What is Canva?
Well, for those not in the know Canva is a free online drag-and-drop graphics design website. Canva allows you to make great images without needing to be an expert in graphic design.
I have used it several times now for simple things like curating lovely Instagram images to more complicated designs for our new marketing material.
If I sound enthusiastic, it’s because I am. I have been using computers since we got our first family Mac during my teens, and would consider myself to have a certain level of skill in various programmes. However, I am definitely no expert. Using Canva I always come up with lovely finished items that never fail to impress.
If I sound like I’m gushing, well, I am and I’m not sorry! 😁 I LOVE using Canva!
Here’s an example of an Instagram post I created using Canva.
Canva features some impressive options, seemingly able to cover all aspects of your life. I’ve listed some of them below.
Features: Social Media posts
Canva comes with lots (and lots!) of pre-formatted options to choose from. If you’re looking for a pre-formatted post for Facebook, Twitter or Instagram it’s there ready to go with lots of templates for both posts and stories.
Looking for a new banner for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Tumblr, and many more? Again, there is an impressive array of pre-formatted options available with many more templates for each option. The least you’ll need to do is change the text and you’re ready to go, although once you start playing you might not want to stop.
Features: Professional & Documents
From CV’s, reports and invoices to cover your business needs, to recipe cards, planners and scrapbooks the options available here will probably expand your desire to start using them rather than thinking you need them in the first place. Some serious thought, time and effort have been put in by the Canva team and I’m very glad they did.
Features: Custom sizing (Pop-up Banner)
This is a pretty cool feature. Along with the many pre-formatted options, you can also create your own design from scratch, including the sizing. I’ve used this option to create custom pop-up banners, large canvas display banners, and even marketing media such as promotional postcards and our soon-to-be-printed brochure (very excited for this one!)
Here’s a picture of new promotional postcards. the team is really happy with how they came out.
I also created this cool pop-up banner which we’re also really happy with. Thank you Canva!
Features: Downloading/Sharing Options
The download options for Canva are pretty comprehensive. You can download your images as a .png, .jpg & 2 differing quality .pdfs. There are also options for sharing straight to social media or using Canva’s own paid print options. I haven’t used this last option so I can’t really comment (although it does appear that they ship internationally) but the prices look a little high so I’m happy with the high-quality downloads and sourcing my own printing options.
If you have used any premium elements in your design and you don’t already have a paid membership plan then they will need to be at this point. It seems easy enough to do though.
In images, template, element and background options there are certain elements that are only available paid version of the app. There can be bought individually though in the free version so if you love something enough to pay for it then go for it.
You can also only resize mid-edit with the paid membership. I hadn’t considered this vital but on a couple of occasions, I have had to restart a project because the dimensions weren’t correct. This was a bit of a pain, to be honest, so maybe the paid version is worth a thought.
There is a free trial period for 30 days though (and they handily email you a notification when the time is up!) so it’s worth exploring the paid options for a short time at least.
One aspect I found surprising in the membership is that you actually pay per team member. If you are collaborating with anyone then they are added to your membership cost so be aware of this when signing up.
One more thing you can do in the paid membership is to create folders for your projects. All of your projects are lumped together in one screen. Unless you work on lots of different projects, using lots of images in each project, it’s not totally necessary.
Mobile Versus Desktop
I must admit that I do prefer using Canva on a desktop rather than the mobile. While the mobile version is great and all, I find the level of manipulation available on the larger desktop screen to be a better fit for me than the restrictive screen size on mobile. I always feel like using a stylus rather than fingertips to manipulate images and text. Fingertips feel a little clumsy to me for the finish I’m looking for. I have recommended it to a friend though and they love using the app version for quick and easy projects. Each to their own I guess.
Any last thoughts?
Is Canva a perfect programme? No. It does have limitations, doesn’t incorporate tables for example. It’s also not easy to select small groups of elements if there are large background elements in the way, and if you’re not careful with your placement it may not render the download exactly as the image looks online.
Some people can be a bit snobby about it, as it is designed for novices to use. But hey! If it does the job and you love what you come up with, as I do then why not?!
Are you a Canva user? What do you like about it? Or maybe you use a different programme. Why not comment on what you love about it!