The days of the bright, luminous, orange paper on the church notice board have passed. Clipart is no more, and comic sans has been banished to the font bin. Graphic design is one of those thinks that can often take more time than needed and if your like me and you are fussy you end up with several revisions.
Back earlier this year I was pointed towards a great site called Canva. Canva is a website/ mobile app based graphic design program and it’s really good! It is aimed at making graphic design easy and simple. Before I go any further it’s worth mentioning that this is not Illustrator or Photoshop, instead it is designed for simple graphic design.
At the time of writing there are several options for joining Canva.
– Personal (free)
– For Work (paid)
If you are a charity / Non-profit organisation you can apply for a free Canva for work account. Currently I just have a personal account. Although it is advertised as ‘FREE’ in reality it is not. The initial account you create is free, and with this free account you have access to a range of templates, images, background and fonts. Although there are many free elements and templates these are not massive and so you soon find yourself scrolling the paid section. On the flip side you can upload your own images which are then stored on Canva for future use, as well as being able to access images on Facebook.
On the go:
One of the things I really like about Canva is that no matter what computer or mac I am sitting at, I can easily create posters, images for blogs, Facebook adverts, etc etc. Of course you will need to have the content already uploaded to Canva unless you have this with you
A really handy thing I find is that there are many pre done templates in the right size. When I am needing to quickly make a Facebook header image, I don’t need to hunt out the size and work out how it would sit with a profile picture as the templates include all that.
Downloading your design:
I was really surprised the first time I downloaded my design. Canva gives you multiple options, including, jpeg, png and PDF. I was rather intrigued to see if the PDFs were editable and by how much. I therefore opened a few up in Adobe Illustrator and found that all the sections were all split up in to layers and that the text had been converted to lines hence not needing the fonts. Being able to open a design up in Illustrator meant that I could tweak designs.
Issues and things to note:
Several months ago I had a slight issue where I decided to change the template look after I had written all the text. Once changed I found out that text etc was not carried over and were then lost. Since then Canva has added a popup warning of this.
If you are wanting to add effects and shadows and emboss things then Canva is not for you. Canva has a variety of Filters for photos and backgrounds and all layers have transparency but effects are not a massive part.
For churches looking at simple graphic design software Canva is worth trying. It allows not tech savvy people to create posters, social media artwork, invites etc really easy. It is by no means Illustrator or photoshop but its really handy and easy.