Looking for free graphic design tools? Check out Canva. You can use the free version, and when you need it, subscribe to Canva Pro.
Canva helps anyone to create clever and practical graphics for almost any purpose.
Free graphic design: Canva makes design easy
Every small business person needs graphics, for social media content, logos, flyers, price lists, labels, presentations… If you’re a writer, you need images for websites, self-publishing projects like book covers, for marketing, client materials and more.
Unfortunately, commercial graphic design editors like Photoshop are not only expensive, there’s also a BIG learning curve. I can still remember the sheer horror I felt when I opened Photoshop for the first time. Moreover, although I used Photoshop for years, there was always more to learn; I never felt truly confident.
Beyond using a graphics editor, the big challenge when you’re creating your own graphics, is designing. Can the graphics you design on a tool like Canva equal those which a professional designer can custom-create for you?
The answer is: yes, and no. Yes, because Canva has thousands of professionally designed templates which make your ideas look great. No, because a top professional designer will create a completely original design you won’t find elsewhere.
Over the years, I’ve tried many graphic design tools, both commercial and free. Of them all, Canva shines. You can create a design in minutes, using one of the thousands of templates as a starting point.
Let’s look at some of the reasons to love the Canva app.
1. Canva offers graphic design for non-designers
I’m a visual person. I love images, but by no stretch of the imagination would I ever call myself a designer. Nor do I want to spend years studying design so that I can become a designer.
Canva is the perfect graphic design tool for non-designers. No specific skills are needed. You don’t need to know anything about typography, illustration, or photography to create wonderful designs. And you can create graphics for any purposes—print or the web— fast.
If you’ve ever wished you could create a little side business selling T-shirts or home wares, using your own designs, Canva can help make it happen.
Create a quick social media image: use a Canva template as a starting point
2. All the elements: Canva has everything you need
Back in my days of using Photoshop, I created my own book covers for some of my pen names. After I’d purchased an image for the cover, I had to source fonts and other elements to enhance the design. Although I enjoyed the process, it took days to find (and buy) everything I wanted. My time would have been better spent writing, rather than sourcing materials.
With Canva, if you want to add a design element like a photo, a line or shape, or an illustration to a design, you can do it at a click. Many of design elements are free. Commercial elements, for which you need a Canva Pro account, are clearly marked.
I should mention that although you can use the elements Canva offers, if you wish you can upload your own photos, fonts and illustrations.
Use a Canva template as a starting point to create your own book covers
3. You can resize and repurpose any graphic at a click (a Canva Pro feature)
For me, the big benefit of a Canva Pro account is that I can resize images at a click. If a client’s sent me an image to use for social media, I can upload the image to Canva and resize it for Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn in seconds.
Create an image, then resize: you can resize images for any purpose
4. Create presentations, infographics and other documents without hassle
Do you need to create a presentation or other large document, like an ebook?
If you use a presentation theme from popular office apps, your presentation will look like a thousand others. In Canva, you can not only choose a color palette and font style for your presentation, you can create an original presentation, without hassle. You can do it quickly as well.
5. On a budget? Create all the graphics you need at minimal cost
Although I’m a big fan of commercial graphic suites, they’re pricey. You can use Canva for free, and if you need it, Canva Pro is budget-friendly.
6. Stock photos can be costly: Canva includes lots of stock images
Licensing images from stock image libraries can be a costly process. When you use Canva, you can choose from a wide range of images; you’re sure to find what you need.
7. Collaborate with others on your projects
Whether you’re working alone, or with a team, Canva is a pleasure to use. With Canva Pro, you can collaborate with up to five people, without paying more.
Blogging? Using social media? Canva Pro not only allows you to collaborate, it offers a Content Planner too. Schedule posts for Facebook, Twitter and more when you connect your social media accounts.
You need graphic design: images attract attention
You need graphics, whether it’s for your small business, your writing career, or for self-publishing. Although hiring a designer to create a website or book cover design can be expensive, it’s often worth it.
For everyday images, you can handle your own graphic design. Try Canva; you’ll enjoy it. There’s a lot of value in the free version; when you’re ready, try Canva Pro.
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.