Canva: A Simple Design Tool
In this digital age, visuals are incredibly important. As you scroll on your social media platforms or click through emails, you often might come across images that are poorly designed or have poor resolution. In those instances, I’ll bet you keep scrolling. At least I do.
A bad image makes me think that you didn’t try or give much thought to your post, email, or flyer. As the consumer, it leads me to think you don’t care enough about my opinion to represent yourself well.
On the flip side, as someone who has to curate and design content often, I know how time consuming it can be to find quality images and put together a good graphic.
Thankfully, there are solutions available for those who need quality designs on the fly and on a budget. One such solution is called Canva.
1. It is free.
Once you go to canva.com, you can click the “Get Started!” button. You can create a free account, and this gives you access to thousands of images and templates to use in your designs. Most of these images, logos, graphics, and templates are free to use. Occasionally you will come across images that cost $1 to use or to remove the Canva watermark. However, in the year I’ve used this tool, I’ve never had to pay for an image.
2. It has a variety of templates.
When you login to your account, you’ll see that it’s easy to click on the type of project you want to create. There are options for flyers, postcards, resumes, PowerPoint slides, etc. It also offers pre-sized templates for social media images. This has been incredibly convenient for me as a social media coordinator. Every social media platform has a different requirement for image sizes, and Canva creators know this fact. It offers Facebook cover, event cover, and post image templates. Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram area also offered.
3. It is simple.
After selecting a size or project, you’ll see a blank canvas. In the left-hand sidebar, you’ll notice templates and designs. When you click one, it automatically loads into your canvas. From there, you can customize the image by changing the text size/color, colors of the background, or even add your own logo or graphics.
4. It’s fast.
When I’ve needed an image in a pinch, it’s taken me as little as 10 minutes to create and download the image. Once you’re satisfied with your image or project, you can click “Download” in the top right-hand corner. You can choose the file type as well. Then, it downloads to your computer and is ready for use.
There is also a mobile app that allows you to do the same thing you can on a laptop/desktop. It’s a little more difficult to use, but worth it for a quick image on the go.
5. You can upload your own images.
I use this feature frequently when we have speaker images, staff images, or logos to use in our designs. With a simple click, the image is uploaded and then you can use it on your canvas.
6. You can freestyle.
Another neat aspect of Canva is that you can choose your own dimensions for your image. At the mission board, we use a specific size for a staff photos that we put on our website. With Canva, I can easily select the custom dimensions and then upload the staff image into Canva. Just a simple click or drag and drop, and my image is sized correctly.
If you want to try your hand at designing your own image, you can choose from backgrounds, images, and graphics outside of the templates. There are also templates for text you can use, or you can choose your own text and customize from there.
7. It keeps all your creations.
Canva stores every project you’ve ever started. By accessing your designs, you can go back to old projects, edit, and download as a new image. With a free account, you can create two folders to help organize your projects. With Canva for Work (see below), you have unlimited folders to help organize your creations.
8. You can work as a team.
If you would like to work as a team, Canva offers Canva for Work. It costs $13/month and allows you to add team members to your Canva account. Each team member can create, share, and give input on designs – all within Canva. There is a discount for nonprofits.
The best part of using Canva for Work is the ability to save color schemes or logos for your brand or organization. You can save multiple color schemes as well. For example, I keep our corporate colors/logos as well as #reachingnextgen colors/logos on hand since we use them often.
9. Resize with just a click.
Another handy tool available in Canva for Work is the resize tool. You can create an image, and then Canva will automatically generate that image into sizes you select. Say I create an image for Twitter, then I also want a Facebook and Instagram size. I ask it to resize for these platforms, and it then allows me to edit as needed. I can download when I’m ready – then I’ve got two new images with minimal work.
Canva has been an extremely beneficial tool for the mission board. I hope it serves you well. Do you have any tools like Canva that you use? Let me know in the comments; I’d like to check them out!