When you want to make a quick flyer to advertise your yard sale or pull together a quick birthday card for your Mom, what app do you open first? Odds are, Word or PowerPoint. The former’s ubiquitous for page layout designs, even though its not really meant for it, and the latter was the app I used to reach for simply because it’s easy to use for basic graphics-heavy layouts. Either way, you could always get something basic whipped up in 5 minutes, flat, and it’d look ok.
Don’t settle for ok anymore, and don’t worry about needing more than 5 minutes. Canva, a brand-new online design tool, makes quick graphics design simpler than ever — and its results actually look great.
When we browse the web, or flick through the latest updates on our favourite networks, the unstoppable flow of graphics which bombards our eyeballs is remarkable, and bewildering, in equal measure. We are seeking content, but our gaze falls just as frequently on adverts, profile pictures, banners and logos. These often feel like visual distractions, but quality graphics are unquestionably a key component of any marketing push.
Sadly, for many small business owners, and for individuals wishing to raise their personal profile, it is a component which is out of reach. For many businesses, high quality, professionally-devised branding seems like an extravagantly large investment in these times of financial hardship. Equally, graphic design is by no means a universally held skill. The complexity of most popular graphics apps is also a significant barrier to entry, meaning bootstrap branding may not be an option.
That’s where new online graphics editor Canva, currently in private beta, wants to intervene. Amongst its ingredients you will find a vast image library, numerous preset layouts, a range of commonly used print and online document sizes, and a plethora of professionally created, ready-to-go graphics. On the face of it, you might wonder why something like this hasn’t come to market before. The question is: does Canva reinforce this point, or does it actually illustrate why web-based graphics composition is still, largely, an untamed beast?