One of the main things that attracted me to Notion was that it is a visual tool. I can add beautiful and inspiring images and awesome emojis that make me want to use Notion more. Looking at a pretty picture of a European coffee shop while also staring at a task list makes it more enjoyable for me.
As it turns out, you can go a step further and upload custom images and icons to your Notion pages. I just grab a great picture from Unsplash, throw it into Canva and add some text, and upload it to Notion.
I have learned a ton over the past few months about Notion. The team at Blanc Media uses it every day, and Marie Poulin’s YouTube videos and course, Notion Mastery, have opened my eyes to the endless possibilities of Notion.
Let’s jump in.
How to create custom images for your Notion pages
First off, start by going to Unsplash (or any other stock image website, use your own image).
Search around and find an image you like. I chose a photo of a library because I was creating this image for my Library database.
Once you find the image you are looking for, download it.
Head to Canva. You can also use Photoshop, Pixelmator, or any other photo editor. I have the Pro version of Canva, but you can do this with the free version just as easily.
Click Create a Design in the top right corner, and then click Edit Photo. Navigate to the photo you just downloaded and click Upload, then Edit Photo.
Once you’ve made it to the design workspace, click Text from the left panel and choose Add a heading. Then, type whatever you want in the text field.
To change the font of the text, click the text box and then the font box at the top left, and then search for the font you’re looking for and select it. I chose the font London.
To change the color of the font, click the text box, and then choose color from the strip on the top menu bar. If you don’t see the color you are looking for, you can search for it in the search bar.
I added some effects to my text.
To add effects, click the text box, and then at the top panel click Effects. I chose the Background and made some adjustments to make it look cool on the photo, but you can do whatever looks best for your photo!
Adjust your text to wherever you want it on your photo by clicking and dragging. Note: depending on the size of your image, the whole image might not be displayed in Notion, so make sure your text is in the part of the image that you want displayed.
Once you are done editing the image, click Download in the top right corner.
Once the image has downloaded, head over to Notion and navigate to the page or database where you want to upload your cover image. I am adding this cover image to my Library database (you can read more about this database and my PKM setup here)
Hover over the bottom right section of the existing cover image until the Change cover and Reposition buttons appear.
Click Change cover, and then click Upload → Choose an image.
Navigate to your new cover image and click Open.
Once the image has fully uploaded, hover over the bottom right section of the existing cover image until the Change cover and Reposition buttons appear.
Drag your image to reposition it if needed, and voila! You have a new, custom cover image.
How to Create Custom Icons/Emojis for Your Notion Pages
Quick note: I have the Pro version of Canva, which allows you to download images as a .png with a transparent background. This means that only the icon will show up once you upload it (no white or colored background). You can technically create the icon with the free version, but you cannot download an image with a transparent background.
Go to Canva.com, and look up Logo in the search bar.
Choose the Create a blank logo option. This is a great place to start because the dimensions are already set as a square.
Click on the Elements tab on the left sidebar. In the search bar, search for the image/element you are looking for. I searched for a book because I was creating an icon for my Library database.
Search around until you find what you are looking for and drag it onto the main workspace in the middle of the page.
Drag the corners of the image until it takes up the entire square by clicking and dragging on the white circle button on the edges of the image.
Click Position in the top right corner and click Center and Middle. This will automatically center the image.
If you want, you can change the colors of the image by clicking the square-colored boxes on the top menu bar. Search for the color you’re looking for and apply it to your image.
Make any additional changes you want, and then click the Download button on the top right.
Under file type, choose PNG (if you do not have the Pro version choose JPEG).
Click transparent background (if you don’t have the Pro version this will not be an option, so choose a background color that is the same color of your cover image).
Once it has downloaded, head over to Notion and navigate to the page or database where you want to upload your new icon.
Hover over the header and click the current icon next to the page title.
Click Upload an image.
Click Choose an image.
Navigate to your icon image that you created earlier, click it, then click Open. Your new icon is uploaded!
I have been on a journey of learning about and using Notion. I have started tracking my habits inside of Notion and have created my own Personal Knowledge Management system with Notion. But one of my favorite parts of Notion is how visual it is. Every time I go into my workspace, I get inspired and jumping into tasks feels less daunting.
We have more helpful tips right here.