Canva — Design for the Internet Age
One of the banes of my existence is my complete lack of ability with design. Sure, I can appreciate good design just as well as anyone else, but actually coming up with something for myself is an exercise in futility. I can think of no better example to illustrate this than my fashion sense — Send me in to a clothing shop by myself, and I’ll walk out with two things depending on the occasion – checked shirts and jeans for non-casual wear, and a black T-shirt and jeans for casual wear. That’s literally it. I’d be completely lost if it wasn’t for my wife.
If that sounds even remotely like you, and you need to do a bit of hassle-free design work, boy do I have some great news for you! Canva is exactly what you’re looking for — a supremely powerful, yet amazingly easy to use design app that will leave you speechless. Imagine having the capacity to toss out professional-looking cover pages for your website, or stunning photos for Instagram, without needing to know the difference between a ‘Clone’ and ‘Clone Stamp’ tool. Sounds too good to be true? I thought so, too… Till I started playing with Canva on my iPad.
At its core, Canva is a really smartly designed and powerful graphic editor. Think of it as a layer on top of Photoshop, that obfuscates the plethora of tools the app offers, and only displays the tools you’d ordinarily need for some design work. This could be just a single tool, or a combination of many. Suffice to say, Canva could very possibly be all that you need to get your basic design work done, and might even come in handy for some more complicated tasks. A great tutorial is on hand to get you underway, when you first fire up the app.
Canva lets you choose between thirteen different design presets before you get going. These range from Business Card to Instagram Posts – it covers almost any situation where good design skills would be required. Once you’ve selected the design, you get to choose from a variety of layout templates. Don’t like the featured image of the design? You can search from the millions of images available in Canva’s catalogue to find what you’d like. Of course, you’re more likely to find an image of a common object, but Canva might just surprise you. Imagine my delight when I found images ranging from ‘Corgi’ and ‘Husky’, to ‘Butter Chicken’ and ‘Halwa’ (I may have a slightly limited imagination). When you’d like to change any image, simply drag it out to the canvas, and you’ll see a quick preview of how the image would look on your piece of art. Tools to edit backgrounds and fonts are also extensive, and very tastefully implemented. You can also use your Camera Roll photos, as well as your Facebook photos. Once you’ve chosen your image, you can even apply some really stunning filters to them. Just imagine – you can use the Canva app on your iPad to design a perfect image for Instagram, filters and all, and then have it sync over to your iPhone, from where you can post it. Think of it this way – your primary edit work will be done using the iPad or Web app, where the increased screen real estate allows for much more leeway; and minor or on-the-go edits will be done on your iPhone.
As someone who greatly appreciates the value of good design, and yet has no aptitude for it, Canva is a godsend. I’ve been pumping out some business card masterpieces, and I couldn’t be more delighted with the results. My guess is, once you get that hang of it, you’d be too. Canva has the potential to surprise you, by revealing a creative side you always knew you had, but couldn’t draw out.
Canva is a free service for individuals, with a ‘Team’ tier at $12.45/month, and an ‘Enterprise’ tier on the way. Try out their web, iPad and/or iPhone apps, and see just what you can do when a tool comes along that unlocks the potential of your imagination. Canva has fundamentally changed my outlook on design, and from what I’ve seen after following the company’s development over the course of a couple of years, the best is yet to come.
Meanwhile, please excuse me. I’ve managed to replace my photo with one similar to this one on ‘Business Card No. 41’. I think the idea is solid, but some potential clients might be cat people.