Hello, hello friends! I’ve been exploring new creation mediums lately and have really been experimenting with creating my own informatics/graphics that I’ve then used to post onto the ol’ Gram. Fun fact — I used to LOVE doing this in journalism school, and even went on to have a job as a social media manager for one of ASU’s Downtown offices during my master’s year. I absolutely love designing graphics for social media! However, I really find that graphics can be hits or misses. I try to draw inspiration from accounts I love on Instagram (check out @hartmedia_org and @socialsavvyhq for some amazing content inspo!) and Pinterest. These are great spaces to get your creative juices flowin’ for some amazing inspiration.
Why I Use Canva
I love using Canva for a number of reasons. First of all, the platform is so stinkin’ intuitive, it makes designing so easy-peasy. You can drag and drop, easily resize different elements, change the colors of them, space out your fonts… you name it, it can do it. And it doesn’t take a whole lot of figuring out, either! The platform is so easy to use that it puts Adobe to shame (whoops). Canva was, interestingly enough, created by a gal who wanted to be able to create graphics on her own easily and quickly — and boom! Canva was born.
Secondly, they have a ton of templates to choose from. You can pick the size you need — whether it be Instagram stories, square social media posts, Facebook cover photos, blog graphics, resumes… literally anything you could ever need. It automatically sizes the elements of your graphic to fit it perfectly so that the resolution is perfect and it looks amazing. Plus, the platform has a ton of templates for that specific graphic if you aren’t feeling quite creative. These templates are pretty sick, to be honest. Whoever their graphic designers are, they’ve done amazing work coming up with modern designs that are effortlessly cool and chic.
Lastly, it’s affordable. For just $12.95 a month, you have full access to premium Canva, which gives you access to amazing stock photos, graphic elements and super cute/cool fonts. Also, Canva gives you access to so many different courses to teach you about marketing, brand kits, promotions, etc. I haven’t given them a shot but I intend to this winter break!
Doesn’t Everyone Use It, Though?
The short answer is… yes. Why wouldn’t they? It’s an amazing platform and it has, what seems like, endless possibilities for designs. However, if you steer towards using a template all the time, it can seem a bit repetitive. If you use the graphic templates, be sure to make some changes like the color, placement or font to make it more “you” and harder for someone else to replicate to the T.
Incredible New Features
I feel like Canva gets better and better every year. I’ve been using it since my sophomore year of college (whew, 100 years ago), and they’ve really amped up the features to make it even more user-friendly and perfect for a blogger gal. This year, they rolled out a new Video Beta feature, which allows you to turn Stories or Social Media posts into a video using animation stickers that really amp up your design game. I love using these for still graphic posts just to catch readers’ eyes so that they can stop scrolling!
The Coolest Feature: Brand Kit
I absolutely LOVE that you can upload your brand kit into Canva. That’s a genius idea, and hats off to whoever thought through that. The Brand Kit feature allows you to upload the colors of your brand (down to the HEX code), and upload your fonts. You can change your Heading styles, as well as your font preferences so that it’s all saved and ready to go when you create a new design. This is SO MUCH BETTER than having to go back and forth, input your design colors each and every time, and adjust the font. I can literally create a graphic when I need it in 5 minutes because of this feature, and I love it.
The Process of Designing
Okay, okay. So, I’ve already pretty much touched on how to draw inspiration for a graphic. Now, let’s get into designing. Usually, I stay with pretty much the same design for all of my stories — I go for a clean, white background, with my logo at the bottom. Then, I will usually start by writing a title on the first slide.
Designing Story Sequences
When you’re designing a story sequence, you really want to think through how users utilize the feature on Instagram. A good way to do this is recognize and take note of how you yourself use it. Or, you can ask your followers what they prefer. Do they click through stories quickly or let them play out fully? (Chances are, they probably click through). So, take this into account when building a sequence. Since I know people are going to click through, I create stories by putting one sentence on the slide, duplicating the slide, then adding the next sentence.
Something I’ve been doing lately that my audience has really been loving (and, subsequently, why I’m even writing this post at all), are my informatics. These are things I particularly love to see on my own feed, so I thought about trying my hand at creating them and they have been super successful!
To design these, you want to start off with a message. Write it down or have a list; then think through what type of photo you picture going along with this. For example, for my removal of Instagram likes infographic, I wanted to utilize a phone with something on the screen (I tried so many things on the screen before finally deciding on an animation). I’ve also been trying to incorporate roman numerals into my branding, just since I really find that they pair well with my designs/branding.
The rest was just a matter of clicking and dragging elements, trying them out, asking Austen how they looked, etc. Now, that last bit is crucial. Asking someone near you if they can clearly read the infographic is very important because, while you’re designing, your zoomed in view may not be a very good basis for readability.
I’ll be uploading more hyper-lapse videos over on my Instagram of designing different graphics, so be sure to follow me over on that platform for some examples! I urge you to try out Canva for yourself. I’m sure you’ll love it!