically appealing graphics that people online and offline love

The course teacher, Mark Laxton, does a fantastic job of combining both beginner and advanced techniques into an accessible course for everyone. You’ll be earning an income from your beautiful creations in no time!

How Should I Promote My Products?

You know what you want to create. You know how to make it. The only part left? To know how to promote your digital download Etsy business.

The best way to market these digital downloads/printables is through Pinterest. This social media platform is your one-stop-shop for your target market.

Think of it this way — you need the people who see your product to be somewhat tech-savvy. After all, they have to download and then either digitally use or print a hard copy. Not everyone will have the facilities or knowledge to do this.

Pinterest users, on the other hand, do! The average age of people on Pinterest is between 18 and 29. The maximum is around 40, but even then, the users who interact with the app most are younger.

Start sharing your Canva-created products on Pinterest, and we’re sure you’ll see a rise in sales.

The Bottom Line

And there you have it! You’ve gone from a Canva newbie to a Canva know-it-all in just a few minutes. However, don’t forget that the more you learn, the easier it will become when you start your designs. Investing time in a class is like investing in yourself. Complete a couple of the courses we mentioned, and you’ll be making a profit in no time.

Good luck!

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