using gradients in Canva

Using Gradients in Canva

Anything that will make your graphics stand out is worth a try. I am going to show you how to use gradients in Canva to add a different effect to your photos. (If you would prefer to watch how to do it there is a video at the end of this post.)

Firstly, you want to go to Canva.com and choose the size of image that you want. I have gone for a Twitter post size.

There are 2 different ways to add the gradient – behind, or in front of, the photo.

We will start with putting it behind the image.

Click on ‘Elements' and type in gradients. As you will see, there are a lot of different options available.  I have dragged it onto the graphic so it takes up the whole area.

There are even more options once you have it placed in the workspace.  You can add filters to it and also can make any number of additional adjustments to it to get it exactly as you would like it.

I then typed in ‘people’ to find an image to use.  I am quite partial to the bagpipes, so went with that.

WORD OF WARNING: click on the image to add it to the graphic, and then resize it.  Don’t drag it on or it will try to become the background image and you will lose the gradient underneath.

Once you have the image in front, then you want to adjust the transparency of the image. Just play around with the level of transparency until you get it how you like it.

Looks pretty good, right?

The other way is to put the image first and then add the transparency in front of it.

Add the gradient – again, remember to click on it and then resize to fill the shape.  If you drag it in it will become the background and you will lose the image in the background.

Again, play around with it until you like the look of it.

It really is as simple as that. It only takes a few minutes to add a bit of flair to your image.  I'd love to see what you create using the gradients inside Canva.

Prefer to learn by video – this is for you!

You might also like this tutorial on how to use Canva to make reports and checklists.

About the author 

Stacey Myers

Coaching entrepreneurial women who have decided that mediocrity is no longer an option. From ordinary to extraordinary.

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  1. I’ve added a rectangular gradient element to my image but when I crop it to occupy the whole image, I’m unable to expand it all the way to the borders of my vertical Instagram story. Any ideas what I’m doing wrong? I’m trying to make the background entirely gradient but right now all I can get is a gradient shape that doesn’t occupy the whole background.

    1. It is easier to just make the whole background a gradient or put a colour block element at the back, make it white and then put the gradient over that. Doing it that way will make it easier to manipulate.

      1. Yes, agreed! I’d prefer to make the whole background a gradient. I noticed you did that by dragging the gradient onto the graphic to make it take up the whole area. However, when I drag a gradient element onto the graphic, it simply remains the size and shape that it did when I selected it from the Elements menu. How do I make the gradient take up the whole background?
        Also, when I type in “gradients” as you have done, the menu of Elements available to me is not as nicely organized as yours. I get a whole hodgepodge of gradient elements of varying shapes and sizes, not a series of nice rectangular shapes. I’m wondering if I’m selecting and dragging over the wrong type of element to fill up the graphic space?

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