Canva Won't Make You a Designer
I want to start this post with a disclaimer - I do love Canva, Pablo, and other similar sites and programs. They make design accessible without having to shell out a fortune on expensive design programs. And even better, you don't have to spend months or even years learning how to use them.
However my problem is this...
They won't automatically make you a designer in the same way that owning a camera doesn't make you a photographer.
If you've ever used ready-made templates before you may have already come across this problem. For example:
You pick a beautiful template to modify. It looks great, really professional and exactly what you need. However as soon as you start to put your own text and imagery in it suddenly doesn't look as great.
Professional graphic designers spend years learning about colour theory, spacing, typography, hierarchy etc.
Eddie Rice has a great article on Medium that covers this a lot more eloquently than I could ever do - but I truly believe in what he is saying. I have seen it time and time again in my job as an in house graphic designer.
Where my opinion starts to deviate from Eddie's though is this.
The times they are, unfortunately for some, a changing
We all must move with them. Thirty years ago the wedding photography industry was dominated by a few wealthy, mostly male photographers who could afford the expensive photography equipment and who had spent years apprenticing and learning their craft.
Nowadays cameras are a lot less expensive and digital photography is a much more forgiving medium than film, so it is a quicker skill to learn. There is also a wealth of photography information and courses out there for people to learn from. Combined this all makes it a more accessible profession to get in to.
Don't get me wrong, its still takes a lot of hard work and years of studying, but it is no longer such an elitist profession.
I have seen a lot of 'old school' photographers feel threatened by more and more people entering 'their' industry. It opens up more competition and lowers prices for the consumers.
Similarly, when micro stock photo sites like istock came onto the scene suddenly photographers could charge a lot less for their work.
However, the more business savy photographers moved with the times and created new ways of doing things that helped them dominate this new industry.
So am I threatened by programs that let people make graphic designs without a designer?
No, not really because I know I still have a lot to offer. For example, instead of hoarding away my graphic design knowledge as some kind of precious commodity, I want to share it.
So how do I make great looking imagery for my blog or social media accounts?
Well you could hire a professional designer, however I realise that this is probably not an option for you otherwise you wouldn't be reading this post.
Instead you could learn some basics of graphic design so that when you use pre-built templates they will look fantastic!
- Canva itself has a fantastic design school which is a series of blog posts and lessons on the basics of design.
- There are some great tutorial sites out there such as Skillshare which has a massive array of lessons you can learn from.
- Or you can follow my blog series on my company's site, Design for non Designers which will deliver a series of lessons on the basics of design.
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