#52tech | Week 6: Canva

This week I’m profiling a free webapp for graphics production called Canva. It’s brilliant!

Canva is a web-based design platform that allows you to drag and drop pre-designed templates and customise them with a range of up to 1million images and design elements. Many are free, but premium images start at $1.

You can create Facebook cover photos, infographics, blog headers, photo collages, presentations, posters and flyers, business cards, invitations, and many other types.

Starting off, I simply logged in as a new user with my Facebook ID. Apparently I was lucky to just get in like this, as the website still suggests its in beta, and has given me 5 account signins I can send to friends. (If you have difficulty, contact me with your email address and I’ll send you one).

Once in, you are taken through a 23 second tutorial (yes, really!)and then given 5 challenges which guide you through the simple user interface which basically works on search, drag and drop. There are a range of photo-realistic and cartoonish pngs available.  My challenge was to choose a hat to put onto the monkey – easy to do.


Although most of the images encountered are $1 each, you can still pull them onto your canvas to play around with them in arrangements, you will not be charged until you choose to publish.

Uploads are easy too – because I’d authorised into the webapp via my Facebook profile, I immediately had access to my Facebook album photos. And could drag these into layouts.


After completing my 5 challenges I was ready to start my own design, but other design tutorials are ready there when necessary. Here I’ve designed a business card.


You can share the link to the image on the Canva webapp (and allow people to change it also, allowing for collaborative design), or download as a web image or pdf.

The above design used one purchasable image (the monkey) and once I set about grabbing the design I’d created (I had 24 hours to do so) I had to pay for this design – via credit card. There is an option to pay $10 for 11 images.  The designs we create can be used for personal and commercial usage. At $1 per image, it appears an excellent way to create flyers etc for your business.

Note: you have to watch the print designs however. Mine went from the above onscreen to this in a PDF:


Notice the m in the web address at the bottom has wrapped under the element, and that text is pixelated too. I fixed this problem with a change to the font, but then another element moved on the conversion to PDF. Just as well the purchase of a one-time use license comes with the ability to edit for 24 hours:

You have purchased images using a One-Time Use License

This license gives you 24 hours to make any changes and export your design without watermarks. If you want to make changes to your design after this time you will need to re-purchase the images.

Unfortunately, despite many attempts, I couldn’t get a design element on top of this url text to stop moving or wrapping the text under it. And when finally happy enough with the PDF graphic, I found it was different and problematic in the web image in png format. Where the PDF image is muted in tones, the PNG web image is small but retains the truer colours selected in the design. (Note: I’ve found similar difficulties when taking other web designs such as infographics created elsewhere into graphics – the elements have a mind of their own).

monkey business compare

Tip: What you see so well formatted on-screen changes on the PDF print design, and on the web image downloaded as a png. It pays to think about what format or how you will be using your design, and once downloaded, test each of your images. Use the 24 hours to tweak your design.

Despite these slight difficulties in arriving at a final usable design, I highly recommend Canva if you’re after blog images, posters, bookmarks or other graphic giveaways. The cost of getting commercial use design elements and a lovely user interface is well worth it. And it’s fun!

So much fun that I made my next flyer image immediately –

Bird Flyer

Oh, and I even used Canva to change the #52tech logo. See below.

App Overview

Canva – Web app for designing graphic projects. Register here.

Currently in beta. Free to register and use – but many professional images are sold for $1 for a one-time personal or commercial usage within your designs.

52tech yearThis was a post in the #52tech goal – to investigate and share one technology post once a week for 2014.

You can find all the posts indexed via the #52tech tag, or top menu option at huntingdownwriting.wordpress.com.

3 thoughts on “#52tech | Week 6: Canva

  1. It’s amazing what is out there these days for us to use either free or at token cost. In past years it would have been commercial software at thousands of dollars. I use Irfanview which I thoroughly recommend for basic photo processing. It’s free.

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