“Globally, the appreciation for design is growing. We no longer see any of our news articles or blogs or any company breakdowns with lackluster power point slides. Everything is nicely curated.”

Poppie Pack, senior designer at Canva, spoke about the importance of design to establish a brand identity at the SydStart Workshops. “The way you’re going to present and portray yourself to your audience is absolutely vital,” she said.

To prove her point, she cited three successful brands — Virgin, Apple, and Whole Foods.

When you see Virgin, you think of the color red, fun, and aisles all lit up on their planes. Apple, on the other hand, is associated with clean, cool, and smart. Buyers could really feel the buzz when they are in stores. And when you hear Whole Foods, you imagine building communities, greens, and vegetables.

“These brands have created a full brand identity for themselves. You can’t do that without all the design elements, fonts, colors, images, filters, you name it,” Poppie declared.

Design at Your Fingertips

Poppie said that nowadays, it is easier to create and design your brand and associated promotional materials. There are plenty of tools available that don’t require years of training and experience. One of them is Canva https://www.canva.com/templates/

“Canva is a fast, free and easy way to create anything, from social media graphics to marketing materials using a simple drag and drop process. You no longer need years of training and experience of hard to use tools to actually create stunning graphics. You get the ability to interact and play and have some fun using this awesome platform.”

She shared that when they first launched Canva, they gave everyone a tool. The tool was amazing, but it was like sending kids into a lolly shop. “They had no idea how to use it. The stuff that people were creating was terrifying. I was like, ‘What have we unleashed?’”

To help their users hone their skills and maximize the potential of Canva as a tool, they launched a blog called Canva Design School. The blog features tips and tricks, inspirations, and Canva tutorials designed to not only level their skills up a notch, but also apply these effectively on the platform. “It’s a way for our users to skill themselves up before they get into it,” she said.

Telling a Story Through Design

“Design is essentially about telling a story. If you get to chapter two before you have read chapter one, you’re not going to understand it properly.”

Showing the audience two design examples, Poppie asked which one they think was the best graphic for a winter sale advertisement.

“The first one has poor representation of color. It’s a winter sale. Red traditionally conveys heat, passion, and fire. You can’t actually see what the ad is even for. On the right hand side, it’s clear and it’s blue, which is associated with winter. The right things are bold. The placement of text, image, color, and filters has provided you a greater winner,” Poppie explained.

Essential Design Elements

Poppie delved into the main essential design elements that contribute to the story. These are the typefaces, color palettes, and filters.


“I love typefaces and font pairing. I’m so obsessed with it [font pairing], I eat and breathe it.”

“What fonts you choose and how you pair them are going to create a face for your brand,” she added.

The typeface is essentially what the customer fixes their eyes on. It should be readable. The pairing should be pleasant and easy on the eyes.

Color Palettes

When you put color in your ads, you evoke the feelings of your customers. By applying blue, you represent yourself as traditional, and loyal. By using yellow, you exude happiness and energy.

“Make sure you know what your actual industry is before you choose your brand colors,” Poppie advised.


Filters make your brand different. “It is also an amazing way to create consistency, because branding, at the end of the day, is about consistency. You need to form a relationship with your audience and you need them to remember what you look like. By applying great filters, you can create that feeling,” the Canva guru said.

At the end of the workshop, Poppie conducted a short demonstration of Canva and answered questions from the crowd.

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