Sep 6th 2017

Weekly Tech Review – Week 8 Productivity – Canva (design tool)


Overview:

This week we are going to try something different, which can help us create amazing graphic designs without having to be a professional graphic designer. Canva is a free graphic design tool used by professionals, as well as by people who have absolutely no prior design skills. It is a tool which allows users to create custom visual content for Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram posts.

What you need:

  • An internet connection
  • A computer/laptop
  • The Canva website

Instructions:

Let’s start with a hypothetical scenario: you are hosting a museum late celebrating the X museum’s birthday and you want to create a promotional poster to be published on social media for your followers.

  • Open Canva and click on Create a design on the top left. For the purposes of our scenario, we chose the Poster template.
  • First, we’ll pick either a layout or a background photo. Click on LAYOUTS from the list on the left and scroll down to look for one that is suitable for your poster’s purposes. Don’t worry about the text, as it can be altered later on! Alternatively, you can click on the white search box and enter keywords to find a relevant photo to use, but choosing a layout will save you much more time. For our hypothetical scenario’s purposes, we chose a layout that alludes to a celebration of some sort.
  • Now that we’ve got a striking image to draw attention, we need to give our audience some details about the event. Since we’re already working with a template, we can just edit the placeholder text and add in the right details.
  • With Canva you can also upload and add your own images which you can, then, edit, crop, and filter. Simply click on UPLOADS on the left, and then on Upload your own images. After you’ve uploaded an image from your own server, you can drag it from the left-hand side of the page straight to your poster. The editing options are directly above your design.
  • On the left-hand side, you can also see the options ELEMENTS, TEXT and BACKGROUND. You may use these if you’re creating your own design by scratch, but it is an option which is significantly more time-consuming than going for a layout which you can then edit and adjust to your own needs.
  • Voila – our poster is ready! All we have to do now is click Download on the top right corner. Users can choose the format in which they want to download their design. Canva will give you the option to download a watermark-free version of the design, but it will cost you, so we’ll just download the watermark version.

Pros:

  • It’s free!
  • Time-efficiency! It literally took us 5 minutes to do the whole process.
  • It’s extremely simple to use – the website design of this design tool (inception) is so good that everything is straightforward.
  • It offers a comprehensive image library and a collection of templates suitable for different industries.
  • Designs (posters) are printable.
  • You can directly share your design on social media (top right), further cutting down the time needed to create + actually share your design.

Cons:

  • There are additional tools that Canva can offer, but users have to pay to access them.
  • A number of images are not free.

Who should use this within a museum?

Anyone who works with marketing and social media, and event organisers who want to promote events and happenings.

General feedback:

We simply love Canva! It is a rare example of how a single platform can provide users of any level of graphic design with so many awesome possibilities. What is more, we love the fact that it’s free! Remember: presentation is everything. Visual content is 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content! Canva is the best free tool on the market to help you easily create visual content for your museum/charity. If you need any further assistance with how to use Canva, please email me on yiota@cornwallmuseumspartnership.org.uk.

Score:

  • Price – 5/5 
  • Ease of use – 5/5
  • Efficiency – 5/5
  • Effectiveness – 5/5

Overall score: 20/20

Jenny Lee and Yiota Liopetriti