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  • Writer's pictureAlis Hâf

Canva: Love it or hate it?

Updated: Oct 31, 2020

Pre 2020 I had a hatred for Canva. I detested it vehemently and without even taking a look at the site I had the preconceived idea that it would immediately put designers (i.e. myself) out of a job the more people used it. 

Before I go into it, if you don't know what Canva is then it's an online graphic design and photo editing platform and tool to help the unskilled user to create custom graphics from scratch. You can also use it to enhance photos and to create other graphic templates you might need for your business.  

I had clients who had in the past regularly used it to create images and templates for their social media platforms and also for print documents and leaflets and they found it easy to use and intuitive. So for someone without design skills and no budget then it looks appealing, with its pre-designed templates and graphics that are easy to edit it sounds great, right? Well maybe it's not all it seems and without having an eye for design or using clear branding guidance you could end up creating and using images that might look good from an initial glance but might not adhere to design principles or be slightly askew and also look great on their own but together with other templates and images look as though a thousand portfolios had been smashed together into one image. So I carried on for a long while recommending to clients to stay far away from Canva and if they did need to use it, then they should at least stick to their branding, colours and typography. 

All this being said I eventually had a change of heart. The change came a few months into 2020 when one of my international clients was interested in using Canva to create Instagram posts. With the time difference, it would have been difficult to create individual designs for social media posts and Canva seemed like a good way to keep everything in one place where we could both edit designs. The big influencer for my change of heart was also that they specifically asked me to design their templates so that they could be consistent with their branding and that they trusted my design skills to create templates they could then follow. After checking out Canva and seeing its capabilities I came around to the idea of giving clients easy to use and edit templates. This not only allows clients to get the best of both my experience and being able to freely create posts or fill out templates themselves but it also gives the control freak in me a bit more of a handle on the branding my clients go on to use. 

Why should you invest in a designer to create your Canva templates? 

  • The end product will be unique. With over 10 million people using Canva in 179 countries, if you choose to use a pre-existing design then you will no doubt come across another Instagram account using the same templates as yourself. If you want to truly create a brand that is individual and stands out against the crowd then investing money in a designer to create templates that are unique to you, and only you, will be an investment in your branding and business. 

  • You will have the guidance of a professional on how best to use the templates and this will also enable you to think about the reasons for using the templates and their purpose e.g. are you using text a lot, or would you rather have photography based templates. Ultimately this will give you a better understanding of your branding and social media strategy overall. 

  • Get easy to edit templates that are branded and designer approved that can be used on multiple platforms. Canva templates can not only be used for Instagram posts but they can also translate into Instagram story templates, story highlight covers to create a cohesive look to your profile, they can also be translated into print templates, video covers or if you need to create multiple easy to use guides and booklets there is the capacity to do this with the help of a designer. 

  • You won't need to worry about losing or deleting any aspect of the template as I'll always keep an original copy of the template I send. This gives you autonomy to use your templates how you like but also the guarantee that if anything goes wrong or you accidentally delete your templates that there's a back up that I can share. 

The platform also has some elements which make it easier for brands to continue using their brand throughout templates. They introduced a Pro Canva which does cost but does allow you to upload your own fonts and to upload your colour palette so that you can easily pull on these when your using templates. So if you do end up using Canva a lot or after you receive guidance on how to use your brand on Canva feel like branching out into creating some of your own then this is a good tool to use to keep your branding consistent.

I still agree (kind of) with my earlier statement that Canva is the kryptonite for freelance designers but I've now worked out a way to use it to my advantage and other designers can too. I still wouldn't recommend using some elements of Canva like the logo maker (please see a graphic designer for this as there is so much more that goes into a logo that you think!) and I still wouldn't recommend using Canva on its own if you have no branding guidance or eye for design as you could end up with a mish-mash of images but with the help of a designer, you can create Canva images which are not unique but will make your brand stand out further.

If you're interested in one of my branding packages or would like to invest in new Canva templates that match your current branding then get in touch.

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