This post is for all my writer friends out there, who often like me, must find themselves juggling too many other hats. We are a lot of things including website sprucer-upper, social media presence unifier, promotional banner creator.
Handling graphics can be tricky. All too often I struggle to fit a graphic across my profile pages on popular social media platforms. I am not a designer, and I do work with an awesome designer, Leah Suttle, who made the banner for my Facebook page and my website. But, even though Leah is very prompt with her projects, I thought I could do a few simple tasks by myself. I thought I could size the FB banner to the right size for Twitter and G+.
It sounds simple enough, right? Only if I knew how hard that project could be.
I struggled. I struggled long. I ended up with mediocre results. I had to deal with nasty cropping issues and the image still came out blurry and stretched.
I vowed to set funds aside for getting all the banners adjusted by a professional.
Fast forward six months–I discovered Canva.
Canva is sweet and simple and mostly free (at least until now).
Canva’s simplicity lies in its numerous templates. You can design any size graphics you want but there are templates for the times you won’t. And people like me that are not graphic designers, we mostly don’t. What sort of templates? Facebook banner, Facebook ads, Twitter header, G+ cover, Facebook post . . . you name it and chances are, they have it. For each template size, there are also a bunch of free images that you can use. Or you can buy a “paid” image ($1 each). Or you could upload your own image.
For example, to get a perfectly sized Twitter header, I simply pick the “Twitter header” template, then choose an image to fill the template, add text from Canva’s list of fancy fonts if I want and save it. Canva stores it right away, and you can either upload your creation to your social media accounts or download it to your computer. Within a few minutes, I was able to create flawless banners across all my profiles.
Canva, as I mentioned, is simple. If and when I need detailed tweaking of a graphic, I fall back on Photoshop. PS is unbeatable with its meticulous tools. But, whenever I need something quick and simple, I run to Canva. The following banner I used to announce a promotion was done in 10 minutes. I kid you not!
For the same promo week, I also designed new banners for all my social media accounts. One graphic, adjusted across key profiles–less than 1 hour.
I do desire more–more fonts for one. More colors for fonts also. More standard graphics across all the templates (cannot be all templates, I know, but at least for the ones with similar aspect ratios).
I also realize that this is all for free. And I shouldn’t be asking for more–that is being too greedy. I remember the saying–don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. I should be thankful for what Canva gives me for zip.
Which brings to mind an unhappy thought–Canva will probably not remain free (at least not to the extent it is now) for very long. But until then, it is a cash-strapped author’s best friend.
So, go check it out if you haven’t already. I am sure you’ll love it.