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Canva: Graphic design for dummies

When it comes to Photoshop skills, I like to describe myself as a “seasoned beginner.” With so many ways to accomplish the same effect, I’ve always viewed the software as a conundrum. It’s an easy excuse to say that I never have enough time to learn more. But when it’s crunch time and I need a last-minute graphic, I’m at a loss, with no easy way forward.

Canva is the easy solution. This free, online software describes itself as making “design simple for everyone.” It provides ready-to-use templates for everything from blog banners to business cards. I value their social media templates most; the exact dimensions and layouts for each platform makes it easy to transform marketing campaign graphics from one social media account to another.

canva 1

Canva offers preset layouts, as well. If you’d rather create your graphic from scratch, there’s a simple toolbar on the side that contains a variety of font options, images and illustrations. The drag-and-drop editor enables anyone and everyone to use it — even those who aren’t seasoned Photoshop beginners.

Canva 2

Canva prides itself in making design simple, but is it too simple? By simplifying the functions, it limits design possibilities. I’ll admit that there have been times when I was unable to create an effect in Canva that I know is possible in Photoshop. When it comes down to it, online tools like Canva are great for discovering new ideas for graphics and creating quick and simple designs, but if you have a specific design in mind, programs like Photoshop and InDesign will always deliver.

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Family: Grew up in Milwaukee as the youngest of three. Is the youngest child spoiled? Maybe, but I’m also the funniest. 
I’m known in the office for . . . Being the newbie, terrible dad puns and my weird obsession with Irish folk bands.
My superpower: Telling stories. 
Brush with greatness: I’ve met the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Jonas Brothers…not at the same time. 
Professional accomplishment I’m most proud of: Landing a great job right after graduation and not moving back in with my parents.
Favorite thing about working at AMPED: The people. I knew I had found a great office when realizing that “going for a doughnut run” involved lots of doughnuts and little running.

Kara Miller has a degree in History and Communications from UW-Madison.


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Guest Sunday, March 18, 2018