Fabulous Free Design Tool: Canva

We are so delighted that we've finally found a design tool that lets even design-challenged people like us create very nice images and  graphics for use on the web, in presentations, on flyers, etc. We don't have Photoshop, and we have often been impressed with some of the lovely graphics we have seen on others' presentations and websites. While we have hired several graphic designers to create design elements for us, we'd been on the lookout to create simple and powerful graphics, mostly for use on this blog and during our presentations. The problem was that we aren't very savvy when it comes to design. Well, enter Canva, a free (some exceptions) design tool that seems to have solved all our problems.

We recently took the software out for a spin, and here is one of the first graphics we produced in 10 minutes (just as a sample). We might use a similar version of this in an upcoming presentation.

Then Judy created this one, which will be part of the PowerPoint presentation (7 Essential Elements of a Language Services Price Quote) that she is giving at the NAJIT annual conference in May in a few weeks.

The system is easy to use, beautifully designed (of course!), and comes pre-loaded with many gorgeous fonts. We've long struggled with combining fonts that look good together (yes, we know, there are people who write books just on fonts!), and Canva gives you nice templates with fonts that just look good, and we love them! While Canva is essentially free, there are a few elements you have to pay for, and that's clearly indicated when you look at all the images/backgrounds options. The images presented here where entirely free and you can download them to your computer as an image or make PDFs. 

Nice and easy! What do you think, dear colleagues? Have you used Canva or can you recommend another design tool?


EP on May 3, 2014 at 10:29 AM said...

You don't have Photoshop? There's a good reason for that. Nobody can figure the damned thing out! Or at least I can't. Looks interesting, may have to check it out.

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on May 4, 2014 at 6:36 PM said...

@EP: That's right, Photoshop is quite a challenge indeed! We know many people who are fantastic with the program, but we are not among them. So we are quite excited that we have found a software that we can actually handle -- no special training course required. Thanks for reading and for commenting!

Nicole on October 21, 2014 at 1:42 PM said...

WOW, Canva is fabulous! Unfortunately it is also highly addictive. SIGH! Why did you tell us about this? Can't stop preparing my new presentation now ;)

seoa3 on November 29, 2018 at 1:25 AM said...

Thank you for this post, very interesting.
I am a marketer in Grenoble (France). I use on an everyday basis Gimp and Canva.
Gimp is not very intuitive, you need months and months of use to begin making amazing stuff with it.
On the other side, Canva is the most intuitive photo editor ever. In 5 minutes you can create catchy images, background that do not look like an old ‘paint’ image.
So the best combo is to modify your image with Gimp, put it in PNG format, and ‘work’ on it with Canva. Hope it will give you ideas
marketer at

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The entrepreneurial linguists and translating twins blog about the business of translation from Las Vegas and Vienna.

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