As a community manager I wear many hats, but if there’s one thing I’m not, it’s a graphic designer.
But that hasn’t stopped me from designing images to accompany our @Sysomos tweets for the past six(ish) months.
Today I’m going to let you in on my little secret of how I’ve been doing that: Canva.
What I love most about Canva is the simplicity in its design and use. Unlike professional graphic design tools like Photoshop, which are amazing if you really want to be hardcore about your designs, Canva doesn’t require the user to know a ton about design or all the different little design tools that can be found in those larger programs. Instead, Canva makes graphic design really simple by giving users a simple interface, great templates to work from and a limited amount of tools to manipulate designs with.
Right when you start using Canva, you’re shown a bunch of templates for sizes of images that you can start working from. No longer do you have to remember the dimensions that your image should be for a Twitter image, or a Facebook header, or an online ad, or even a presentation. They’re all there waiting for you and all you need to do is click on one to start. Below is just some of the options that you’ll be given:
Once you’ve selected the kind of image you’re trying to create, you’re presented with a blank canvas to start with. If you’re not sure where to start though, don’t worry, you’re not alone.
That’s why Canva also presents you with layouts that you can bring up and edit to fit your own needs. These layouts will differ depending on the template you selected to start and have been professionally designed to already look great. All you need to do is swap in your own text or images and you’re good to go. See an example of some of these in left hand column in the image below.
Do Your Own Thing
If you don’t like any of the layouts that Canva has, that’s ok, because you’re also able to create your own images from scratch. You can add your own images and text as you please to create the image that you had in your mind. Canva will give you the ability to upload your own images or you can select from a giant catalogue that they have pre-loaded into the platform.
Some of these images are free, but others will cost you $1 to licence… which is a small fee when you compare it to other image licensing services. Add shapes, text, backgrounds and more. Canva has such a wide range of options for what you can do to your images and text, while still making it feel super simple and not overwhelming, that you can create almost any image you had in your head in a matter of minutes.
With plenty of options for images, borders, icons, text and more, the only limit to creating great images is your own imagination.
Canva For Work
Canva quickly learned that people were using their program now for doing a lot of their graphic design at work. Listening to user feedback, this summer Canva launched Canva For Work. This new feature of Canva comes with a small price tag, but allows you and your company to do the kind of graphics work that help to keep you consistent for a proper business.
Some of the great features in Canva For Work include:
- The ability to work in teams on designs
- Save custom made brand templates that you can use over and over again to keep a consistent look to your brand images
- Save your brand giudelines; things like logos, colors, fonts, etc, so that your images are always on brand
- And a magic resizing option – which allows you to quickly and easily change the size/dimensions of any image you’ve created so it can be used across multiple social networks or other places without having to worry about making all the little changes yourself
All and all, Canva has made my life easier because any time I now need a custom image I don’t have to run to a designer, who is likely busy with work of their own. I can do it all myself and feel confident that I did a pretty good job (but not great, since I’m not really a designer).
Images have become an important part of social media today and you should be making the most of them. If you’re not already, I highly recommend that you go and play around with Canva for yourself and start creating amazing images to enhance your brand’s social presence.