The C-word isn’t so bad for graphic design, is it?

Apr 6, 2021

illustration of a shocked lady covering her mouth

Now, everyone seems to be raving about Canva, but it drives me a little nuts because I see so many unoriginal designs coming from the platform.

The one thing I really hate is seeing businesses using the same old Canva logos. A lot!

You see the purpose of great branding is to share your individual story, create loyalty and build your credibility, so you need to look original. This is why branding is an investment and not an expense

Think of Canva as flatpack furniture. It’s inexpensive and simple enough to put together, but then you have the same end table as everyone else on your street.

So if you’re using the same designs as everyone else, how will you showcase your brand and build connections with people?

The simple answer is, you won’t.

But if you have a designer help you with a logo, a brilliant brand strategy and templates, before you start self-designing away, Canva can help you and your business big time. 

Have you guessed the C-word by now? That’s right, the C-word in designer land is Canva. 

It’s actually a bit of a controversial topic amongst designers because we all have our opinions, and we can feel like it’s a bit of a replacement. 

However, I want you to know my truth about Canva. Because believe it or not, as a brand designer and illustrator, I actually recommend Canva to my clients.

I see it as a compliment to your graphic designer and your business. Which means it’s an excellent tool for businesses that have strong branding already in place. But, it’s not a replacement for a designer entirely. 

Many designers can set up a brand kit on the platform for you, and provide a set of branded templates to keep everything looking consistent. Making Canva a really helpful program for your business.

As a brand designer and illustrator, I want to give you all the design tools and images you need to hit the ground running with your brand before you get stuck in. These tools include the ability to create quick and easy graphics yourself that are already set up and branded for you. 

So in this blog, I’ll explain what I like and don’t like about the platform and how you can best use it for your business. 

screenshot from the Canva website

Here’s what I like about it. 

User friendly for non-designers

Canva’s drag and drop system makes the brand templates I create super easy for my clients to modify. So I can see why non-designers love it. But remember, I’ve put my trained design eye and brain into the template first, and it won’t look like anything else that’s on Canva.

 For my clients, they get to change words and images on a template that keeps their Instagram feed unique and not like anyone else’s.

 

Great Value for Money

 Design software is expensive and can take a long time to learn. Trust me, I know. 

There is a free version of Canva available, but if you want to access more of its options and capabilities, I’d definitely recommend your fork out for the paid version. 

I understand that not every business is at the level where they can afford to hire a designer, so it’s a great place to start.

 

Templates

Unless you’re a designer, specs, pixels and measurements probably don’t mean much to you. The good thing is, Canva has all the standard sizes set up and ready to go.

Although if you’re looking to resize your design, you’re going to need the paid pro version.

There are also lots of free templates available for businesses that can’t yet afford a professional designer. On the flip side of this, there are lots of people using these exact same freebies.

To avoid blending in and not being unique, I recommend creating original templates or getting a professional to help set them up.

 

Brand consistency

Consistency is going to build trust with your target audience, and people who trust you are more likely to become paying customers.

With brand templates and a brand kit (colours, fonts, logos) loaded and ready to go, you can be sure your branding will be consistent.

If you have staff or a virtual assistant, you can also be confident everyone is using the same branded templates. 

 

Speeds up workflow

With templates ready to go, you won’t need to spend ages mulling over your designs. So the speedy workflow is one thing you’ll love about Canva. Especially if you need something quick and easy like web banners or social media posts.  

Now, here’s what I don’t like. 

It’s unoriginal

I’m talking about the pre-made templates here. 

And if you use the platform, you’ve probably noticed the same templates and graphics popping up throughout your social media feed, huh?  

Now here’s the thing with social feeds, you want your graphics to make people stop and read what you have to say, yeah? 

 Not think “Seen it”…and keep scrolling. Which means your brand needs to be unique.

 If you’re a hobby business or startup, then the free templates can be great. But for businesses who need to step things up and get seen, it’s worth hiring a professional to help set you up.

 

People think it’s a replacement for graphic designers

 My friend, Canva, isn’t a replacement. It’s a helpful tool yes, but there are a lot of design fundamentals that non-designers don’t quite understand.

 Things like, 

  • Hierarchy
  • Balance
  • Space (non-designers tend to want to fill the page)
  • Layout
  • Colour theory
  • Typography
  • Scale

And the list goes on…

Without proper training or experience, then you can’t possibly get these things correct. 

If we just met, I worked as a pre-press designer before going full time in Little Black Kat, and incorrect design fundamentals was a big issue. 

My job was to check and fix the files supplied, so they printed correctly. 

Common issues were,

  • Files not set up within the correct colour space
  • Missing bleed
  • Objects dropping off
  • Incorrect sizing 
  • Fonts changing or moving

Like any profession, a good designer spends years learning and developing their skills.

Yeah, I can buy some paint and paint my house, it will change the colour, but I’m still not a painter. My paint job isn’t going to look as good as what a professional can do and it probably won’t last as long. 

 

People thinking it’s an excellent solution for their logo  

This is one thing I touched on at the beginning.  

I see logo’s all the time, and I can pick them straight away if they’ve come from a Canva template.

A  logo NEEDS to be original. Its whole purpose is to show people who you are. How can you achieve that when you’re using the same logo template as thousands of other businesses?

You also won’t own the copyright to any logo you create in Canva, so if you plan on trademarking it, you won’t be able to.   

You won’t have the vector-based file either. An .eps or .ai vector file is an industry-standard file format that is essential for printing and scaling your logo, without losing resolution or pixelating. Making it a pretty important asset for your brand to have. 

Again, great for beginners, but if you want to take your business to the next level, you need a professional designer to help you create a strong and original logo. 

Its free features can be limiting

This could be because I’m a designer used to Adobe Software with all the bells and whistles. But many non-designers tell me, that while the social media templates are amazing, they still struggle setting up more complex documents.

I’ve also personally experienced some file glitches, where I’ve exported my file, only to find the text has moved and isn’t quite sitting where it’s supposed to. Making this picky little designer very frustrated.

Obviously, you’re going to get more features and inclusions with the paid versions of the platform.

There you have it, my friend. 

I spilled all my beans around what I like and don’t like about Canva. 

Remember, if you have strong branding already in place from a professional graphic designer, Canva is a helpful program for your business. 

Little Black Kat Creative Sales Kit and pricing guide

Hey there….. Want your very own brand kit set up in Canva? 

 Or perhaps you need help creating some original designs?

I hope this blog has inspired you to get your branding set up by a professional graphic designer. 

And if that lucky designer happens to be me, pop over here and have a gander because I’ve got a brand package to suit you.

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