Stuff We Like: Canva

Canva is one of the best visual tools on the web today. It is a graphic design tool that makes image crafting easy for entrepreneurs, writers, artists, and anyone else with an important web presence. While there's no shortage of image editors on the web today, Canva stands out for its breadth of options, wide focus, ease of use, and portability.

The software began as a simple online design tool allowing students and teachers to create their own yearbooks. The creators realized that the robust technology they'd developed could be applied far more broadly, and thus soon Canva was born and evolved into what we see today. It's now used by folks across the spectrum to design presentations, posters, charts, social media art, and so much more.

With Canva, I'm able to build imagery for websites, social media, and anywhere else I need to appear vital and interesting, without the hassle of juggling multiple apps. Here are a few reasons why it's worth your time:

Canva is tailored to your needs, asking new users what they do and presenting them with a list of likely scenarios for creating visual content. This means blog banners, photo collages, posters, and infographics if you, like me, typed in “writer.” Beyond these main categories, Canva allows you to narrow down your focus toward specific aims. Under posters, for example, the site offers templates for motivational, event, and a variety of other poster types. From there on, you can customize your design with any image, text, and built-in visual element on offer. It's a surprisingly adaptable set of tools that can scale from small-time social media to big-time business.

Canva allows for simple photo editing, with easy to use tools found in many of the best apps, along with the ability to craft myriad types of documents, including graphs. The power lies in its flexibility, acting as an approachable catch-all for most common visual needs. This makes it one of the only truly remarkable all-in-one approaches to design I've seen. Usually, an attempt to be everything to everyone ends with a failure to be anything to anyone, but Canva manages to fold in a range of uses to its friendly interface. Within this one space, you could conceivably concoct any and all visuals you may need for your site, blog, social media presence, or anywhere else you seek attention.

Canva also usefully offers its services via mobile app for both iPhones and iPads. This means that entrepreneurs, writers, and designers on the go can use all the same powerful features from virtually anywhere in the world. We're used to many professional sites having a mobile equivalent, but it's not often we run across one that packs the same set of tools into a portable package. With a touch and a swipe, you can be dropping attractive, professional-looking imagery onto your site from an airplane seat or hotel room, no computer required. It's refreshing, to say the least.

One of the coolest touches on the Canva website is an “Our Story” page that charts the development of the company from its origins right up through today, noting every employee that's joined the team along the way. It's a particularly personal touch that's often missing from today's overly-slick web ecosystem. Yet, strangely enough, the site itself, as much as the main visual toolset, is a smooth visual wonder. The aesthetic appeal of Canva's web presence is a fine reflection of the editing prowess it provides users. It's a final seal of confidence for a package that's eminently usable and useful in equal measure.

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