For those of us who aren’t graphic designers, but need to create backgrounds, infographics or designs with stock photos, icons, and symbols, there’s a great free tool, www.canva.com. Canva.com gives us all drag-and-drop graphics, images, infographic design and access to 1,000,000 stock photos at almost zero costs. But, there are a few provisos…
In the past I’ve used Getty Images to buy a single image for $12 to $35 for a presentation – that gets expensive very quickly. One of Canva.com’s advantages is that photos USED IN A CANVA DESIGN are only $1 each. There is a proviso. The photo MUST BE USED IN A DESIGN WITH OTHER DESIGN ELEMENTS. (Did you notice the caps!) You can’t just export a photo. This screen shows a few of the photos found when I searched for “team.” Like Getty, they have searchable photos on every topic you can imagine.
All the templates, wireframes, symbols (tons), icons, stickers, and infographics are free. The photos cost $1 each and must be used with other Canva design elements and cannot be altered once exported from Canva. So, do your work in Canva and then export for use as an Excel title page, a PowerPoint transition slide, a Facebook page, etc. Checkout the Canva FAQ and license.
Rarely would I ever recommend using a graphic as background for an Excel chart, but infographics are great for presenting the big picture of your analysis. Canva has a good selection of infographic elements as shown in the first figure. It’s easy to drag an element from the menu on the left, place it on the canvas, and then resize, select new colors and change text or numeric value.
And of course, there’s always PowerPoint’s insatiable need for infographics and slides. Any good PowerPoint presentation should set an emotional context with a few powerful pictures and little text on screen. Use Canva.com to create title or transition slides in PowerPoint that set the context or mood with pictures of teams, finished projects, buildings, scenery. Use images with impact that relate to your point. Want to see how to use a few graphics and almost no text? Watch Steve Jobs on YouTube make his new product presentations.
Use infographics to break down complex data into quick and easily digested key points. Here are some examples from a Google search on “best infographics.”
To use Canva.com,
1. To start, select a predefined canvas size or create a custom canvas size
2. Select a pre-designed layout template or use an open canvas. All elements in pre-designed work can be changed or you can start with a blank template.
3. Select design elements by clicking on a category on the left-side menu. Once you select a category the left menu fills with elements from that category.
Select photos by typing a keyword in the Search box and pressing Enter.
If you don’t see the category menu on the left, redisplay it by clicking in the Search box or scrolling the left menu
4. Choose from thousands of elements by dragging from the selections on the left onto the canvas.
5. Canva saves automatically every few seconds. If you want to see your past designs, click Home at the top left. To export and pay the measly fee of $1 per photo, (other designs are free) click Link & Publish at the top right.
Canva comes with tutorials on how to use it as well as mini design tutorials for those of us who need a little assistance.