10 Canva Pro Features You Need to Use for Designing a Killer Instagram Feed [Ultimate Guide]
From creating beautiful graphics to saving time designing your social media, here are the 10 must-know features of Canva's pro plan.
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In today’s digital landscape, Instagram marketing is crucial. If it’s not already a part of your strategy, it needs to be. If you’re looking for ways to stand out then having well-designed and compelling visual graphics is simply a must. In this blog post I’m going to show you the top 10 Canva Pro features you need to design an Instagram feed that will not only stand out but turn your viewers into followers and followers into buyers.
What is Canva Pro and why do you need it?
Canva is an online graphic design platform that can be used to create all of your marketing graphics. From social media designs to flyers, presentations, and more. Its drag and drop interface makes it easy for almost anyone to use it. No design skills or pricey software needed.
Not only has it helped to free small businesses from the need to hire expensive graphic designers but, as a professional designer myself, it’s helped me optimize my Instagram design workflow and saves me money. I no longer need an expensive Adobe Cloud subscription to design my social media or blog graphics.
While Canva does have a free option, the Pro features are where it really shines.
Why are the Canva Pro features so essential for Instagram?
In today’s digital world, Instagram is an important marketing channel. There are nearly 1 billion users on Instagram and 81% of people use it to search for products and services.
Whether you’re running a business or building a professional career, the way you present yourself online is critical. Along with your website, Instagram is one of the first places people visit to find information about you.
What makes Instagram so powerful is its use of visual content. 40% of people respond better to visual content than text content. To stand out, you must find ways to improve the visual aesthetic of your Instagram posts and the overall look and flow of your feed.
You can achieve this through cohesive visual branding and professional-looking design, and that’s where Canva comes in and saves the day.
There’s a lot you can do with the free version of Canva, but if you are serious about upping your Instagram marketing and design game, you’ll need to get the pro version.
Below, I’ll go over each of the Canva Pro features I believe will become the most necessary parts of your Instagram design toolkit.
The top 10 Canva Pro features to use when designing for Instagram:
- 01: Use Brand Kit to keep your brand essentials on hand and speed up your design time.
- 02: Get access to a library of premium content that will give your designs a professional edge.
- 03: Remove image backgrounds and create transparent pngs in a few clicks.
- 04: Choose from thousands of stunning pre-designed templates
- 05: Make your designs come to life with Animations
- 06: Magically resize your designs in seconds
- 07: Keep all your designs organized in folders
- 08: Compress and save images that are optimized for your website
- 09: Review and restore older versions of your designs
- 10: Schedule your social posts right from Canva
01: Use Brand Kit to keep your brand essentials on hand and speed up your design time.
I’m always advocating for and teaching about the importance of having a visual brand style guide. This is probably why the Brand Kit feature is one of my favs. It allows you to keep your key brand visuals on hand and organized in one, easy-to-find place.
With the pro Brand Kit, you can add multiple custom brand fonts, create unlimited color palettes, upload multiple versions of your logo and brand images, and design custom branded templates to use.
The free Canva version only allows you to use a small portion of these features so, for those of you who are looking to level up your brand visuals and optimize your design workflow, you’ll find it too limiting.
Try Canva’s Brand Kit and you’ll see how easy it is to create marketing collateral that looks visually consistent, on-brand, and professional across any touchpoint you make.
02: Get access to a library of premium content that will give your designs a professional edge.
One of the best features of Canva Pro is the access you get to its entire library of high-quality stock photos, videos, audio, and elements. With over 75+ million options to choose from, you’ll NEVER have to pay for any of these things, ever again. If that’s not worth the investment, I’m not sure what is.
Another perk is not having to leave the Canva platform to find the right photo, video, audio, or graphic. If you’ve ever visited a site like Shutterstock and tried to find a graphic element (that did not look like 90s clip art or cheesy stock photos), then you know how painful finding the right piece of content can be.
Another great feature is the access to video and audio content you get when you upgrade to Canva Pro. Why is this important to note? Well, let me explain.
With the introduction of Instagram Reels, we’re seeing a strong push towards video content on the Instagram platform. If you haven’t started creating video content, I have a strong feeling that you will soon. Stay ahead of the trend and begin incorporating audio and video content wherever you can.
Upgrading to a Canva Pro account will get you immediate access to the kind of premium content you’ll need to stand out on Instagram.
03: Remove image backgrounds and create transparent pngs in a few clicks.
Removing backgrounds from images use to be a multi-step process but Canva has made it easy to do with its background remover feature. It works really well and does a great job of not only removing entire backgrounds but leaving clean edges around the image, all in one click.
As a professional designer, I’ve used Photoshop to do this for many years, but it was always a chore. Having this feature built right into the Canva app is ah-maz-ing. I honestly love how it’s helped to optimize my design workflow in so many ways. I don’t have to leave the app at all to edit my images and that has been a game-changer.
Once you are done removing your image backgrounds, take it one step further and download them as transparent PNGs. If you’re using the free version of Canva, you’ll quickly find out how much you need this feature. Once you start customizing templates or creating your own designs from scratch, you will absolutely need to have access to this Pro feature.
04: Choose from thousands of stunning pre-designed templates
OK, we’ve finally got to one of the best features of Canva in general. The TEMPLATES! When I was lucky enough to come across Canva and finally decided to give it a try, I was like a kid in a candy store. There were so many beautiful templates to choose from.
I went a little Canva crazy at first and saved all of the cute templates right away. I updated them with my brand colors and fonts and started posting them on Instagram.
Then I noticed something I hadn’t before. I kept seeing the same templates being used everywhere. As a brand designer, that’s something I simply couldn’t allow for myself. It’s so important to create a visual language that is unique to your brand and doesn’t look like anyone else’s.
Even though I saw a lot of the same Canva designs all over Instagram, having access to thousands pre-designed templates is still pretty amazing. The free templates are awesome, but I got tired of searching for and finding a great template only to realize that it’s a Pro version that I couldn’t use. Needless to say, it didn’t take long for me to upgrade to a Canva Pro subscription.
Now that I can use ALL of the premium templates, I have more options and a lot more room for creativity. I can start with any template design, add custom elements, select photos from the premium stock library, apply my brand colors and fonts from my Brand Kit and make a branded piece of content that looks unique to me.
If you ever reach a place where you want more Instagram template options, you can also search on Creative Market. Talk about eye candy! So many gorgeous options to choose from. These designers really take it to the next level. Here is a small selection of my absolute favorite Instagram templates on Creative Market.
05: Make your designs come to life with Animations
If you’re like me, then motion graphics is not in your bag of tricks. I’m a graphic designer so static designs are more my cup of tea. I don’t have the time or patience to learn how to create video animations, but Canva Pro makes it easy to do this with their animation creator.
It kind of feels like magic. Anyone can create stunning Instagram posts by adding motion with one simple click. You get 14 premium animation styles to choose from when you upgrade to the pro plan.
I mentioned it once above, but it’s worth mentioning again. Video is the future of Instagram, and if you want to grow, you’ll need to get with the show. Video is where it’s at. With the ability to animate your graphics and add music, you can create video content that will most definitely stop the scroll.
06: Magically resize your designs in seconds
OK, so you’ve designed the perfect Instagram post and realize you need to turn it into a blog image and maybe even a flyer. All you need to do is log into your Canva Pro account and click “Resize.” That’s literally it.
Having to resize your images into multiple dimensions can take hours. Trust me, I know. I’ve done it plenty of times in Photoshop. Manually recreating the same design into all the various sizes needed is not fun. That’s probably why this feature seems so “magical.”
Oh, and I bet you’ve pulled your hair out trying to guesstimate all the different dimensions and sizes you need. IG post, story, reel, print flyer, blog image, email banner, online ad. Who has time to keep all these sizes in their head?
With the magic resize feature, you never have to worry about that again. All of the most popular graphic sizes are already pre-populated. You can even create custom resized images whenever needed. Thank you Canva team for thinking of even the littlest things.
07: Keep all your designs organized in folders
Now we’re getting to some of the features I think might be the most underrated. With Canva Pro you’ll get unlimited design folders. This might not seem like a big fancy feature, but it is. When I was in college one of the things my design professor taught me was the importance of file structure and organization. It’s probably why I’m such a stickler when it comes to keeping my files and folders in order.
The free version of Canva only allows you to have one folder. I mean, what are you going to do with just one folder? If you say that’s where you’ll put everything, my overly organized, Capricorn brain might just explode.
Hopefully, once you start taking your design workflow seriously, you’ll see the need for organizing your design templates into their own folders. With Canva Pro, you’ll have unlimited folders where you can keep everything organized and easy to find.
08: Compress and save images that are optimized for your website
I know this post is primarily about how to use the Canva Pro features for Instagram, but this almost hidden feature is something I just have to mention.
After someone checks out your Instagram page, they’ll most likely click the link in your bio and that should lead to your website or a branded landing page.
One thing that drives me nuts is visiting a website that looks great but loads painfully slow. The typical culprit for this is large website images.
If you have a website and you don’t know how or why you need to optimize your web images, then stop what you are doing and hit up Google to find out why this is a major NO!
I’ll quickly tell you that when your images are not saved properly and are too large, not only do they slow down your website, but it’s really bad for your SEO. That’s because it will cause your website to load your pages slower than is optimal. It also creates a bad user experience. No one is going to wait more than a few seconds for your page to load.
With Canva Pro, you’ll have the option to download compressed versions of your web images to ensure they are the smallest size possible. Typically I’d have to use an image optimizer like TinyPNG but the benefit of this pro feature is that you don’t have to leave Canva to do this somewhere else.
Optimizing your web images can now be a simple two-step process. Number one, make sure you are sizing your image correctly, then number two, download a compressed version of it using the “Compress File” feature in Canva.
09: Review and restore older versions of your designs
Has your computer ever died on you before hitting “save” on a file? It’s pretty painful, right?! Well, it’s like that when you accidentally make edits to a Canva design and close the browser window only to realize that you need to get the old version back.
If this hasn’t happened to you. Just give it some time. There will most definitely be a moment when you’ll need to revert to an older version of a particular design. If you are on the free plan you will be out of luck.
So, do yourself a favor and don’t put yourself in that position. Once you upgrade to Canva Pro, you’ll have access to your version history and can restore your designs in one click. Headaches and tears avoided.
10: Schedule your social posts right from Canva
The Canva team really understands its user base. They know we are all out here using Canva to design for our social channels. In an effort to optimize our workflow, they’ve introduced their Content Planner and it now allows you to auto-post directly to your Instagram business account.
This Canva Pro feature gives users the ability to schedule all their social posts without ever having to leave the app. This means no need to download and upload files or manage assets in multiple places.
There is still some room for improvement on this feature, but having access to the Content Planner gives you one additional way to quickly post to your social accounts when you need to post something quickly.
Instagram is a powerful marketing tool and with the help of these 10 Canva Pro features, you can create designs that will convert followers into buyers. Whether your goal is to increase brand awareness or drive sales directly from Instagram, these tools are essential for creating professional-looking graphics in minutes.
I hope this article has been helpful! If you have any questions about how to use these pro features when designing social media posts on Canva, send me a DM on Instagram. Be sure to follow me for helpful content marketing and social media tips that I share on my Instagram account weekly!