Have you ever stared at a blank page on your computer and had no idea where to start?
I have. It sucks. It’s kind of like writer’s block but more frustrating.
Then, you just start going and sometimes you nail it and other times you can’t get it to look right no matter what you do. Or the computer is being slow, Canva is glitching, and you just want to scream.
My husband knows when I’m getting frustrated. He just says “Kara, it’s time to walk away” and I get all grumpy about it and walk away with a huff.
But he’s right (don’t tell him that though!) and sometimes you need to walk away.
However, sometimes you just need the right tools.
But if your printable doesn’t stand out, or if it looks like something my 2-year-old could have designed, then it’s difficult to do that.
Luckily, when you use Canva templates — it can help alleviate a lot of the struggle of blank-page-paralysis but I still wanted to go over the anatomy of a killer blog printable.
This is something you may want to have in a printable version for your blog binder, so don’t worry- I made it pretty and stuck it in our design library under “Resources”.
Before I forget though, If you love love LOVE Canva templates like I do be sure to check out our free designs inside the library and if you’re wanting new printable templates every single month then be sure to check out the DiyDesign Creators Vault — not only do you get printable templates each month but you get social media and promotional graphics as well!
By the way, if you’d like to listen to this post, check out the video below:
OK, let’s dive in!
The anatomy of a perfect printable:
- The header
- The body/layout
- The typography
- Design elements
- The message: Inspiration or action
- The footer/copyright info
- The promotion
A show-stopping (or scroll-stopping) header
I use the term “scroll-stopping” because there are SO MANY thing’s fighting for attention in the online space. People are busy and they are usually scrolling while waiting for the school bus or sitting in a waiting room. What’s going to make them stop scrolling long enough to actually read your content?
A killer cover. But, this is a printable. Instead of a cover, you have the header. It is what the eye hits first, which naturally makes it your viewer’s first impression of your product. Is your header going to help your printable stand out in the crowd?
Side note: I actually have a template of 5 killer headers for your product at the bottom of this post! Literally, all you have to do is make a copy of the template for your personal use, choose your favorite header, copy and paste it into your printable and then change the words. You can also personalize the fonts and colors to fit your brand so it’s a win-win. You can even use these headers for your paid products!
The body and layout
Naturally, you want the body of your printable to be stuffed full of super helpful, amazing content. This is your opportunity to solve your reader’s problem. Make it awesome. Make them take action. Make them want more.
Not only does the content need to be awesome, but the layout needs to be clean. It needs to be organized, easy to read and it needs to make sense to the reader. Don’t go crazy here- white space is your friend and now isn’t the time to experiment with the crazy-curly-fun font you found in the latest Creative Market font bundle.
Speaking of font, typography is a big, fancy word for text. It’s the fonts you use and how you use them. Never add more than 3 different fonts to a design. If you use brand-specific fonts; stick to them.
It will actually save you time when you have a consistent look to all your products (because you don’t have to come up with something new every time) and I promise your readers won’t mind the same look each time either. If you’re needing extra help with your brand, check out my Five Minute Brand templates!
Be consistent. If you use a font like quicksand for the body of your blog posts, use the same thing in your printables. This isn’t a deal-breaker; you can have a different font for your products (especially if you have no control over what font is in your blog posts) but, use it for all your products.
As a general rule, I like to stick with sans-serif fonts for large bodies of text because it’s easier to read. I also like san-serif in headers as well since it pairs better with script fonts. I have another cheat sheet in my design library of different font combos- so make sure you check that out too!
Pick 2-3 design elements per design that will help you organize the layout. My favorites are banners and arrows. Banners help distinguish different sections or help identify “important” info. It also dresses it up and looks nice.
In case you are wondering, I also have a cheat sheet of design elements in the design library on my favorite design elements!
Yes, this goes along with the content and body of your printable but I feel that it’s SO important to establish the goal of your overall message/purpose before designing your printable.
Do you want to inspire? Do you want to motivate? Do you want your reader to take action? Answer those questions first because it matters and needs to show in your design.
White space is your friend, especially if you are just starting out with a design.
White space gives a clean and organized appearance. If you use too many design elements or a crazy background color/pattern you are going to give off an overwhelming vibe.
This is likely the opposite reaction you want your reader to feel when they look at your printable.
I know chevrons are pretty but leave them on your kid’s nursery wall. (Fun fact, I actually did a grey chevron wall in my son’s nursery that turned out pretty awesome!)
If you’re completely overwhelmed with terms like “whitespace” I completely understand. I have an really in-depth course on not only Canva but graphic design concepts and how to combine the two to create social media graphics, printable, etc.
There’s a TON of step-by-step instructions and video tutorials to walk you through everything you need to know as a blogger!
Footer and copyright info
I always include a copyright notice on all my printables. While this doesn’t prevent copyright infringement, it does deter it.
It usually goes something like this, “COPYRIGHT 2017 SIMPLIFYING DIY DESIGN DO NOT COPY, SELL, OR SHARE WWW.SIMPLIFYINGDIYDESIGN.COM”
Call to action or Next Steps
This doesn’t have to be included in every single printable but it’s something that I think is really important and often overlooked.
The point of a lead magnet is to attract your ideal audience, those that want to buy from you (even if you don’t have your own product yet) – so let them know what their next step should be!
This can be anything from checking out another relevant resource, purchasing something, or even just connecting with you on social media.
Guiding your audience to the next step will help them further solve the “problem” they had when they downloaded your printable in the first place!
With each next step, you’re providing more value and you’re getting to help them more and more!
While this isn’t part of the actual design, it’s just as important. If you don’t promote your printable, no one will ever see it. So get it out there!
Here are some ideas:
- Share on social media
- Make a landing page (this can be done with Elementor, Leadpages, or your email service provide – I love Convertkit)
- Set up an ad promotion
- Do a Facebook live
- Write a blog post about it
- Share it in relevant Facebook groups
- Pin, pin, pin!
Designing printables the right way
When you want to freeze, and when you don’t know where to start, take out this cheatsheet and just start (don’t forget to download it from our resource library)!
Honestly, the first thing I start with is the header. Once the header is out of the way, everything else seems to flow so much easier. This is why I think the header template will truly help you with your design.
After the header is out of the way; rock your content lay it out, and make it professional. Put the finishing touches on with design elements and a copyright statement. Then, all that’s left is to promote it.
GET 5 FREE EDITABLE HEADER TEMPLATES TO ROCK YOUR NEXT PRINTABLE
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Recap of resources mentioned in the post:
- Design resource library of printables, templates, and so much more! – This is where you’ll find free Canva templates, the font combo cheatsheet, the anatomy of a printable cheatsheet, header templates, design element cheatsheet and so much more!
- Confidently Canva – learn graphic design and all the Canva features, tricks, and hacks! Then learn how to combine the two to create amazing social media graphics, printables, and more!
- Five Minute Brand – Establish a brand you love to use in your printable designs
- DiyDesign Creators Vault – Brand new printable templates every single month