Like many of our readers, we have to do presentation design or graphics for our magazine. With the complex landscape of social media and the lack of standardization, you have to get creative for how you can implement and represent your brand across multiple platforms. Not an easy task.
So take a test drive with us and experience how we created our own branded graphics across branded graphics style and extensions. We share the steps we took to create banners for Google+, Twitter, Facebook, and even the “Editor’s Note” image we created for this article. Using pre-sized templates to create branded banners across platforms is efficient and saves you lots of time (and less gray hair!)
For this test drive, we choose to use Canva, an online graphic design platform. They offer a wide range of pre-sized templates, images, and typefaces to choose from. Their drag and drop feature makes it easy to create multiple versions – I like to do that to see visually what I like, and it stimulates others ideas. So let’s have fun!
I have seen Guy Kawasaki demonstrate Canva and how he uses it at The Presentation Summit in New Orleans and at two other conferences here in the San Francisco Bay area. His passion and imagination for designs bring alive the power of what you can do. He says, “Canva is democratizing design.” What he means is that Canva is a technology that enables the everyman to do graphic design with customizable templates and industry standard templates for social media and marketing materials We can now add banners to our social media profiles. But creating them is simple and easy to do. That is where the power of Canva shows how smart their technology is.
First, they have already built custom layouts for each social media platforms with the “correct” sizes for each. All you have to do is customize it for your brand. First, you choose your platform, and the size is correct for where you need it – no more trying to figure it out in PowerPoint or opening a huge project file in Photoshop or Illustrator.
Just select the specific banner you will need for your social media account and start designing:
Putting Canva to the Test:
I selected the Instagram banner so I could create the “Editor’s Note” graphic at the top of this article. Let me explain how I created it. First, I found the graphic image I wanted to use on Big Stock.
Next, I uploaded the graphic to the template then added two lines of text to make it mine. I also played around with some sizes and layouts that I thought would be additional options:
And then I decided to use a different layout and by using a variety of fonts to personalize it –
It was easy to do, and it looks very professional. You can drag and drop individual elements so you can find the right formula for what your design goals are.
How we used Canva-designed banners in our social media:
We also used Canva to create PresentationXpert’s social media banner. We created a brand for the social media look then we implemented across all the social media platforms.
One of the features that made it easy to create banners for Twitter, Google+, Facebook and others. Check them out below:
In creating some these banners, I discovered that Canva offers a “magic resize” option which offers you an easy way to create different size and type banners for different projects. It is as simple as clicking a few buttons and “Abracadabra – Resize!”. You can remix and reuse your design project by accessing them in your library.
This is just one example of a “How To” tip I found on Canva’s website and their wealth of resources and idea books to get you started. They offer several “design school” online courses that are great primers for designers. You can definitely enhance your skill set with some of their well-executed ideas.
How does Canva fit with PowerPoint?
Good question.We asked Presentation Studio’s Emma Bannister, who is a member of Canva Experts Design Community. Their members are leaders in the design industry who are passionate about Canva and committed to changing the way we think about design. Here is her viewpoint:
“The presentation layouts in Canva are simple and contemporary. It’s super-easy to click and drag to create professional looking designs. Utilize the numerous royalty free templates (see terms and conditions) or simply using them to kick-start your creativity. All you have to do is change the text to suit your needs! Editing of imagery is simple and efficient (think Instagram). Once your presentation is complete, share finished files via email or social media. Plus you can download a print quality PDF – perfect for hosting your presentations on slideshare.com.
Canva isn’t PowerPoint or Prezi. If you want animation or interactive presentations you won’t find it here. You can’t drag files into PowerPoint. Your only option of reusing assets is to save as a PDF and import the art files into illustrator and then reconvert. Not something I would suggest – why would you need to?
Yet Canva is a great resource for Infographics and typography layouts. If you’re a designer and know what you’re doing, Illustrator has more professional features. But for the everyday user who just needs an idea, and simple tools to create layouts Canva provides so many solutions. Just take a template, and follow your nose!”
Thanks, Emma! In my opinon, Canva is a great compliment to PowerPoint or any other design platform. The only limit is your imagination.
About Sharyn Fitzpatrick:
Sharyn has been part of the PresentationXpert team since June 2012. She is the host and produces all of our webinars in addition to her new duties as editor. Her journalism background, her love of design and technology gives her a passion for anything to do with presentations. In addition to PresentationXpert, Sharyn is the Chief Marketing and Webinar Guru at Marcom Gurus which she started the agency in 2000 and is known as the “Webinar Chick” online. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter, @PXpert and @themarcomguru.