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What is Canva and how to use it for your promotion

Vojtěch Bruk
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Canva is a simple graphical editor. It's very simple to understand and operate plus it can do a number of things. In this article, we'll take a closer look at it. Why Canva and not Photoshop? What Elementor tries to be in the world of websites, Canva tries to be in the world of graphic…

Canva is a simple graphical editor. It’s very simple to understand and operate plus it can do a number of things. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at it.

Why Canva and not Photoshop?

What Elementor tries to be in the world of websites, Canva tries to be in the world of graphic editors.

A simple tool that you can quickly master and saves you dozens of hours. Plus, if you know what you want to do, you can do it more or less by yourself – without the need for professional help.

I’d say Canva has 10% of the functionality of Photoshop, with which you can do 90% of the work (if you’re a regular user, not a graphic designer, of course).

What Canva can do

I’m not going to go into extensive detail about the functionality. Feel free to explore these on the official Canva website, where you can also try out many of them with a free account.If you’d like a more structured introduction, you can check out the Canva for Beginners course on the Kurzeo platform.

But I will describe the purposes for which I use Canva:

  • Resize (scale) photos for different purposes
  • Remove background from photos
  • Create thumbnail images (web, YouTube, whatever…)
  • Creating infographics
  • Create images for social media posts
  • Resize (scale) posts for different social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok…)
  • Creating graphic elements for the website – for example, a team member’s photo in a colored round frame for the “About us*…
  • Mockup styling (a mockup is a kind of 3D model – for me typically a preview of the laptop on which the web page I’ve created is open) in Canva then I give that preview a background
  • When needed: invitation, funny collage, meme…

If I didn’t have Canva, I could do most of this stuff in Gimp (the freeware equivalent of Photoshop), or I could do it some other way.

There are a lot of things I just wouldn’t do, though. It’s that simple. The barrier for me would already be high enough that it would be “worth it” to not do it at all, rather than make it tedious and expensive.

And that’s where Canva is great.

Why do (some) graphic designers hate it?

If you’ve ever worked with a graphic designer and mentioned Canva to them, they may have walked out of the room, rolled their eyes, or just laughed sarcastically.

Just as some photographers crawl out of the skin of Instagram photo profiles where people take pictures on their cell phones and get it wrong, some graphic designers crawl out of the skin of “Canva graphic designers.” However, they often spill the baby with the bathwater.

Many graphic designers aren’t exactly doubly enthusiastic, as Canva democratizes access to what they themselves had to learn the hard way in Photoshop. Ok.

On the other hand, good graphic designers don’t mess with Canva. They know that skill can’t be outsourced to any tool. In other words, if people don’t know how to create graphic content (they don’t know the principles, laws, procedures), Canva won’t help them.

Often the opposite. For good graphic designers, Canva is mainly an opportunity to use their skills (for example, they create a nice template for a client, spend dozens of hours on it, and the client just fills the template in Canva…).

So a good graphic designer won’t blast you for Canva. At least in my opinion. Rather, he’ll help you tame it so that it’s a good servant, not an evil master.

Your selected template is empty.

What to watch out for?

Canva is a popular tool. Canva has templates. And you already know where it’s going…

The more people use Canva, the more often we’ll see the same post templates on social media and elsewhere.

That’s why I would recommend, before you start using Canva to its full potential, either consulting with a graphic designer to help you customize/create your own templates, or at least customize the templates to your brand (colors, fonts, photos…) so you don’t unnecessarily lose credibility by using the same templates as many of your competitors.

Let’s get into custom design?

I’m continually convincing myself that just because I can create whatever comes to mind in Canva doesn’t mean it’s pretty.

As people often don’t hesitate to point out to me 😀 :

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That’s why I would rather not go into the creation “on your own” and recommend to start from ready-made templates.

But if, like me, you can’t help yourself, I at least highly recommend it

  1. Consult a graphic designer. Just a quick opinion is fine… and if that’s not an option for you, perhaps for financial reasons, then try:
  2. Consult a non-graphic artist with a flair for graphics – which can actually be more or less anyone in your circle who you think has a taste for the things you create and can give you constructive advice.

Most of all, don’t be afraid of it. My design may not have garnered the same kind reviews, but the course served its purpose, paid off handsomely, and reached even more people thanks to the negative comments… So at the end of the day, it was actually a success.

However, if you are not interested in applying the saying “negative advertising, also advertising”, you better consult your design.

Back to Canva.

How much does Canva cost?

Canva offers a free version. The premium version then costs $12.99 (about 320 Kč) monthly or $11.99 (about 290 Kč) monthly for an annual payment.

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*Where Canva figured out that you save 23% annually when you actually save about 8% (you pay $144 annually instead of $156 in monthly payments) I have no idea.

That’s why I have Canva on a monthly subscription and know I can cancel at any time.

If you happen to be a student (or know a student), you can get Canva for free for a year as part of a GitHub pack.

Rating

Canva is great for me and I highly recommend it. However, it’s still just a tool. And the quality of the tool often depends a lot on who uses it and how they use it. That’s why I recommend that you consult with someone before sending your creations (unless they are strictly for hobby projects).

If you don’t have anyone like that around, feel free to come try it out on our Discord.

Happy creating and let me know how you get on with Canva in the comments!

About author

Vojtech Bruk

I enjoy exploring things in depth. That's why I write this blog. And I also try to make my clients as much money as possible), that's the second reason.

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