The graphic design tool Canva has revolutionised the marketing world, particularly for social media marketers, since it hit the mainstream a few years ago. It was founded by Australian Melanie Perkins who spotted a business opportunity when she realised how frustrating it was to learn how to use existing graphic design software. As she says "It could take a whole semester to learn the very basics, even the simplest tasks, like exporting a high-quality PDF file, could take 22 clicks." By contrast, Canva is simple, intuitive, and easy to use. This means anyone, regardless of graphic design ability, is now able to create professional-looking social media graphics, presentations, flyers, brochures, infographics, and even video content. Today, Canva is valued at $40 billion, showing demand for the suite of services it offers.
How marketers use Canva everyday
I'm a marketing generalist (who manages multiple social media accounts) and have never used InDesign or Photoshop. I love Canva as its templates allow me to create a range of assets that I can customise with brand colours, fonts, and photography. Prior to Canva, any time I required a graphic to post on social media I would need to brief it into a graphic designer, which takes time and costs my clients money. The importance of social media as a marketing channel continues to grow and harnessing that requires the ongoing creation of fresh and relevant content. Canva is the perfect tool to help create that content - quickly and easily.
Does Canva mean the end of graphic designers?
Despite being a self-confessed Canva super-fan, I don’t think it will ever replace graphic designers. When creating a logo for a brand, a graphic designer will go through the process of understanding the business, their values, their tone of voice, and defining their USP. They will work to understand the industry that the business operates in; where and how the logo will be used, and how it stands apart from their competitors. From there, logo concepts will be created and refined until the final logo design is agreed upon and approved. Sure, Canva gives you the ability to create a logo. But without the knowledge and skill of a graphic designer, the end result is unlikely to fully encapsulate the brand nor be something customers will identify with.
When to use a graphic designer vs. Canva?
Design takes skill and a certain eye for colour, composition, and UX (user experience). Canva is best used when the strategic thinking around a brand identity is already developed by a designer. For our clients, we’ll use experienced graphic designers to create brand identities, determine brand guidelines, and build core business templates and complex branded collateral. We often get our designers to create brand kits and upload key templates in Canva for the ongoing use of our clients or marketers. This frees them up for the brand development work and more technical projects they love to do.
Canva is easy to use and great for creating simple graphics for social media. We find it helpful to enable our marketers to create onbrand social content in Canva that needs to be produced rapidly to respond to market demands. But Canva will never replace the skill, talent and thinking of a great graphic designer.