I'm a writer by training and can fill a sheet of paper with a story in no time.
But I am not a visual designer or artist — give me that same sheet of paper and ask me to draw a picture? You'll get a stick figure. And graphic design? Ha! Let's just say when I became a Macaroni Kid publisher that was the aspect of it I was most worried about.
But another publisher, seeing my panic, introduced me almost right away to Canva.com, a free graphic design platform that includes hundreds of templates and makes it easy to create beautiful and professional-looking designs in just minutes.
Canva's mission? To empower everyone in the world to design anything and publish anywhere.
Given how confident I am now, when faced with a graphic designing task, I'd say they're doing a great job of succeeding at that mission. I even find Canva — dare I say it — fun.
Canva is so easy to use that I am designing everything from GIF ads to memes on it for Macaroni Kid Erie. I use Canva — not exaggerating — every single day.
And as a mom?
Let's just say Canva is one of those rare mom finds — it saves money, saves time, and makes me look like I have it all together. (In fact, I most definitely do not.)
Here are just a few of the ways I've used Canva in just the past few months:
Custom birthday party invites
There's a template for that. In fact, there are HUNDREDS of templates for that. This is the free template my son chose for his party:
Creating a newsletter
Asked to create a newsletter for a nonprofit? Sure. Give me 30 minutes on Canva and I'll give you a beautifully designed newsletter ready to send. I used this free template to get started:
Fun Father's Day printable
I custom-made this free Father's Day printable on Canva for my kids to fill out, and liked it so much I ended up sharing it on Macaroni Kid!
Graphics for a school project
When my daughter needed to find graphics to add to her poster-sized timeline for school, I knew just where to send her. Canva.com!
I have even used Canva to make fun Zoom backgrounds for my kids during the pandemic.
I know teachers who use Canva for lesson plans and business owners who use Canva for everything from business cards to flyers.
There are even customizable gifts like mugs, photo books, and T-shirts on Canva.
Want to know how to get started? Canva's design school offers videos, tutorials, and even free online events.
How to use it
Want to give Canva a try? Start by creating a free account. You'll instantly get access to thousands of free templates that make it easy to customize with just a few clicks, or start fresh and create your own. You can upload your own photos or search Canva's library of images, graphics, videos, and even audio clips. Their free account offers a TON of features like:
- 250,000+ free templates
- 200,000 free photos
- 57,000 graphic design elements
- 1,700 free fonts
I could go on ... but that should be enough to get you started!
Canva also offers special accounts for educators and nonprofits that are 100% free! I love that. One of their core values is "being a force for good." It's not just words: They also champion diversity and inclusion through initiatives like their Diverse Creator Fund and educational courses like one titled "Designing for Accessibility." I love companies where I wholeheartedly appreciate and support their product and also feel good about what steps they're taking as a company to be more inclusive and diverse.
Canva has become an indispensable tool in my life and I hope that you find it just as useful. So go forth, unleash that creativity, and give Canva a try today!
The author received compensation for this review. All thoughts and opinions are her own.