Today, I'm taking a look at a design tool that is great for creating posters, flyers, social media posts and much more.
So, grab yourself a pencil and piece of paper - no, I'm joking. Just carry on with whatever you're doing and enjoy this episode about Canva.
Whether you're a social media guru, someone who creates artwork for the local community centre or podcast creator you need some way to create the message.
A tool that I've been using for all my podcast artwork is Canva. It's an online creativity suite and it works brilliantly.
It's like an all in one production house for visual media.
It appears, when you first launch it, that it's purely for social media, but when you dig a little deeper, it offers much more.
For example, once you've created the first image, their resizing tool will automatically create different sizes; with just a few tweaks needed to make it right. Saves so much time.
I've created folders for different social media accounts, keeping like-sized images together. If you have teams, you can share images, and also work on them collaboratively
If you're using this for a business (or even if you're not), then there is a 'brand kit' section, where you can define the colour palette for your designs, and add logos, all for easy access.
You can also assign the fonts you use the most, and they will be automatically applied to new designs
This part of the site is inspired. Canva are really putting their efforts into helping you create the best images possible.
There's a 12 lesson course on branding for your business, alongside the more traditional 'How to' videos to get the best from Canva.
There's a section for interactive training, where you can try the various functions. Finally, there are a handful of design courses.
There is a lot of information and it really helps to gain a better understanding of what Canva can do.
These are on top of the blog, which contains yet more information and ideas. Really, you need to put aside a few hours to read them!
There are a boat-load of fonts to choose from. When you start a design, you'll be presented with a number of preset formats and ideas; but you can just go and create your own. The possibilities are endless.
Image and Elements
Images are important to any visual medium, and again, Canva doesn't disappoint, with a huge catalogue of images that can be used. Of course, you can also use your own photos and images - just upload them when you need them and they'll be held forever (or until you delete them!)
If you don't want an image, then use one of the many backgrounds that Canva provide
Elements are also useful, and there are hundreds of variations, which can be modified by you, as you use them, to add some punch to your design. Creating a single post for your social media could take ages if you're not careful!
Creating and Editing
When you select the initial template to start your creation, you then have a wealth of tools available to craft your design.
Images can have filters applied, either pre-set ones, or you can adjust various settings to make it just so.
You can rotate, flip and resize all the elements on a page.
Talking of pages, you could create a booklet by adding pages to your designs.
For your font, you can change the colour, size and letter spacing; set the alignment, create a bullet-point list and more.
As you add elements; each one is actually a layer, so you can re-position the layers to further enhance your image.
Once you've finished, you have the option to 'resize' your creation, into any number of preset sizes (or your own). This is a Pro function, but it's very worthwhile, to save creating the imagery again and again!!
Exporting your creation
Of course, once you're ready, and you want to 'do something' with your finished product, again you have options.
Firstly, and most obviously, you can download it to your desktop. This can be done as a JPEG or a PNG file type (bear in mind that PNG files are quite large and not always the best way to do it). For most applications, the JPEG will be more than sufficient.
You can also publish your creation direct to the various social media sites, using their scheduling functionality, which makes it easy to post when you need to.
On the Canva Pro version, you can even export as an animation! You know, those little fades, wipes and slides for text and images.
Canva also offers a printing service, although I believe this is only available in the United States. At least, from a cost perspective, it's cheaper to use a local printing service. But, it's a nice touch, and keeps everything in one place.
For bloggers, you can even embed the image directly, which means that any changes you make in Canva will be automatically pushed to your blog. No more need to update, download and re-upload.
If you work in a team, you can create your design as a template for other team members to use - or for you to use again, to save recreation.
There is also a mobile app; and it is OK for creating a quick image, or to start an image off; but it is rather clunky to use as a full-time editor. Maybe it's better on a tablet size; but certainly, on a mobile phone, it's not the best way - and you don't have access to folders; so ALL of your creations are displayed in an order of newest at the top.
It's not a biggie - most people would create on a laptop, with a large screen.
So, what does all this cost. Well, in the main - absolutely nothing. Yes, that's right. Canva is completely free to use, and there isn't a necessity to pay.
However, if you want to be able to resize images, for the different social media sites, or you want to resize a flyer, to make a poster; then this is available with Canva Pro.
This costs approximately £10 per month, and offers quite a bit extra (like some of the images and elements which are chargeable on the free version)
It's a no-brainer really.
I've been using Canva for about a year, and started using it really hard when I started my podcast.
All the imagery for my podcast episodes were created in Canva. I also use it for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts too.
Initially, I used the free version, but I now take advantage of the Pro functionality.
Canva do offer a 30-day free version, which will allow you to try all the functionality without spending anything. Although, I believe, once you've tried it, you'll see the value it offers.
If you haven't tried Canva, then give it a go. It's not just for social media and if you're involved in a local club or community centre, then this is a fantastic way to create almost any media you want - whether a poster, a bookmark, a flyer or more.
Equipment I use to make my podcasts:
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