Design can be a critical contributor to success on social media. But not all of us who create content for social media are also great designers.
So in this episode, it was a pleasure to have the chance to talk design with Nok Werner, a Global Canva Verified Expert. As you may know, Canva is a software service used by millions of graphic designers. And Nok is one of only 26 global experts chosen by Canva, as a leader in their communities of affiliates, content creators, and educators.
Nok and I discuss the love of design, design principles, Instagram growth, entrepreneurship as a digital content creator, and the print-on-demand scene. Check it out, as she's got a lot of great tips to share.
If you'd like to connect with Nok, you can find her on
Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/nokwerner.design/ and on
her website at https://www.digisignbynok.com/ or
her Etsy store at https://www.etsy.com/shop/DigisignStudio.
Thanks for listening! Have a comment or question about a topic or episode? I'd love to hear that. Feel free to connect with me via Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Also, check out the store link on my website for resources and merch for content creators.
[00:00:00] Tim: If you create content for social media, then you've probably heard of Canva. It's a graphic design software service used by millions of designers, often for creating content for social media, print-on-demand products, and many other purposes. And on this episode, I'm excited to be joined by Nok Werner. Nok is a verified Canva expert, and she's had success in growing her Instagram following from 3000 to more than 10,000 followers in just this past year.
[00:00:27] And today we're gonna talk a little bit about design principles, Instagram growth, and print on demand. Let's get into it.
[00:00:33] Welcome, Nok. I'm really excited to have you on the show. And, why don't you maybe start just by telling us a little bit about who you are and what you do?
[00:00:46] Nok: Yes. I was born in Thailand before moving to Japan for studying Japanese and also worked there for two years before I'm moving to the Netherlands.
[00:00:57] And yeah, i, my sister just asked me to try Canva last year. And I tried and then I realized immediately that, oh, this is what I'm looking for along in my life. And then, yeah, cannot stop until today. Yeah.
[00:01:16] Tim: Excellent. And I understand you have become a Global Canva Certified Expert.
[00:01:22] What does that mean?
[00:01:23] Nok: For this program is the first program for Canva ever, and it's like, it's by only the invitations and hand selected, from Canva, so I, I didn't know myself, I just do what I'm crazy about or what I, I, I have a passion for on Instagram, but they saw my work, they appreciate my work, and there are 26 of us around the world.
[00:01:51] Oh, wow.
[00:01:52] Including, educators or YouTuber, content creator, and who is, expert in, in your community.
[00:02:01] Tim: Okay.
[00:02:01] Nok: So, I think they would like to find someone who has a passion to inspire people on how, on how to create Canva products. And, yeah, we are the first group to have the benefit of being an expert for Canva like, we can taste features and then have the opportunity to provide feedback directly to Canva.
[00:02:22] And then every month I will get the, I mean like, the report or an update from Canva, what feature going to be launched, or can we announce or create content? How can we inspire people like that? Yeah.
[00:02:36] Tim: Yeah, it must be a good benefit for your business too. I noticed that, on the Canva Global Certified Expert advertising, like you're, you're the center picture, Nok, you're, you're right up there,
[00:02:48] Yeah. I see. But you know, seriously, definitely, definitely in my head, I really don't want to take the benefit from that actually. I can just like, okay, I will do workshop and then go for that. I'm certified, I'm an expert, and then everyone can join me. I don't want to do that, I mean, yeah, definitely. I don't want to take.
[00:03:09] You're too modest.
[00:03:11] Yeah, but I just want to do my best. Like, something to inspire people that I have a chance. Canva, look at me and then, mm-hmm, I give a chance to you everyone who join me, or inspires me, and then we can share and inspire each other and then create something fun. That's what I want.
[00:03:31] Yeah, well that really comes through in your work, Nok, like in, in the posts that you make on Instagram and in the designs that you're creating. And I think that's one of the things that attracted me to following your account, was, you know, I obviously want to learn about the design, but also your, just your genuine passion for it. And the, you know, the great way that you engaged with your audience too, I think, was important.
[00:03:55] So what is it that you love about design?
[00:03:59] Nok: Mm, for me, I like that design has a magic.
[00:04:04] Tim: Mm-hmm.
[00:04:05] Nok: They talk, I mean, with people.
[00:04:09] And, for me, this I can convey my thought, my passion, my dreams, my personality, and for the business. I, I think it can talk with your audience through the design. Just one shot of the design can tell a thousand words how, how's your brand look like or what your, what you want your, how I say, perceive you brand personality.
[00:04:38] Tim: Right
[00:04:38] Nok: So, it's just like magic. So it's like a free space because I'm sure that everyone, especially, students, we, we, we have a lot of creativity, we have imaginations, and it's just like a free space that we can just do that power to do something fun and then create amazing thing like an art, or language, or music. It's what the people can do. So that's what I like.
[00:05:03] Tim: That's so true. That's part of what I like about creating designs for Instagram or, you know, for your YouTube covers, you have to create thumbnails and, yeah, it's, it's nice when you, when you are able to convey your message in that concise way and make it look nice at the same time. And it's just a cool way to share ideas and, yeah, engage with other, other people, other content creators.
[00:05:28] And even if you're into photography or video content, you still need some graphic design content to go along with that, like for cover art or to promote your work on social media.
[00:05:39] So there's a, I think, a big interest in that among the audience for, for this show. And, they'd be interested to know like, what are some of your favorite design principles and how can you help us become better designers?
[00:05:52] Nok: Oh, yeah. I would like to say first that I start my journey without knowing nothing about design theory. So, I don't want anyone to stop themself just because "I don't know, I cannot do that, I'm not sure."
[00:06:10] Don't think that. Just do what you like. And, for me, the most important part when you design something is the blank canvas and the clean, and you make to make it clear, mm-hmm, what message you would like to say to people. Make the design belong. Simple.
[00:06:30] Tim: Yeah.
[00:06:31] Nok: So, for me, most I like would be font or typeface because, we, we, we, we start communication, I mean, people can speak some language, after they know each the meaning of each letter. I mean like, and then we, when we read some words, we read with our head, we read with our mind, and it impacts a lot to the design. Hm.
[00:06:59] Tim: That's really interesting, cuz I think, as a beginning designer, it's not one of the things that you think about first. You think about like the elements, the objects. So you think about, the placement of different elements, but not as much about the, typography or the, the fonts. Do you start with that often? Like what do you start with when you're thinking about a design and you have, let's say you have the overall concept in your mind?
[00:07:24] Nok: Okay, for the beginner, I mean, someone who don't have the design, skills, something, just start by redesigning or copying. If I mean, there are many pre-mades in place in Canva, mm-hmm, choose the one you like, and then copy it. And then how can, how can they create or assess, or lay the position of each design? And then create it by yourself, and then you will know what's the best choice for each design.
[00:07:53] But for me, when I start my work, I started with my crazy idea. And I, and I, you know, I think this is an advantage of someone who does not have a diploma about design. I don't have any rules to stop or to, I mean like to stop myself, so I can do anything I want in my hands without any rules, without thinking of any rules.
[00:08:14] And then I start with like, okay, I have today some crazy concept. I start with the content first. How to make my idea short as possible.
[00:08:28] Tim: Hmm.
[00:08:29] Nok: And one piece for Instagram should not be longer than three sentences. I think it's too much.
[00:08:33] Tim: Right.
[00:08:33] Nok: Nobody like it. So content is the most important, design comes later. It's just to help transfer the message, properly and beautifully. That's all.
[00:08:45] Tim: Yeah, right. Excellent. Yeah, it's really about, conveying the idea, like the idea is the most important thing, and then the design supports the idea, right.
[00:08:54] Nok: Yeah, yeah. And, you can just use visual design instead of your words. I mean, like, okay, you can, you make the content short and then identify which words can be replaced by photos, video, icons, and then that's all. And then it will be perfect.
[00:09:11] Tim: Yeah. I wish I had your advice about using the templates earlier because I know when I started, I, for some reason, I just ignored the templates. I was like, okay, I'm gonna design something. Meanwhile, there are all these examples sitting on the side and I didn't use them.
[00:09:26] Nok: Yeah, not only for Canva, but if you want to start with Figma, for the shop, do something. Just copy someone first, but don't use it forever. Find your style later. But use it for like this thing. Yeah.
[00:09:39] Tim: Yeah, and I mean, that's what the templates are there for. They're there to help you get started, so it's totally okay to adopt them.
[00:09:46] Nok: Yeah.
[00:09:46] Tim: And then just tweak them.
[00:09:48] Nok: Yeah.
[00:09:48] Tim: Yeah. Very good. so what are some, I think we talked a little bit about this, but is there anything you wanted to add about, your favorite design principles?
[00:09:58] Nok: Yeah. Would be color, fonts is very important, but the most problem I found on Instagram, also social media, would be aligning alignment, contents. Yeah, I don't know, but to keep, I mean, your tastes simple would be aligning on the left side without no need to think anything. Just make it align.
[00:10:21] Tim: Yeah.
[00:10:22] Left. Yeah. And if you click, like, a book, cover book, poster, movie poster. Okay. You get aligned in center. That's also right.
[00:10:32] That's a good way of thinking about it. You know, because it really, it's getting harder and harder to grab people's attention, I think, especially with designs on Instagram, because, so much is moving towards video content.
[00:10:45] Yeah. So if you have a more static design, how do you get people to stop from scrolling to the next thing?
[00:10:53] Nok: And Tim, you know, that people are. I mean, everyone's lazy. We are lazy, also to move our eyes.
[00:11:00] Tim: Yes.
[00:11:01] Nok: So you have to think the position of the text that makes people move less, move from their eye side.
[00:11:09] Tim: Right.
[00:11:09] Nok: Yeah.
[00:11:11] Tim: Yeah. I heard an interesting, principle about YouTube thumbnails that like, don't have more than three elements in any one, just to, to keep it simple, right? Like if it's too cluttered, just go to the next one, because it's too much to look at, right?
[00:11:26] Nok: Yeah. Just, oh, where should I, forgot, and then I get confused, my eyes, and then, okay, that's right. Yeah.
[00:11:35] Tim: So yeah, that, is the most one, I think, one of the most important principles for Instagram is that, that simplicity, but also some sort of like attention-grabbing factor. And, like, speaking of which I, I, I was doing some research to prepare for our interview and I put your account name into Not Just Analytics.
[00:11:55] And I noticed that you've actually grown your account from, it said like 3000 to 8,000 followers in 2022 alone so far. So that's really great. Congratulations on
[00:12:06] Nok: Thank you so much.
[00:12:08] Tim: that. And, what do you attribute your success in that to?
[00:12:11] Nok: Oh, the most important, the most difficult part would be how to get the first one k following.
[00:12:19] Tim: Yeah
[00:12:20] Nok: That's the more important part. But after that, you know, for me at that time, fairly online, I mean, in case a lot of people last year, I was online, on Instagram about seven to eight hour a day.
[00:12:37] Tim: Oh, wow.
[00:12:37] Nok: Is too much. Yeah, including the PO time, everything in the total activities on Instagram. But this year I reduce us to one or two hours. I mean, engagements is very important. Very important. If your content is good enough.
[00:12:59] Tim: Yeah.
[00:13:00] Nok: If your content is bad, engagement helps nothing. So if you show up, I have good, good, good stuff with me and engagement with people to send you that. Hey, hello, I'm here, everyone. I'm here. And then give well, able content, please send yourself more. Everyone will receive you.
[00:13:20] Last year, I can say that I get pin comments every day, at least three or four. That is a good invitation letter from me sent to everyone.
[00:13:30] Tim: Yes.
[00:13:30] Nok: And then I send them the hook with my content. What idea is contained in a carousel post? Last year, Reels is not popular like this year at that time. But you know, that, don't think that they can help you like, become famous or become bigger cow. Believe me, that last month, the best engagement, the best, the less content fill the glass for me.
[00:13:58] Tim: Mm-hmm.
[00:13:59] Nok: So, so content is the most important and, and if you show that you have a good stop, you in, engage with people, get the pin coming from the business, that's the trick. Yeah.
[00:14:10] Tim: So it's the, basically, you know, it's hard work and quality right.
[00:14:15] Nok: Yes, true.
[00:14:16] Tim: Yeah. And, and quality in the, in the comments. Not just, you know, your content. Cuz you know, to get pinned on somebody's post, you usually have to leave, something of a meaningful comment that they're going to want their, their audience to see.
[00:14:30] Nok: Yeah, and then make people curious and then come back to you and then, Wow, what's a wonderful fit? And then content and then be.
[00:14:37] Tim: Yeah. Did you increase your rate of posting at all, or are you posting about the same number of posts as before?
[00:14:45] Nok: You mean how often?
[00:14:46] Tim: Yeah, like how often, how many times per week would you post now compared to when you started?
[00:14:52] Nok: Before, getting the first and one k, I post I almost every day.
[00:14:59] Tim: Yeah.
[00:14:59] Nok: But after that, just I post every two days, but keep myself very active. Like, in case a lot of people, when I cannot post something,
[00:15:09] Tim: But, yeah, so I guess you're engaging constantly, and that kind of keeps the traffic going.
[00:15:15] Nok: Yeah. But when you want to grow, post more.
[00:15:18] Tim: Okay.
[00:15:19] Nok: But just don't post anything. Just post something. Yes.
[00:15:27] Tim: And, well it's, it's great that you're able to keep up with that. Cause I know you're involved in a lot of other things as well. So could you tell us a little bit about some of the other things you're working on?
[00:15:38] Nok: Yeah, I have a Facebook page in Thailand about Canva. I mean, like, if you search Canva Thailand, it will, take you to my page and I try, I want to be online. I mean, if you send on, on, TikTok, YouTube Shorts that I just start, Facebook Reels and LinkedIn, that I just start. Yeah. I try to do many things, but
[00:16:03] Tim: Yeah.
[00:16:04] Nok: You know that sometimes you cannot be everything.
[00:16:09] Tim: Yeah, that does become hard. You do have to prioritize what your, what your, your main focus is gonna be. So is your main focus on Instagram?
[00:16:19] Nok: Yes. Main platform, still be on Instagram. And now the second would be LinkedIn that I try to do it and Facebook.
[00:16:29] Tim: Yeah, that makes sense. I, I've heard, LinkedIn, is, is a decent platform to grow on organically, especially if you have a professional service or business.
[00:16:38] Nok: Yeah. And, they have very strong, I mean, communities can help you, I mean refer you to someone else and then good connection, very good opportunity.
[00:16:49] Tim: Yeah, I wish should the best of luck with that. It is nice to have like, I think, another platform, an outside platform, and not rely too much on any one platform. Yeah.
[00:16:59] Nok: That's true. Especially, Instagram.
[00:17:00] Tim: You never know what will happen with any platform these days. Right.
[00:17:06] Nok: Yeah. Don't happen to me. No.
[00:17:11] Tim: And, do you have a coaching service that you're working on as well?
[00:17:15] Nok: Yes, I'm coaching and planning consultants too. Yeah, but mostly some people don't, don't want to take, I mean, much serious about that, because they don't know, what's going on, or maybe I, I may, I may have state, I may change to something else because I, I think plan plans is very sensitive for you.
[00:17:39] Tim: Mm-hmm.
[00:17:40] Nok: And everything seemed interesting at the beginning, but when you take, a walk, I mean, a few steps, you will know that, oh, this okay with me, then something is not okay with me. And have found many brands, entrepreneurs, like, the, the brands owner have changed their minds all the time. They don't know, like, okay, I want to change my color again, and then one month, three colors templates. So, Yeah.
[00:18:05] Tim: Yeah. Well, I think you'd have a really good package of service to offer people as coach, cuz you've got the design aspect, you've obviously, you've had success with social media and you know, that's what a lot of people are looking to combine those things.
[00:18:21] Nok: And, yeah. So in the future, I would like to set up something to help me with this because I cannot do everything alone.
[00:18:31] Tim: So, I certainly struggle with this myself, with trying to manage multiple things, right? And prioritize things, and then, you know, keep it all going. Would you say that's the biggest challenge of being an entrepreneur in the digital economy? Or, are there other things that you, that you find are, are bigger hurdles than that?
[00:18:50] Nok: Yeah. Many people say that you have to focus on only a few things. You have no need to know everything. But to be solo you have to know things as much as possible.
[00:19:05] For me, I have no idea about the UIs, UX, whole thing, but when I start up with my website, I cannot avoid it, I have to learn about it. SEO or, yeah, Oracle Analytics, I mean, many things you have for me, you have to. You have no need to be good. You have to know how this work, and then when you, when you hire someone, you will, mm-hm, you will know what can you hand this or some problem.
[00:19:31] Tim: Right.
[00:19:31] Nok: Or talk to them. You have to.
[00:19:34] Tim: Yeah.
[00:19:34] Nok: Many things as possible.
[00:19:36] Tim: It's interesting, we talked about this with other, entrepreneurs, and this is something that keeps coming up is like, knowing what you can outsource, cuz you can't do everything yourself. So you have to be selective in figuring out, you know, what, what do I wanna focus on? Where do I wanna spend my time? And then what can I give off to other people? And then, then also I think importantly, what am I not going to do at all?
[00:20:02] Nok: Yeah. But actually, I think, at the beginning, you have to know was it work or was it not work for your business. And then you have to know many things as possible. But after that, after you learn from the process, you will know that, okay, like this design.
[00:20:15] Tim: Yeah.
[00:20:15] Nok: I don't want to work on that, let's someone do it. Or website, okay, let professional run and, take care of, the SEO or cook for me.
[00:20:24] But, at the beginning you have to, but don't give up. Keep going.
[00:20:28] Tim: Yeah.
[00:20:28] Now, since I also tried Etsy, I, I want to ask you about your experience with Etsy.
[00:20:35] Nok: Oh, yeah. Yes, yes, yes.
[00:20:36] Tim: Cause like, when I, when I was first starting out and, interested in design, I, I thought, well, I'd like to try some print-on-demand products. And I tried a bunch of platforms, including Etsy. Didn't have a lot of success with it cuz it's so super competitive on that platform. And then, it's interesting to hear like, as an experienced designer, like what, what's been your, experience with that, Etsy?
[00:20:57] Nok: You know, one month after I try out Canva, I opened on Etsy.
[00:21:02] Tim: OK
[00:21:02] Nok: Knowing nothing.
[00:21:04] Tim: Same here!
[00:21:04] Nok: But
[00:21:08] Tim: Yeah, we both did that.
[00:21:10] Nok: Yeah. And then, the most difficult part is to have to get the first order.
[00:21:15] Tim: Yeah.
[00:21:16] Nok: Take time for everyone. Believe me. At least a few months. Because if you have only one or two products, right, how? There's no choice. They don't know how good you are.
[00:21:27] Tim: Right.
[00:21:28] Nok: I mean on something, and when they compare with the big, big shop, they just, I know, you have to give yourself time.
[00:21:37] Tim: Yes.
[00:21:38] Nok: Send, and design, more products. And when you have a variety of products, mm-hmm, it's like the showroom, and then it will be "welcome." Everyone comes to you, and then you can learn from the process. Okay. I have, sales, alright my banners look really bad, and then just update them. You can do more when you spend some time on something more, just, but first is always difficult. Three months I can say, but for me, almost two months. Yeah.
[00:22:06] Tim: Yeah, yeah. And in, in fairness, I guess I only gave it a try for about three or four months and then thought, you know, it, it gets in it, it's intimidating to see some of the bigger shops and how many, products and how many sales they have, and, and, and plus it costs of course, to sell on the platform. So you just think after a while, like if it's not going anywhere. You know, Okay, maybe I'll do something else. But,
[00:22:29] Nok: No, it's.
[00:22:29] Tim: But yeah, if you wanna stay in that space, I think that's the thing to do is you, you have to be patient and give it time and probably focus on one platform. I think the other mistake was, I was on multiple platforms. Did not get a lot, did not get, sales on Etsy, but I did, some bought my stuff on eBay.
[00:22:51] Nok: Oh yeah, very high competitors, so you have to work more hard and then fight with SEO. Sometimes you have to pay for the sale.
[00:22:58] Tim: Yeah.
[00:22:58] Nok: And then the people will come to your shops.
[00:23:00] Tim: Yeah.
[00:23:01] Nok: Okay. Money can buy something.
[00:23:03] Tim: Yeah.
[00:23:07] Well, thank you, Nok. I really appreciate you, taking some time to spend with me today. And I wanna wish you all the best with, your Etsy shop and all of your other endeavors. You know, I, I think you have, you know, a subscription service coming out and, a coaching service, so it's an exciting time.
[00:23:24] Nok: We launch next week.
[00:23:25] Tim: Yeah, excellent. Well, good luck with it. And, go check out Nok's website and subscription service.
[00:23:32] Nok: Thank you so much.
[00:23:34] Tim: The thing I really loved about talking with Nok is the way her genuine passion for design comes through, and her career as a content creator really shows how far you can get with dedication, talent, and hard work.
[00:23:45] If you follow her account on Instagram, you can pick up a lot of great tips on design. One of the things that I've learned about design from Nok is how important it is to actually just slow down and take that extra time to make sure that you've got the basics right in terms of the unity of design with font, graphics, and colors. And then add in those extra details that really help to take your design from the ordinary to the extraordinary.
[00:24:12] You know, sometimes you hear advice about content creation for social media or print-on-demand marketplaces, and you have the impression that it's all about the volume of production. More and more is better. But it's also important to take your time and balance that out with efforts to improve quality along the way as well.
[00:24:32] Now, the caveat to that that came out of our discussion is that everything can't be perfect right off the start. You have to be okay with making gradual improvements across multiple areas over time.
[00:24:42] The other thing would be to continue considering where you can use templates or outsourcing to improve your designs or save time. And on that note, you may wish to check out Nok's Template Design or Content Creation Services, or maybe even check out her Etsy store as. If you found this helpful, consider subscribing and check out the other episodes of my podcast on the website.
[00:25:04] Link is in the description. We'll see you in the next episode.