Getting the Most Out of Your Free Canva Account

Did you read our last blog post about Canva and integrating ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi in our work? If you did, then you know how much we love Canva. While we think the pro subscription is incredible, we understand that there are many advantages to the free version of any application! 

We love the free account but one of the most challenging aspects of designing with it is when you find the perfect Canva element or photo, only to realize you have to pay to incorporate it into your design. The frustration is real! Though we applaud a really great marketing tactic when we see it, we don’t want you to have to deal with the constant temptation. The easiest fix is just to filter your search preferences so you will only see the free options. You can do this by (1) clicking the selector icon next to the search bar and (2) selecting “Free” then (3) applying the filter . Boom! Now, you will not be tempted by the pay to use graphic elements!

In case you still can’t find exactly what you’re looking for in Canva, we’ve compiled a list of our team’s favorite resources for free icons, graphics and other multimedia that you can incorporate in both your design and development work!


Flaticon - Vector icon database

Icons8 - Icons to download or embed through HTML - A huge database that packages icon styles together for easy downloading


Freepik - Parent company of Flaticon offering vector graphics

Free Vector - Vector art and graphics

Pixabay - Vector art and icons database 


Unsplash - High-resolution stock photos

Pexels - Database for photos and videos

Freesound - Database for sound effects, background music and voice overs

ZapSplat - Sound effects, music tracks, themed sound packs


You can’t add fonts to a free Canva account, but we thought this font guide by TypeWolf is a great resource for combining the fonts already available in Canva. We recommend using it as a reference for font pairings in your designs.

Once you’ve downloaded the desired item, all you have to do is upload it into Canva. From the home screen, select (1) “All your folders” then select (2) “Uploads” where you can (3) browse for your file or drag it from the desktop.

You can also upload items while working on your project. Select uploads from the project sidebar (pictured below) and then drag-and-drop or browse your files by selecting the purple, “Upload media” button.

At this point, you're ready to integrate your uploads into your designs! Using Canva for free will enable you to make great designs while being easy on the wallet.