Canva: An Awesome Visual Aid Tool for Dummies

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What is Canva?

Finally! A tool for those of us that want good graphics, but aren’t graphic designers. One of their slogans is “Canva is all about making design amazingly simple for anyone”. Canva is an easy way to create graphics for your marketing, blogging, and personal needs. Users can pick from a large selection of dimensions, backgrounds, fonts, graphs, photos, banners, and more to create a visual aid that will suit your needs.

 

Brief History

Canva launched it’s Beta version on August 26, 2013. Just over a year later, Canva reached a million users on October 30, 2014. By now, with just under 4 years since launching, Canva boasts 10 million users and over 100 million designs created. (source)

 

Pricing

The basic version of Canva is free. In fact, it’s listed as “free forever”. However, some design elements such as backgrounds, fonts, and stock photos are available for purchase (typically about $1 each) in case their large selection of free options doesn’t quite float your boat. Also, there is an option to upgrade to Canva For Work, and they will soon be launching Canva Enterprise. Depending on the size of your marketing teams and how many people will be contributing to your designs, the different plans are something to consider. They also allow you to make a lump sum payment and pay either yearly or monthly.

Here is a breakdown of the plan comparisons:

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Features

Canva has many great features included in their service. Some key elements of Canva include (but certainly not limited to):

  • Hundreds of Design templates. Design templates and dimensions are pre-loaded into the database. Just like that, worrying about how to figure out what the dimensions of a social media banner should be is a thing of the past, because they’ve already figured that out for you. Everything from Facebook cover photos, to wine labels, to Tumblr posts are just a click away. Of course, there is always the custom dimensions option if you like to do things the hard way.

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  • Photo Editing. Whether you’re using one of their photos (they have over 1 million to chose from) or your own uploaded photo, Canva makes it easy to edit right there on the design. Resize, rotate, crop, align, filter, add text, and more with their photo-editing tool.

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  • Canva Learn.  This is their own “design school” and blog that features design tutorials, social media tips, how-to’s, lifestyle articles, and more.

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  • Easily shareable. Your designs are saved to your account, but can also be downloaded to your computer, e-mailed, linked, shared to Facebook and Twitter, and embedded.

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Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths:

  • Easy to use
  • Easy to share and collaborate
  • Over 1,000,000 images to choose from
  • Graphs! (For those of us who don’t have the patience to figure out Excel graphs)
  • Canva Learn (their blog including design tutorials, social media tips, etc.) is free

Weaknesses:

  • Have to pay for “upgraded” content (like stock photos)
  • Photo editing is still pretty basic, leaves a lot to be desired.

 

Check out this example business card & video I made for a quick run-through of how to use Canva:

 

Other Recommended Readings:

Visuals in Social Media

 

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