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What does it take to create your own journal (or planner or workbook) using Canva? And what is the best or the easiest way to go about designing its interior pages?
What if you start with a Word document? What do you need to know in order to make sure it will look as good in a printed book as it does on your screen — or better?
I spent several days designing the interior of my journal on Canva. And then I spent several more days making changes, as I learned more about the formatting requirements for CreateSpace.
After figuring out a way to easily design a book cover template, create the parts (front, back, and spine), and snap those parts into place using one of Canva’s layouts, I thought I’d nailed the process of designing a journal — inside and out — using only Canva.
Because I really, really did NOT want to buy Photoshop — even if it was only $10 a month.
It took me years to warm up to Scrivener for writing books. Photoshop is like Scrivener for photo editors — overwhelming with all the features, doo-dads, and whatchamacallits.
I laugh in the face of overwhelm. And then I run away. I ran away from Photoshop, and I don’t want to go back. At least, not yet.
So much for the 7 day trial period — which expired even when I closed the program on the first day and then didn’t reopen it until I had worked up the intestinal fortitude to play with it a bit. But then I couldn’t, because my seven days were up. But, hey, I could sign up and access it again — for only $9.99 a month!
Yeah, no thanks. I have Canva. Canva takes care of me. Plus, I’m already paying about $12 a month for Canva For Work, which I’m keeping, because it’s awesome.
And then, while futzing around on the CreateSpace website, I happened upon a list of interior templates listed by book size. I wanted to make my journal a 6 x 9 inch book, so I thought, “What the heck! I’ll tinker with it. See what happens.”
What happened changed everything. It was so much easier to create the journal interior using the 6 x 9 book template from CreateSpace! I immediately resolved upon using it for the next journal. As for the cover, I’ll stick with Canva, because I’ve found a step-by-step process that works well and yields an upload-ready PDF file for my journal covers. I just ordered my first proof of the first journal I created this way, and I’ll post a picture when it comes.
Anyway, hopefully by the middle of this month, I’ll have a picture of the newly printed paperback journal. If all goes well, I'll be happy to share the step-by-step Canva cover-making process with anyone who asks.Click To Tweet
I’m not trying to dump on Photoshop. I just find Canva easier to work with — but that could just be because I’m easily overwhelmed. It’s not that Canva is feature-poor by comparison; it’s just less overwhelming for me. And if I don’t need Adobe InDesign to create gorgeous book covers or interiors, that’s another reason to love Canva and CreateSpace’s interior templates.
But why Canva For Work, you may be wondering. If I’m gladly paying $12 a month to keep the paid version of Canva, what on earth for?
Here’s my why list:
the “Your Brand” page — it lets me set a font type and size for each text category, plus it lets me upload new fonts if Canva doesn’t have the one I want (for example, I wanted “Dancing Script- Bold,” but I had to download that from Google Fonts and then upload it to Canva. I can’t do that with the free version, and if I went back to the free version, I’d probably lose Dancing Script, which is one of my signature fonts.
The “Your Brand” page also keeps track of my logo designs (headers, etc.) that I’ve uploaded to it, as well as my brand colors, which are there automatically whenever I want to edit colors for any graphic I’m creating.
the ability to resize any image and adapt it to different templates. For example, I can take a Facebook graphic I create on Canva and change it to Pinterest graphic dimensions or even, if I want, to my own custom dimensions. I love that.
I can even change the default color scheme for my Canva page. It’s a little thing, but I like it when I can personalize my tools.
That said, you can follow the step-by-step cover-design process using only the free version of Canva, so if you’re not inclined to pay the $12 per month for Canva for Work, you can still make gorgeous book covers that upload to CreateSpace without a hitch. Photoshop doesn’t even have a free version, so I have to give Canva props for this — among the other things I love about it.
But enough of my gushing. I’ll be back with a picture of the new journal and details on how to get your own Canva cover-design cheat-sheet (assuming all goes as planned).
Have a great week! 🙂