When I started out as an entrepreneur, graphics for my business wasn’t something I focused on. As time went on though and the scope of working online evolved, professional graphics became an important part of not just my marketing efforts, but the finished product as well. However, when your budget is limited, the only person likely to create your graphics is you and that probably feels like an unpleasant and scary task; right up there with a root canal.
Three years ago, the web-based graphic design application Canva launched. Since then, it’s become one of the most popular and user-friendly graphic design tools for novice graphic artists and professionals alike. You can create everything from social media graphics, infographics, and marketing materials, to cards, invitations, and even resumes. In my own business, I’ve used it to create pinnable blog graphics, social media posts, coupons and sales images for my clients’ businesses, and newsletter graphics. It’s a must-have marketing resource for savvy entrepreneurs.
Simplifying the graphic design process
Canva starts at the beginning by giving you the most popular graphic and document design templates. The pre-sized templates take the guesswork out of knowing how to properly size your project. Need a new Facebook page header? No problem; Canva has the right size. Looking to design a cover for your ebook? Canva’s got it. Canva has a variety of project templates in popular sizes, perfect for both print and internet needs.
User-friendly and intuitive
Once you’ve chosen a project template, Canva keeps you moving by giving you a selection of premade backgrounds and layouts for your project. Nearly every kind of project you can imagine has been designed by their own team of graphic designers. I love that even though I can choose a premade template, I’m not married to the colors or layout. I often use the premade designs as a starting point and put my own spin on the colors, text, layout, and other elements like frames or borders.
Vast selection of elements
Canva’s variety of elements includes frames, shapes, lines, illustrations, icons, grids, and even charts. When I create a new project I scroll through the many element options and I’m always surprised by one I’ve not noticed previously. If I have an idea in mind but I’m simply not finding one that suits me, a quick keyword search brings me dozens of results.
Their free photo selections are top notch quality but if you don’t see something that works for you, simply upload your own images and begin building from there. This is a great option to have if you’re like me and often create social media posts for other companies and need to use their logos or branding. Most of the elements are free (including layouts and backgrounds) but Canva does offer a selection of elements starting at the extremely affordable “premium” price of a dollar per element.
Graphic design on the go
Earlier this year Canva debuted a mobile app for the iPad. Unfortunately, they don’t have an Android version just yet but I’m hopeful that with as fast as they’ve grown and as popular as they are, an Android option isn’t far behind.
As someone who really likes to create and learn, Canva’s own design school helps me take my projects to the next level with tutorials and their own design school blog.
Canva has been a lifesaver in my business. I run on a miniscule budget so the ability to create my own graphics in house for free or nearly free has saved me not only money but time as well because I can create them when I need them.
I may have started using Canva because I like to test out new tools and applications for my business, but Canva quickly became a necessary piece of equipment in my marketing toolbox.