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Sarah Dye
Sarah Dye

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Days 1-10

Originally published August 6, 2020 on BritishPandaChick Codes. I made changes to the original post so it would work for The Practical Dev.

At the end of July, I started the 21 Days of Canva challenge. 21 Days of Canva challenge was created by Erica Peterson for Digital Project Masters in April this year. Participants committed to making a new design every day for 21 days in Canva. Canva is a graphic design platform similar to Visme that allows creators to make a variety of visual content.

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At the time of this post, I've done 10 projects in the 21 Days of Canva challenge. Today's post is the first 10 recap of everything that has happened during the challenge. I'm going to share with you my progress in the challenge and how I approach each of the prompts. Some of the projects I made were another LinkedIn header, Zoom background, and desktop wallpaper.

Day 1: July 28, 2020

Today's prompt was to create a style guide. I was nervous doing today's prompt. Style guides and mood boards are something I admit I'm not quite good at.

It was one of the areas I was struggling with during Skillcrush 100 so I wasn't sure how I was going to tackle the style guide. Now that Disney Codes Challenge is done, I'm going back to my portfolio site and updating some of the styles. So this style guide is going to reflect the direction I want my portfolio site to go.

Canva made this project less intimating by having a selection of mood board templates available. After looking at Canva's selection, I picked the nature's challenge template. Once the template was created in Canva, I changed the color palettes in the template to the ones I'd like to use on my site.

The challenge with this style guide is that I want to keep using my existing colors and fonts for my site so I was finding images that communicate the personality of the website. After looking at several images in the Canva image library, I ended up picking images of white flowers and trees to communicate a peaceful feel since I want my branding to feel peaceful and soothing. I've been thinking about taking more elements off the style guide such as some of the text and perhaps some of the images, but I decided to keep it the way it is for now. Now that the style guide is done, I'm going to use the style guide to help me make changes for the look of my portfolio site.

Portfolio moodboard style guide project

Day 2: July 29, 2020

The prompt for today's challenge is a logo. I searched Canva and found a bunch of logo templates. I took a look at the different templates and decided to use the Baiken flower arrangement template for my logo.

Right now my version of a logo is using my name on my portfolio site. I like to keep things simple for the logos so the templates were fun to see different ways to make a logo. Although I'd love to add a graphic as part of my logo, I decided to stick with a template just using text and keeping things simple and easy. Once the logo template was put on the canvas, I changed the background color and fonts for the text.

The sizing was a bit of a challenge so I had to play around with different sizes to see which ones would work the best. Eventually, I found a size that made the text fit on the canvas but was big enough for people to read. Since the design was very simple, I decided to challenge myself even further by adding a border.

Initially, I tried using a shape to create a border, but this didn't look right and wasn't working. I searched Canva and started playing around with the borders Canva has available. I eventually settled on a border that was reminiscent of bunches of triangles weaved together at the corners.

I changed the border color to the white shade I wanted and started to play around with the placement of the text and adjusting the size to the border. I started to get a little picky with the spacing but I eventually found the right position for each of the text items so there was enough space between each element.

Sarah Bartley Logo project

Day 3: July 30, 2020

Today I made an e-mail signature. Before I started today's session, I googled some email signature templates to get some inspiration for how I can make mine. I googled the size dimensions for email signature and an article recommended 300-400 px for the width and 70-100 px for the height.

So I created a custom project and set the dimensions to 400 px for the width and 100px for the height. I decided to start with the maximum size for the canvas since I could reduce the size as I kept working on the project. Once the canvas was created, I changed the background color and started to add text to the canvas.

I initially was going to make some of the text green, but I decided to leave the text white. It was hard finding the right font size for the text. I played around with different sizes to find one that was small enough to fit on the canvas yet easy to read.

I eventually settled around 8 for the font size which worked well with the font I was using since the font made the text easier to read. The other big challenge was making bullet points in between certain text elements. I looked in the image gallery to see if I could find some dots to use.

I eventually used a dotted border and cropped the size so it was down to one dot. Then I just play around with the spacing between the text elements so there was enough space between all the elements. I also took another dotted border and rotated it to create a line separating the image from the text elements.

The only thing I'm completely about is the spacing. In the future, I might reduce the size of the e-mail signature so the width is a little bit smaller. I will also try figuring out a way to improving the spacing around certain elements so the spacing is even in between all the elements as well as the spacing between the elements and the sides of the canvas.

Email signature header

Day 4: July 31, 2020

I created a business card today. I searched Canva and found some business card templates. I took a look at the templates and decided to use the Max Hotels template for my business card since the design was similar to what I had in mind. Once the template was loaded to the canvas, I started to change the background color.

I originally was going to use the green color palette I use for my personal branding but I went with the style guide I use for BritishPandaChick. So I decided to use the white shade I use for my background and changed the headline text color to a light blue color. Although Canva provides sample information on the template for what items went on a business card, I took a look at different sample business cards to see what I wanted to put on mine.

After looking at a few examples on Google, I decided to put the common elements I found on all the business cards on mine. This included the phone number, email, and portfolio website link. I originally put a spot for another telephone number underneath the first number, but I decided to delete it since I didn't think it would be necessary to have two different numbers on my card.

The biggest challenge was getting the border just right on the card. I manage to replicate the border size by changing the background color of the text box from white to gray. Next, I added the border to the canvas and wrapped it around the gray text box.

I changed the position of the border from forward to back so the gray text box was first. Finally, I deleted the text box and resized the border so it wasn't being cut off on the left and right sides.

Business card

Day 5: August 1, 2020

Today I made a LinkedIn header. This project is the one I've been the most comfortable making so far in the challenge since I've already made different versions of LinkedIn headers both in Canva and Visme. I searched LinkedIn in Canva and found a bunch of templates for the LinkedIn banner.

For this project, I'm going to use the Jacqueline Thompson template since this is similar to what I want to make for my LinkedIn header. Once the template set up in my canvas, I initially started to play around with the background color. I was initially going to use a background color with the text in middle, but I decided to play around with the LinkedIn header a bit more.

After trying a border around the text, I decided to see if I could use a background image. I tried a bunch of backgrounds in the Canva library and even played around with different colors on certain backgrounds. I eventually looked at images and used an image as the background then adjusting the image size.

Today I did a lot more testing to see how my header looked on LinkedIn. So I constantly was downloading the header and uploading it to LinkedIn to see what changes I would make. These changes were mostly the placement of the headlines on the header. Initially, I was using a computer image that was in the center of the header but changed the image to one I'm currently using since the first image was cut off too much on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Header

Day 6: August 2, 2020

Today's prompt is a presentation deck template. I wasn't sure how to tackle this project so I spent a few minutes before the session started looking at examples other people have done for this prompt. Seeing these examples really helped clarify what I would need to build.

I also took a few minutes to google presentation deck templates to see any similarities among the different examples. A lot of the participants who have already done this challenge used the presentation deck template on Canva so I did a search to see what templates they had available. My project is going to use the white and black technology presentation deck template.

It has a white background and an image of leaves at the bottom. I decided it was best to keep the template very simple since I was still trying to figure out what I would need for the presentation deck. Once the template was created in my canvas, I spent a few minutes looking at what Canva included in their template. I was relieved to see that Canva provided templates for other slides as well since this would make it easier to design.

Although Canva provides a lot of slides people can design, I deleted many of these slides so I was down to six. I tried varying the look of these slides as much as I could while keeping things simple. I used the branding palette for BritishPandaChick for the text and headline color.

Presentation deck project

Day 7: August 3, 2020

I made a zoom background for the 21 Days of Canva challenge. Zoom backgrounds are my favorite thing to download when I see them on Facebook. I tend to like Zoom backgrounds which are just a background image so I realized I'd need to challenge myself with a bit more complicated design for the challenge.

I searched zoom background and started to take a look at the different templates Canva has available. I selected the Do All Things with Kindness template. This template had some text in the upper left-hand corner and a starry night background image.

Once the template was created in the canvas, I spent a few minutes changing the background images. I decided to add a background color first then add an image as the top layer. I rotated the text moved it near the top then changed the font, font size, and color.

After doing some thinking, I decided to add another headline at the top of the page for the name and company name. My goal was to create a combination of a background image at the bottom while the background color at the top would make it easier to see certain information. After taking a look at the gray color, I decided to try playing around with the background color and font colors to see what I should use. Right now the challenge is getting the text to look the way they are supposed to look on Zoom instead of having them flipped on the screen.

Zoom background

Day 8: August 4, 2020

I made a desktop wallpaper for today's prompt. I have been looking forward to this project out of the entire challenge because I love wallpapers. Unlike previous projects, I am not using one of Canva's pre-made templates for this project.

Instead, I used a blank template to customize my own wallpaper. Although I'm not using a template, I still intend on keeping this design fairly simple so I can spend my time working on the placement of different items. Once the canvas was created, I added a heading for the quote.

I spent a lot of the time trying to figure out to split up the quote into different headlines and getting the font size right. Initially, the headlines took up the entire space of the canvas. I changed the font from a sans-serif typeface to script which drastically reduced the font size.

This made it easier to split up the text into different headlines and get the spacing between the headlines just right before moving the group into the right spot. Initially, I was going to use a background color for my wallpaper. I played around with different shades of pink for the background color before deciding to use a background image.

After resizing the background color, I spent the rest of the session playing around with the group of headlines and getting the position just right. I might revisit this project in the future to see if I can make the background color work on the site.

Desktop wallpaper

Day 9: August 5, 2020

Prior to starting this challenge, Erica Peterson messaged me on Twitter to let me know that there were only videos available for the first 8 days of the challenge. However, I decided to push myself further and try to tackle the other prompts in the challenge. Today I made a letterhead in Canva.

I searched letterhead in Canva and took a look at the templates to see what I would need. It seems that all the designs had a logo and contact information. After looking at the different templates, I decided to use the Eleanor Fitzgerald template.

I liked this template since it was very simple. As soon as the template was created in the Canva canvas, I started to update the fonts and font sizes. I added some placeholder text in the body of the letter to help me work on the spacing.

Unlike the previous projects, I had to constantly adjust the zoom feature in the canvas to see how the spacing looked and how the text was easy to read. Once the text was changed, I played around with the placement of the brand name and address. I tried to add a border around the elements but the borders weren't fitting just right on the canvas.

Instead I played around with the shapes to see if could create my own unique design. Initially, I went with two rectangles at the top and bottom of the page but I ended up using triangles and rotating them around in the corners. I didn't get the sizing just right on the triangles so they were equal so each triangle is a different size. In the future, I might go back and try fixing some of the triangles so they are the same size.

Letterhead project

Day 10: August 6, 2020

Today's objective is to create a report in Canva. I searched report in Canva and found a lot of templates for creating my own report. Before I picked a template, I took a look at the designs to see what at least the covers had in common so I knew what to put on the cover of the report I was going to make.

I decided to use the 2019 annual report template for this project. Once the template was created in the canvas, I took a look at the different pages to see what kind of information needs to be included in one and how the design changed on these pages. The first thing I tackled in the report is the cover page. I tried using pink background color and using different color shapes to create some contrast on the cover.

I eventually removed the pink background and used a cream color for the background. I played around with the transparency of the image for the first time to see how it would look with the text over it. It isn't 100% perfect.

I might have to reduce transparency a little more since the colors and font size still make it harder to read but overall it still keeps the simple vibe I like to use for my designs. The rest of the session was spent working on the individual pages in the report. I removed the colors and fonts on the template and add brand new shapes to create the background for the top header portion of sites.

I also removed the template text and used filler text. I duplicated the second page of the report for solutions and changed the headlines. This project was the first time playing around with the charts and graphs feature. I just edited the bar graph in the template but I did create a pie chart which was really fun.

Report cover


I'm officially at the halfway point of the 21 Days of Canva challenge. The next post will be a recap of the last 11 days of the challenge. During these days, the prompts will be getting a little harder since I'll be making things like an animated social media post or invoice.

So I'll be stepping outside of my design comfort zone even further in these upcoming challenges. Are you doing the 21 Days of Canva challenge? Share your progress and projects in the comments below.

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