Online Graphic Design with Canva

Online Graphic Design with Canva
Founded in 2012 by Melanie Perkins, Cliff Obrecht and Cam Adams, Canva has made graphic design easier for everyone. Canva's growing popularity and the increasing number of Canva alternatives entering the market reminds me of when desktop publishing software first entered the marketplace in the mid 1980s.

Canva's online services have many features in common with those older software. The concept of drag and drop WYSIWIG became popular with the arrival of desktop publishing software almost 4 decades ago and still is the foundation of Canva's online system. Each DTP software competed with one another by including an ever increasing library of predesigned templates. Canva has taken this to a new level with over 60,000 free templates and 3 million images and other design elements. Because these elements are stored on the web and do not need to be packaged with the software, Canva can continue to increase their library of design elements.

However, what is really interesting are the changes and improvements in todays online graphic design tools. Most important is the fact that Canva is online, making it fast and easy to create and publish your documents online. This is especially true with the increasing importance of online social media and social marketing. Canva makes it easy to create and publish to Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and more. With the Canva for Work plan, you can automatically resize one design for all the different graphic dimensions required by the social media platforms (see screenshot). You can even use the Share feature to post your graphics to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter directly from Canva.

Another improvement is that Canva is not limited to a desktop app. You can also create your graphics using Canva for the iPad, iPhone, Android Mobile and Android Tablet. We all know the importance of our mobile phones in our lives. We not only take pictures with our phones but with Canva we can also edit and enhance those photos with todays most popular digital elements, such as filters, stickers, stamps, and a library of fonts for adding text. This makes it easy to keep your graphics current with changing design trends. Finally, your graphic designs are not limited to print or static digital graphics, with the addition of animation to your Canva for Work projects.

In the past, the designer needed a different software for each task. For example, DTP software was needed to produce print projects, from wedding invitations to marketing materials. But, you also needed other software, such as PowerPoint for creating presentations or expensive equipment and software for creating videos. Canva Print is Canva's print on demand service. You can order prints of any of your designs, from business cards to greeting cards. You can use Canva's free, online presentation software to create PowerPoint type presentations. With Canva Animator, you can also create simple animations for those popular animated gifs.

Canva has many resources to help the novice to create professional quality designs. Here are just a handful.

  • Need help choosing the best fonts for your project? Check out Canva's online font chooser.

  • Looking for a color scheme, color combinations or information about color psychology? Canva has online color generator tools and helpful articles about color.

  • Need help deciding on the size and resolution for your project. Use Canva's Design Size Guide.

  • Canva Design Tutorials and Courses

    Canva also has a library of articles and online interactive tutorials about graphic design, which are grouped into several learning paths depending on your needs and interest. You can start with the Getting Started tutorials and then move on to more detailed articles about Fonts, Color, Backgrounds, Shapes and Icons, Images and Layout. Finally. your can put those skills into action with tutorials about Branding, Skills in Action and Advanced Tips.

Screenshots used by permission of Canva

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This content was written by Diane Cipollo. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Diane Cipollo for details.