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How to Design a Postcard for Small Business Using Canva

October 10, 2014

Canva postcard design

Many small business owners overestimate the difficulty of designing an effective direct mail marketing postcard. They assume it involves a Mad Men-esque design process involving proposals, prototypes, endless revisions and very big expenses.

The reality, however, is that it’s surprisingly easy to design your own direct mail postcards using an online app called Canva. Even with no graphic design training, experience or expertise, you can design a great postcard for your next small business postcard marketing campaign.

In fact, there’s some evidence that ads – including direct mail postcards – designed by amateurs outperform professional-looking ads. As direct marketers have been saying for years, advertising that isn’t traditionally beautiful just works!

In this post, we’ll walk you through the process of creating your own direct mail marketing postcard using Canva. From headline to color scheme, read on to design a postcard that you can use to launch your next direct mail campaign.

Getting started

First, you’ll need to create an account on Canva. Log in using your Facebook user account or enter your email and password. You’ll be taken through a quick demo showing you what Canva is capable of.

Once you’re registered, you’ll need to create your design. Click the “Use Custom Dimensions” link – it’s on the top-right of the templates – and enter the following dimensions for a jumbo postcard: 8.75 inches in width by 5.75 inches in height.

Give your design a descriptive name and get ready to start designing. Canva has a wide range of built-in graphics and backgrounds for you to use on your direct mail postcard. You can also upload your own background and product images.

Let’s start designing

Start by giving your postcard a background. Canva gives you several options: you can use a background texture and select its color, upload an image to use as your background or simply pick a solid color.

For the best visual impact, it’s best to choose an image. Canva offers a variety of images for free; you can also pay for stock photos or upload custom images your business already owns.

For our example, we’ll be marketing a fictitious office business called ABC Offices. We’ve picked a high-resolution image of a high-rise office tower in the central business district of a city – an image our target audience will identify with.

How to design postcard Canva

Adding text and shapes

Canva makes it easy to add text and shapes to your postcard. Select shapes, text or graphics to add to your postcard to give it a marketing message. In our example, we have added three text elements: a heading, subheading and body text.

Using the text style options, it’s easy to modify the size and style of your text. Make your titles bold for impact and your body text crisp and easy to read to make it nice and clear for recipients.

You can also add shapes to your postcard. Shapes are great for giving your body text a light or dark background to improve readability. In our example card, we’ve added a semi-transparent black background behind the body text to improve readability.

Exporting your postcard

Once you’ve finished designing your postcard, it’s time to export it. You’ll need to pay for any stock photos and licensed graphics you’ve used in your postcard.

Canva gives you several options for exporting your postcard. If you’re publishing it on the web – for example, to a Facebook Page – select image output. If you’re going to print the postcard for a campaign, you’ll need to use the PDF file format.

Make sure you select “Publish with crop marks and bleed” before you export your final postcard design. This will let you check that none of your design is too close to the edges of your postcard before submitting it to your postcard mailing service.

Are you ready to design?

Think you’ve got what it takes to design your own postcards? Canva may not be as powerful as Photoshop or Illustrator, but it’s a user-friendly tool that makes creating your own direct marketing postcards a refreshingly simple process.