Dan McDonnell on Becoming an Amateur Graphic Designer with Canva
Hello, my name is Dan McDonnell and I am a Community Manager at the American Evaluation Association (AEA) and a regular contributor to AEA365. Sharing photos has always been a popular pasttime, and the rise of social media has made it even easier than ever. The only major obstacle is the differing requirements by channel when it comes to file dimensions: you’ll often have to resize a photo to make it fit within the dimensions of the channel you’re using, and there’s no uniformity in requirements between Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Canva is an online tool that turns you into an amateur graphic designer. Let’s say your research has uncovered some interesting facts, and you’d like to visualize this data in an interesting way. Canva can help you turn that data into a visually stunning Infographic, or a cool flyer – with no graphic design experience needed!
With drag-and-drop functionality, you can create collages, create or alter text, pull in stunning backgrounds or personal photos into preset templates and browse an extensive library of graphics, stock photos and layout options to use in your designs. The main graphics manipulation features come free, and some stock graphics are available for purchase (usually around $1.00 each).
Hot Tip: Create a Photo Collage
Starting a new design on Canva is a cinch. First, select from one of the preset templates from the top bar (see image above). You can choose from a number of options, including a header photo for a handful of social networks, business cards, general social media graphics or you can even set your own custom dimensions. Once you’ve made your selection, you can choose a layout to customize, from hundreds of different examples. I recommend starting with something simple – like a photo collage. Click ‘Search’ and select the ‘Grids’ option.
Select one of the different Grid layouts by clicking, then click the ‘Uploads’ button to upload photos from either your Facebook page or your harddrive. Once they’ve been uploaded, simply drag and drop into the design area, and once you’re pleased with how it looks, click ‘Link and Publish,’ and you’re ready to go. Simply download the image file, and share it on the social media platform of your choice!
This is really just scratching the surface of what Canva is capable of, but hopefully it gives you enough skills to be dangerous as an amateur graphic designer. Enjoy!
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