When and how to use Canva design templates for your business
Canva design templates have improved since its inception. Now you have the option to not only create social media posts from Canva design templates, but you also have the ability to learn how to make logos, ads, e-books and more.
With Pinterest being a main and heavy source for gainning blog traffic, Canva is a great choice for non-designers to find quality design templates for their business needs. Better yet, Canva now offers you design templates to help you create your whole brand for your business. You can start by designing your logo, then work your way across branding your business start-up’s social media outlets, and then any other miscellaneous public relation products you might need.
As a graphic designer, I’ve seen Canva pop-up in various spheres in the professional world. From small business start-ups to bigger, established industries. When you don’t have access to a graphic designer, especially a good, trusted designer, it can be easy to see the appeal of Canva’s pre-designed templates to solve all your public relation problems.
That being said, hiring or outsourcing reliable and established design work to a graphic designer is a worthy expense.
I don’t say this because it’s my industry, I want to appeal for your money, or as some sort of con to trick you into spending money. I say this to help you create a personal, professional brand that isn’t relied on a template.
Canva design templates are great for some things, like social media, but not for everything. Here is some of my graphic design advice to new business start-ups about Canva.
Social Media design templates: Yes
Reason: Small digital format, proven field success
Canva’s social media design templates are tried and proven among bloggers to be a great starting point for money-making blogs, online business start-ups, and many other professional niches.
Not only does Canva provide you with free social media design templates, but they also offer a wide variety of sources for social media design templates to choose from. Not a fan of Twitter? You can choose a design template for Instagram instead. You have a wide variety of sources and styles to choose from.
Alternative: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Gimp
Adobe is a paid program, now on a monthly basis, while Gimp is a free Photoshop resource. You can pay for the Adobe products individually or by a monthly membership to the cloud version.
I suggest these alternatives because they offer start-up businesses the chance to find their own styles rather than rely on pre-design templates but still offer them plenty of options to play around with. You can include text, effects, photos, solid colors, and more within each product.
Each requires a learning curve but the results are great once your learn the basics.
E-book design templates: Maybe
Reason: Simple digital formats
When you learn how to create an e-book, you are expected to make a book. The only difference is this book will not be printed in the foreseeable future.
For a web-based platform, e-books are great, and depending on the technique you want to stick with, can be fairly simple. If you aren’t having a printed book, I could see the appeal in creating a simple, short e-book from a Canva design template. If it’s longer or you decide to have it printed, I would invest in another program to produce your vision.
Alternative: Adobe InDesign, Publisher
I’ve seen a few long-formatted projects come from Canva. Most into hands of graphic designers from non-designers. I don’t know of any good reviews from the experience. I’ve even heard a few graphic designers ask what Canva is when inquiring where these designs came from, and not with good notations.
If you are attempting a long-format project, seek out a graphic designer who understands and works regularly with InDesign. I’ve also heard of good things in Publisher, but ideally Adobe InDesign is made to do the work for you and create the best results.
Booklets/Brochures design templates: No
Reason: Low print quality, long-format
Similarly to e-books, Canva’s booklet and brochure design templates require a long-formatting process. I can see many design templates for covers, which might be good to find inspiration, but in the overall scheme of things, it’s better to go with another program.
You might be saying, brochures aren’t that long. They aren’t in the scheme of things. But they still require a lot of formatting that is better suited for a long-formatted graphic designer. Again, finding inspiration from a Canva design template is a great starting point, but I would not trust the print quality and the long-format design.
Alternative: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign
I would prefer to use Adobe InDesign on this project but you could use Adobe Illustrator if you had any heavy graphic elements that you wanted to work into the design.
Adobe InDesign is great to work with when it comes to layout designs and long-formatted projects. Not only would your content be easier to manage, you will also be able to adequately grid and consistently place your content, whether that be images or text.
Flyer design templates: No
Reason: Print quality, unoriginal, ineffective
I personally come to love creating flyer designs. But personal feelings aside, I don’t think creating a flyer in Canva’s design templates is a good idea. Primarily because of the print quality.
Looking over the examples for Canva’s design templates for flyers, I was fairly underwhelmed. While I understand if you are strapped for cash and your resources are going towards another area of your start-up business, I suggest spending or bartering for a graphic designer’s help with a custom flyer. That way, you know your flyer won’t be the same as 100’s if not 1,000’s of others.
Alternative: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Publisher
I primarily use Adobe InDesign for my flyers, but I know Adobe Illustrator and Publisher can be good alternatives depending on your needs and expectations for your flyer.
Again, you might need Adobe Illustrator for some elements of your design, depending on how much illustration you might require, but as long as you have a grid in place with any of these programs, you should be set.
Web graphic design templates: Yes
Reason: Lower quality, supporting element
Web graphic design templates are meant to be a lower quality compared to print. Web graphics are usually somewhere around 72 dpi whereas print is around 300 dpi.
Similar to social media graphics, Canva design templates are made to be on the web and digital sources. When it comes to lower resolutions, Canva design templates are a great blog resource. Web graphics are also usually supporting elements towards a page’s content. An image might draw an audience member in, but the content is just as important and will tell the complete story.
Alternative: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Gimp
Most web graphics are simple to reconstruct and are not too intricate. Most graphics on Creatively Working are fairly straightforward, as are many web design graphics. If they happen to be an intricate design, an overarching theme and background tend to be the culprits, not the layout itself.
I would say Gimp would be your best free resource, but Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop are good paid options for a start-up business to invest in.
Logo design templates: No
Reason: Templates, unoriginal
I shy away from anything that does not help your start-up business stand out on its own. If you rely on a Canva design template, you’ve leaned on a crutch. If you are stuck and looking for inspiration from previous examples, look anywhere and everywhere for your inspiration. That being said, invest in a custom-made logo to help set your start-up business apart.
Logos are the face of your start-up business venture, besides your own. Invest in someone who knows how to brand, not only create logos, but can help you navigate your style for your ideal start-up business. Creating a trust-worthy brand experience is necessary for your business to succeed. While branding is more than your colors, patterns, and fonts, its root is tied in your consistent aesthetic reflected in your logo.
Alternative: Adobe Illustrator
If you don’t have the money to secure a graphic designer and see it as an imperative to make it a DIY project for your start-up business, invest in Adobe Illustrator and learn how to use it.
Adobe Illustrator will give you flexibility and allow you to create various formats for various types of logos and brandmarks you might see in a professionally-created brand. Not only will it allow you various formats, but will allow you more freedom in your illustrative needs when tweaking typefaces and creating illustrations for your logo.
Infographic design templates: Maybe
Reason: Quick digital versions, poor print quality
If you are sticking to use an Canva infographic design template online, I would say have at it. Sticking with one of Canva’s design templates for infographics are great for short content and quick outputs for online content, such as using Pinterest or a sub-graphic for a blog post.
Most of the design templates for infographics on Canva tend to be fairly simple. All of them are great for comparisons or timelines. I would hesitate before using it for a printed source, but otherwise, you might try them for digital or social media purposes.
Alternative: Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, Adobe Illustrator
If you’re looking for easy infographics, like pie or bar charts or line graphs, Microsoft has made some great tools in their software to create those types of infographs for you. The same can be found in Adobe Illustrator, but you would have to create new graphics when you receive updated data.
For more complicated or intricate infographics, I’d trust Adobe Illustrator the most. This program would allow you the most flexibility and the most creativity. If you were to hire a graphic designer, make sure they have previous experience and have a track record in creating similar projects you are looking at creating.
Business Card design templates: Maybe
Reason: Poor print quality, overused designs
I’m not a fan of using design templates for professional or career-centered materials. While business cards are a bit less in demand nowadays, they are still part of your personal brand you have concerning your professional career.
I’m not an avid fan of Canva’s print quality. That being said, you can still maybe get away with the format of these design templates if you are in a hurry, but I know there are better alternatives.
Moo.com specializes in professional products and personalizes your options for you. Instead of getting a traditional Canva design template, try out one of Moo.com’s various sizes, edge-formats, or specialized print options.
Not only does Moo.com have business card design templates, but they also carry a lot of other design templates for your smaller graphic design projects.
Resume design templates: No
Reason: Overused designs, patterns/graphics
I never recommend a design template for resumes. Resumes should be custom to each professional turning one in. If you need inspiration, take a look at Canva’s design templates, but please do not use an overused design template that helps you blend into the pack of applicants with you.
I also am a firm believer in keeping a resume simple. There are many aspects that can effect a resume’s readability, such as color blocks, graphics, and photos to name a few. Keeping it simple with spot colors and minimal graphics or colors will help you show off your skills more effectively.
Alternative: Adobe InDesign, Microsoft Word, Professional Resume Writer
If you feel capable, try your hand at Adobe InDesign, but Microsoft Word is a great alternative as well. If you want a truly personal touch for your resume, search out a professional resume writer or writing service. Not only will they create great resumes, they will also help you effectively word your resume for a great impact.
Adobe and Microsoft have been able to create various ways to format long-formatted content into bite-sized pieces that are great for resumes. Their formats will help you divide and optimize the content that you want to broadcast to your potential employers.
Canva offers many design templates for the non-designer, and offers many products to help you streamline and brand your business. But sometimes the free option can do more harm in the long-run compared to investing a bit in your start-up business at the beginning to learn a more proven method of doing things.
If you want to learn graphic design tips and free resources for your start-up business, sign-up for my bi-monthly e-newsletter. I’ll offer tips for the most professional and career-minded options for your design needs.