A Clever Tool For Your Professional Toolbox: DIY Graphic Design with Canva
A Clever Tool For Your Professional Toolbox: Canva
Canva is a pretty great free online app that could be super valuable to you.
Whether you've heard of it before or not, there are so many ways you can use this tool to create things for your career or business - even if you have zero graphic design or creative experience.
In today's story, I'm going to introduce you to Canva and some ways you can use it to make easy, improvements to your work life or to your business.
Though I do most of my own client work in Adobe Illustrator, I do often use Canva for quick little things - like sizing a graphic to fit well on a Facebook post or creating marketing materials/social media graphics to promote an event. But let's focus on what you might do with it!
And by the way, this isn't a sponsored post in any way. I simply always want to keep you informed of great tools for your own toolbox, especially those that are free.
So first, what exactly is "Canva?"
Canva is a web-based app created to make graphic design easier for everyone. Their motto is "empowering the world to design."
Here's why I really value Canva and recommend others use it:
- It's free to use
- It's easy to learn and makes the process of creating things (like branded images, resumes, even presentations) much easier
- It helps you create projects that look more professional, regardless of your skill (or zero skill) level
- It includes tons of free ready-made elements, layouts, and fonts you can use with a click of a button (and if you like a particular paid layout, just use your own image instead of the stock one canva provides, and you can keep the layout!)
What can I do with Canva if I'm a career professional?
Here are a few awesome things you can create in Canva for your career --
Create your resume
Canva has an entire library of Resume templates/layouts freely available. Here's just a few of them to get you started if you're thinking of job searching and want a more designed look.
Because Canva auto-saves your drafts and allows you to make copies, you can track resume versions (make copies) and easily tweak new versions, too. Just export as a PDF when you're ready to print one. You can even use it to create corresponding documents listing your references, salary history, even your cover letter.
Put together a presentation (or report)
With formats in both 4:3 and 16:9 (widescreen), Canva has sizing for creating your own presentations. Choose from tons of layout options or create your own slides, then just export as a PDF to turn your boring report into a more dynamic presentation for your boss or co-workers.
Create an invitation for a work mixer or event
Canva even has a "invitation" and a "flyer" set of templates you can select to turn your next networking meeting into a more professional and more exciting-looking event.
Just pick a layout, change your text, and export as an image (or a PDF) and you're set.
What can Canva help me do as a business owner?
After I've created a brand for a client, I often teach them about Canva. I see it as a great tool anyone can use to create their own content to support their business.
There's so much you can create in Canva once you have your logo, brand colors, brand fonts (read more about what those are here), and brand photography to work with.
However, if you don't have those things yet - there's a lot you can use Canva for, even if all you have is a logo or a few images for your business. It's perfect if you are very early getting started and working on saving to invest in a custom branding process with a brand creator. (This is exactly why you may have spotted a mention for it in my ebook.)
Here's how you can use Canva throughout your work as an entrepreneur:
Create your own social media graphics, sized easily for each platform
This is the number one reason I recommend my clients scope out Canva after our brand process. I want them to be able and empowered to easily create ongoing content like Instagram images, Facebook posts, even Twitter cover photos for their social media accounts.
When you go on Canva, you can find all of these and more (even Pinterest shaped files) under Social Media under "Create a design." Canva has already sized each one for you so there's no guesswork or googling and you can use any of their free templates.
Throw on a layout template, change the text, and possibly upload your own photo to use. Everything will look nice and professional, just like you need it to.
Make your own letterhead and business cards
Yep - Canva has a size for "Letterhead" with their own layouts! If you don't have letterhead yet, just customize a layout and then export as a PDF and print it out. You can then print on it just like letterhead.
Similarly, they have layouts for business cards which you can export and print with online printers. If you aren't ready for custom cards but need something clean-looking - these are a great option!
Put together an ad
Canva also includes an entire section (with layouts to grab) for ads, including one specifically formatted to Facebook.
No matter how you use it- here are a few other key things that are good to note about Canva:
- All of your work is saved on your Canva account, so you can access it from other computers and even share your work with other people
- You can export things you make as images (JPG and PNG) or as PDFs
- You don't have to spend any money to use it, but they do offer inexpensive stock photography and a Canva for Work version if you want more bells and whistles (I just use regular ol' free Canva)
If you use Canva to create anything cool after reading this, definitely let me know.
Here are some helpful links to tutorials that may help you learn more about it and how you can use this app to make things happen.
- The Beginner's Guide to Using Canva (quick 11 slide slideshow)
- Getting Started with Canva (Tutorial List) - There are challenges you can try in various categories, like getting started, fonts, and more
- How to Make Your Designs Look More Professional (on Canva) | Video
- Create Layouts of Multiple Images (great for social media posts) | Video
As I mentioned, Canva becomes even more powerful when you have a great logo and other brand elments (like having professionally selected brand fonts, colors, and graphics) you can use with it. Through Greatest Story for Business, I specialize in creating brands for small businesses and I'm currently booking new clients.
If having a professional brand is something you're curious about, I do free discovery calls to talk more and answer any questions you may have.
Request one below and I'll reach out shortly to set it up.
Whether you're thinking of starting a business or managing an existing one, I'm always happy to hear what you're working on and point you in the right direction where I can.