I’m not the best person at design in the world. Sure I can take an okay photo and I know a thing or two about okay fonts, colors and where to place text on a screen, but that’s where my skills really end. Anything beyond simple editing is a huge issue for me and I’m sure that the majority of people reading this are the same.
If you’re a professional designer you may well still find this interesting (and I’d love your more informed feedback) but this isn’t aimed at you. This is for the average person who knows a couple of things which look good but can’t make them. Maybe the small church plant who doesn’t have a designer in their congregation, or the church pastor who needs some great slides for this weeks sermon.
Canva is a web based graphics design storehouse for the non professional designer. It contains a host of templates to help you create social media cover images, quote graphics, ebook covers, posters or a custom sized image of your choice.
The best thing about Canva is it is really works for the non graphically minded. Let’s say you are announcing an event at your church this weekend, you need a poster to put on the church social media feeds. You log on to canva and find the correct size to use for Facebook, click it and then choose a template to adapt.
Now you just enter the right data into the text boxes and you’re ready to download and share it. From idea to finished in 10 minutes.
What’s more, Canva has links with deposit photos, so if you need an image to use as a background you can buy premium stock images from within the webpage for only $1. When you add in the custom design elements such as banners, badges, boxes, uploading images and basic photo editing, you really have a great simple and free tool to edit basic designs.
A final feature that may appeal to the designers out there, you can actually submit design templates and receive royalties every time they are used.
One of the best aspects of Canva is also one of the worst. It’s a web app so if you have a Mac, PC, Linux or Chromebook (yes I know it’s technically Linux) then you just hop on your web browser and you can access canva! The bad news is it doesn’t support the mobile web (yet?) You can get an iPad app but there is no option for Android tablets, Android phones, iPhones, nor any other mobile operating system.
Despite suggesting that Canva is delightfully simple, it is very easy to ruin a good template in a few easy steps. Text boxes will expand as you type into them. So if you pick a template which has perfectly fitting text within a box or other design element, as you type it will go out of shape and expand beyond the box. You then have to adjust the size of the text to fit, or the box to fit the text. This is where some limited design knowledge is needed (unlike a tool like wordswag).
Also, if you are an experienced designer then you may well find Canva to be too limited, lacking the precision or complete set of features that you are used to on a more advance tool.
Canvas is designed for people who know little to nothing about design. Maybe it’s no wonder they have a blog with design tips to go along with the tool then. In general, it does a great job of providing a free at the point of access tool (with obvious freemium features) for creating designs. But be careful, you can make bad designs with this tool.
– Design (4.5)
– Features (3.0)
– Performance (4.0)
– Value for Money (5.0)
Canva is available on the web and as an iPad app (It doesn’t work on the iPhone or Android devices yet) .