Who is Canva?

Canva is an ambitious Aussie start-up changing the landscape for small business owners and bloggers. Created in Surry Hills by founders: Cliff Obrecht, CEO Melanie Perkins, and Cameron Adams. This (not so) little start-up is reaching great heights, securing 3.6 million in its second round of funding and growing to over 600,000 members as of July 2014.

What is Canva?

Canva is a simple design tool making Graphic Design accessible to all. Canva allows you to create everything from newsletters to blog graphics to a Facebook Cover; using drag and drop functionality with stylish and on trend templates.

How much will it cost me?

Well this is the best part about Canva… It’s free! That’s right for standard templates and images there is no cost. Premium fonts, templates and images are charged at $1 each – an affordable expense if needed.

So how do you get started?

Head to www.canva.com, enter in your email, follow the prompts and away you go!

Once logged in you’ll find a user friendly interface with drag and drop functionality to simplify the design process.

Select a new design template. Note* Canva takes all the guess work out for you. If you’re creating a Social Media post it will default to the dimensions required for each social network; a nice little touch.

On the left hand side you’ll find everything you need to get designing. Fonts, backgrounds, layouts, design elements and the upload tab for your own images and logos.

 

 

 

What do I do next?

Once you’ve familiarised yourself with it’s dashboard I recommend heading on over to the Canva Blog & YouTube channel

Canva has a support base for the amateur like you wouldn’t believe. Need help choosing fonts, colour matching or creating an eye catching title? Canva has you sorted! Head to the blog first and learn the basics. Next up visit their YouTube channel and then head over and actually DO their Mini Challenges. Mini Challenges will have you designing like a pro in no time.

 My Hot Design Tip!

K.I.S.S – Keep it simple stupid!

Think clean. Crisp. Fresh. Chant these three words as you design. Oh I’m serious! This little mantra will remind you that simplicity really is best.

 

Manuela Crescenzi

Manuela is a Social Media expert and Editor of SheBlogger.com.au – Australia’s newest ‘go to’ source for the She Blogger.

 


For those of us who use images and photos for work or leisure, software that is easy to use for editing, organising, viewing, creation and even naming of files is essential in the home office. Software that is a notch (or notches) higher than that of your stock Microsoft Paint, for example, can vastly improve what you can create from scratch or otherwise.

Though the question is: ‘How much will it cost me?’ The answer is, from a few dollars to thousands of dollars. Or if you know what to look for, you can get it for free.

Below is a list of free image editing software that may come in handy, depending on what you want to get out of your images. Note that although freeware doesn’t cost anything, you’re still bound by copyright laws as it’s only intended for private use.

Paint.net  

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Best for photo or image editing, Paint.net features a bag full of goodies to get you started with easy-to-use controls, unlimited undos, layers and other tools. Although originally developed as a replacement for MS Paint, its performance has been likened to higher end, paid software such as Adobe Photoshop and Corel Paint Shop Pro. Note that it doesn’t have as many features as the paid software, but is great if you’re just starting out and want to play around without too much fuss.

 

GIMP

medium_141583828Image credit: cubicgarden

This is short for GNU Image Manipulation Program and is a free software that can be used to retouch photos, tweak and author images. It’s similar to Paint.Net, but it has many more features and is comparable to Photoshop in terms of power. However, it’s also more complicated to use, and isn’t the best choice if you’re just starting out in the world of image editing.

GIMP is available in many other platforms besides Windows such as GNU/Linux (i386, PPC), Mac OS X, Sun OpenSolaris and FreeBSD. It also reads a wide range of supported file formats and has a customisable interface.

 

Inkscape

medium_5851145784Image credit: j_baer

This is a professional and versatile tool for creating or editing vector graphics, which allow for high quality images. With extensive drawing, shaping, text and path editing tools, Inkscape is widely used for projects that require high scalability like business logos or cartooning. Inkscape is ideal for designers of any expertise. However, greener users may experience some difficulty at first, but its user friendly interface will win you over in no time at all.

 

Irfanview

As the name suggests, this software can be used to view your collection of photos or pictures, but that’s not all. Irfanview can also be used to convert your files, automate repetitive tasks with a batch process, limited photo editing, creating slideshows and playing multimedia, just to name a few. It also supports a huge range of file formats.

As with many things technological, you will need to tinker around and play with what is available to you in order to familiarise yourself with where all the buttons are and what they do. If unsure about anything, help is just around the corner – or you can just click Undo!

Featured image: Buou

Edna Truong

Edna is a Melbourne-based aspiring fantasy writer. She dabbles in everything from playing games to jewellery making and watching anime.