Smarter Not Harder: Canva

Smarter Not Harder: Canva


I believe we’re all familiar with the old adage, “Work smarter, not harder.” However, for entrepreneurs, especially for those working in small businesses, it seems that working our fingers to the bone is the only way to get ahead. This series is for those of us who have struggled to find cost-effective tools that are successful in promoting our businesses online. Over the next three weeks we’ll be discussing a few of the marketing websites that we use here at Brandaid to work smarter, not harder.

Have you ever perused Facebook blog posts and wished you had the resources to create your own professional banners? Or possibly you’ve attempted to make photos for your Pinterest pins, but the results were bland and unappealing. Whereas software like Adobe Photoshop is very useful, it can get a bit pricey and, for the average business owner, may be overwhelming to maneuver. And who has an extra ten hours to teach themselves complicated software via YouTube tutorials? What we like to use is a website called Canva.

Canva is a free, user-friendly site that provides the necessary elements for even beginners to create stunning graphics. The design process starts with choosing the ‘canvas’ or layout of the image. There are options for every imaginable dimension required- from social media templates like for Instagram and Tumblr, to eBook and blogging guides for images like Kindle covers and infographics. There are even layouts for printable marketing materials such as business cards, menus, real estate flyers, and gift certificates- the list just goes on and on! Canva’s drag-and-drop method of design is very easy to pick up. Combine their accessibility with the provided outlines and dazzling visuals are within your grasp! They supply a vast library of text fonts, layouts, pictures, and symbols. The premium content is al-a-carte, costing $1 a piece. Canva is very up front about which items cost money and which items are free, and they only are paid for when the design is complete. There’s even an option to upload personal content- I prefer to find images on websites like Flickr and Graphic Stock and then bring them into Canva.

One of my favorite elements that the site features is that the graphics we create aren’t proprietary of Canva. These images that we design FOR FREE can be used anywhere- they aren’t limited to being featured on Canva approved sites. Many free, user-friendly graphic design sites retain ownership of the images created on their page. For example, when an iBook is created it can only be sold through the iTunes store. Even though we may have slaved over the layout, making sure that everything is exactly the way we’d like it, if we created it in iBooks we can’t sell it anywhere else. Not that I’m begrudging Apple- I just appreciate the freedom Canva allows with its free services!

Here at Brandaid, we aren’t the only members loving this website! Last August Canva unveiled its newest platform to 4 million users. We’ve recently begun to use Canva for Work and I personally am very excited for the benefits this will bring- not only to us but also to our clients! I love creating original promotional graphics through Canva, and look forward to using their new features to enhance our online marketing!





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