A designer’s thoughts on Canva

These days, there are so many tools available to make life easier for your business. One on them is Canva: giving everyone the tools that, going back many years ago, used to only be accessible via expensive Adobe suite software.

So, does this make designers defunct? You might be thinking: “why should I hire a designer when I can just grab a great ready-made design and customise it myself (and probably get it more quickly)?”

I wholeheartedly agree that Canva is a valuable tool, and I love anything that empowers businesses. It’s cheap, it’s user intuitive, it’s accessible and it’s innovative. I sometimes use it myself when I’m setting up branded templates for my clients.

You’re probably expecting me to say well, your designs won’t be unique, making it harder for your message to grab the viewer’s attention, or to build top-of-mind awareness around your brand.

But what I actually want to point out, is that just like any software, it is a tool.

It is not a designer.

“So, why should I work with a designer?” (That’s you again).

You work with a designer for their expertise, that’s a given. But what does that actually mean?

Visual communication

When is the last time you thought about what a graphic designer actually does?
“Well, they make things look good, right?” Well, yes, but it always goes deeper than that

A graphic designer is literally trained in the art of visual communication. This is the language of everything you can see. In formal studies, we are taught how to communicate a key message using the principles of graphic design, so that it reaches its audience.

Whether it’s wayfinding signage, web icons, packaging, social media graphics, book illustration, a logo or advertising — they all have different communication needs, audiences and limitations.

A graphic designer uses balance, contrast, hierarchy, proportion, emphasis, rhythm; colour, type, shape, form — to name a few — to communicate the message required.

Over the years, we grow in skill and our eye for these things become more innate.

We know how to wrangle a message into visual form that will achieve results, and not just look good.

So yes, making things look good is an obvious result of working with a designer, but it’s also about effectively grabbing attention, getting your message across and coaxing the viewer to take some sort of action, and that is why it’s always a valuable investment to hire a designer rather than doing it yourself.

What’s the takeaway?

Yes, you can create your own designs quickly and easily that can look great.

But how do you know if it’s communicating your message effectively?

Is it reaching the right audience for your business, or creating the responses in your audience that your business needs to grow?

Like any other decision you make for your business, getting results should be your key consideration. And using design as a tool is no different.