One of the hurdles we all have to jump in the world of online marketing is creating graphics. Unless you are already a graphic designer, (and let’s be honest, if you are – you’re probably not needing my graphics advice! Hah.) chances are you are looking for some quick and easy tools to get your graphics done.
One tool that is quickly becoming my favorite is Canva. It’s been one of the best free graphics and editing tools online for a while, but I just discovered some new features that are making it my go-to tool for editing photos or creating graphics.
What you can do with Canva:
1. Choose from graphically designed templates.
This takes a lot of the guesswork out of whether your graphics look good. You can simply choose one of their great-looking templates, and edit it as you choose. You can add a different photo, edit the text, delete anything, move anything around, etc. Using a template often gives you a good starting point. It’s much less intimidating than a blank white space!
2. Create graphics perfectly sized for your social media.
You don’t have to come into the process knowing anything about correct sizing for photos or graphics. You can simple choose whether you’re making a graphic for Pinterest, Facebook, a Facebook cover photo, Twitter, or many more options. It gives you a canvas that is the perfect size. Or you can simply choose “Social Media,” which will look good on any platform.
3. You can upload any of your own photos or graphic elements.
Any photos that you’ve taken or stock photos that you’ve downloaded can be uploaded right into Canva. You can also upload borders, fonts, or any graphical elements that you have.
4. Search for photos and elements within Canva.
Don’t have your own perfect photo to use? Canva has a large database of photos that you can search through and use.
5. Easy permission to use any paid elements.
Many of the templates, photos and elements are free to use. However, there are many that are also available for purchase. If you do choose to use a photo or template that you have to buy, the cost is $1. You are then able to use the photo, etc. for anything you’d like. Commercial purposes, ads, edit the photo – really anything you can think of. The permissions and copyright are covered through Canva, which can be really convenient.
Now, for an even better experience, you can try Canva For Work.
Canva For Work has been my recent discovery that has made me fall in love with the program. It is the paid version of Canva that gives you lots of extra features. It is $9.95 per month if you pay annually or $12.95 per month if you pay monthly.
What you can do with Canva For Work:
1. Magically resize your graphics for any platform.
Game changer, right here! You can create a graphic in any size, or for any social media platform, and then when you are done you can use the “Magic Resize” feature. You can select anything – Instagram, Pinterest, Business Cards, Flyers, Blog Post, etc. – and it will magically resize the graphic into an image that will work perfectly for all of the uses that you selected.
This feature alone saves me HOURS in the graphic design process. I love it. This is worth the cost of the program alone.
2. Set up your brand’s “look.”
If you look at a major brand’s Instagram feed, you will see that it all coordinates. This is because they have developed a style for their brand – colors, fonts and graphical looks that they use. Sticking to some parameters allows people recognize their brand right away.
Now, this is something that you may develop as your business grows. There is a whole dashboard within Canva for Work where you can set up the colors that your brand uses, your preferred fonts, looks, and templates.
You may create your own branded look in the dashboard. Or this is an area where you may spend some money and have a graphic designer do some branding work for you. Chances are, it will coordinate with your website, your social media pages, everything.
Once this area of Canva for Work is set up, these options show up as preferred design options as you are editing your photos and graphics.
This can be extremely useful if you are working with a team of people within your business. Which brings me to my next point….
3. You can collaborate with others on your team easily.
Even with the free version of Canva, you can share your design with other people who have a Canva account. But with Canva for Work, your team can all be working within the same program.
For example, your graphic designer could put in a bunch of templates that work for your brand. You could then log in and use one to make a graphic. One of your other team members can log in and edit that graphic for something else.
No emailing files around. No dropbox sharing. No airdropping from computer to computer. It’s all right there, in a really slick format for teams working together.
Overall, Canva has become the quickest way for me (a NON-DESIGNER) to create great looking graphics. Give it a try and and see what you think!