Playing with fonts is fun. Having them look good is better. Using your skills to customize type so that you look like a typography/ font expert… well, that’s just awesome! Try out these 3 simple ideas on your next design project. Each of them can be done using a free subscription account in Canva!

3 Ways to Customize Type (and how to do it in Canva) by Prickly Pear Design Co.

No matter what type of design project you’re working on, it’s probably going to involve at least a little bit of text. Most projects rely heavily on text so having a few great ideas on how to add interest to text is always a good idea. Sure you can rely on finding fun fonts – but why not try out one of these on trend ideas to customize type instead?

What You Need to Customize Type

You really don’t need anything more than a keen design eye to start picking up ideas on how to customize type. Some of the best ideas can be found by scouring magazines and advertisements! Don’t look for exact ideas to copy (that’s not cool); instead, look for concepts that you can adjust to fit your own projects.

Here are 3 simple ways to customize type in Canva (all you need is the free account!) or the design program of your choice, so you look like a design pro.


You’ll find highlighted/lowlighted text popping up in lots of places. It works a lot like the typical drop shadow, but it gets rid of the shadow and eliminates a few steps when creating the effect in Canva. Here’s how to give the highlight/lowlight to your text:

  1. Create text – usually larger headline text is the best place to put this type of customization.
  2. Select a color for your text.
  3. With the text selected make a copy & change the color to a contrasting color.
  4. You’ll then adjust the placement of your copy so that you it’s slightly offset from the original headline. Make sure that you pay attention to readability – customizing a font is only cool if you can still easily read what it says.

Layered Pattern

Adding texture to fonts is a fun way to create eye-catching text. Just like the highlight/lowlight option, it’s best applied to headline type text and bolded or slab fonts. Here’s how to add a simple layered texture to your type in Canva:

  1. First scroll down and grab the FREE white stripe file by clicking on the button below.
  2. In a fresh art board in Canva, go to ELEMENTS>SHAPES and select a solid fill square.
  3. Change the color to #af3f84 or whatever color you like.
  4. Go to ELEMENTS >FRAMES and scroll down until you see the alphabet options. Select the letter of your choice.
  5. Change the color to #ffde59 or whatever color you like.
  6. With your letter selected, duplicate it by going to the top right of the screen and hitting the duplicate button (it looks like 2 small pieces of paper with a + sign on the top one). Now you should have 2 copies and it will look a little like a wreck.
  7. Go to UPLOADS over in the left hand tools panel.
  8. Click on “UPLOAD AN IMAGE OR VIDEO” and select the White Stripes file you downloaded in step 1.
  9. Once it’s fully loaded, click, hold and drag the stripes image over the top of your letter – you’ll see it fill the letter and then you can let go of your click on the mouse.
  10. Adjust the placement of the letter to your liking – straight over the top to create a cute pattern OR slightly off of the colored letter to create some depth.

*Tip: Once you’ve created the layered letters you can select them and group them together so that they won’t shift as you continue to work on your design.

Color Blocking

Using color adds a lot to type and is a great design element, even if it is simple. You’ll find 3 different types of color blocking showcased in the video below

  1. Choose your font and create your text (this effect works great for multiple lines of text).
  2. Create a rectangle by going to Elements>Shapes and selecting a solid color rectangle.
  3. Size your rectangle to cover half of one of your words and extend out on either side just a bit.
  4. Select the color for your rectangle.
  5. Repeat steps 3 & 4 until you have a rectangle for every word that you need one for.
  6. Select the rectangle and go to Position (top right corner) and move it to back so it’s behind the text.
  7. Make any minor adjustments to placement that you’d like. Tip: I find that having the top of the box hit just above or below the middle of the letters seems to give me the effect I like most.

Now that you’ve got 3 great ideas for customizing text, what project will you tackle next?


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