UPDATE MAY 2015 – Get on the early notification list for the business edition of Canva with even more features to help you be efficient and effective with your visual content creation.
If you have been reading my articles and watching my video tutorials about visual content marketing over the last year, you will know that I have referenced one of the tools I use (almost every day) and recommend – Canva.
As it is approaching a year since I started to use the platform I thought I would reflect on my use of the platform, the developments we have seen and what is on my wish list for new releases.
How I Use Canva for Visual Content Marketing
I was delighted to get early access to Canva last Fall.
Since then I have used their platform to create images for blog posts, Facebook, GooglePlus cover images, Hangouts On Air, Instagram, Pinterest, SlideShare, Twitter posts and headers, YouTube channel art and custom thumbnails and in-person presentations.
Canva is a tool I use almost every day, and despite it’s popularity and the fact it is free to access, suprisingly they have been available almost 100 percent of the time. More of that later.
How Canva Has Developed Over The Last 12 Months
Over the year they have continued to develop the platform with new templates released for Facebook apps, Kindle ebook covers, Twitter posts, real estate flyers and most recently the introduction of templates for Podcast art given the rising popularity of podcasts.
They have also introduced the ability to create images to your own dimensions.
Most of the content is available for use on their site is free and if you want to use their stock images it costs only 1 usd per image which is far less expensive than most stock image sites.
They have also brought onboard my friend Guy Kawasaki as an ambassador and it has been interesting to follow their continued expansion and growth of their team.
At the same time the Canva team have created lots of educational content on their blog and throught heir YouTube videos to help users become more effective in using their tools.
My Canva Wishlist That Would Power Up Our Visual Content Marketing
So you might be wondering what on earth I might want form this free tool, given all the great features it has already.
Well here is my wish list and I hope the Canva elves might be listening:
1. Templates sized for YouTube custom thumbnails and channel art. With video content becoming increasingly important and the fact that effective channel art and custom thumbnails will help people understand what they will learn if they subscribe to your channel and watch your videos, this would be a welcome new feature from Canva.
I created my own channel art for the YouTube one channel design, but I am sure I could have done a more professional job if there was a template in Canva. And each time I publish a video on YouTube I have to create a custom size for the thumbnail image so a template would be a time saver for my workflow.
2. The ability to have a transparent png background to images. I have been using Canva to create some images for a new training programme but in some cases the background main image I am creating does not have a square or rectangular shape which means that I can not easily crop it in another tool to then overlay on other materials.
A transparent background on which I could create my art work in Canva would help immensely.
3. An easy to reference library of content. Having created probably a couple of hundred images and uploading around the same number of my own images to Canva over the last year, I find it is sometimes difficult to find previous content that I wast to remix and adapt. I sometimes find that my uploaded images are not visible.
It would be great to be able to archive the content (both uploaded and created images) in folders which are searchable. I really like the fact that all the layers are in place when I go back to edit or re-mix an image unlike in other software, but being able to quickly find content would be helpful.
4. A method of easily colour matching. In other visual content creation platforms there is a ‘eye or colour dropper’ tool to match colours. This is particularly useful if you want to match the colour of a Canva element to an image you have imported.
My current work around is to use a third party tool I have installed on my computer to identify the colour I want to match.
5. Enabling the images that are created in one size to be resized into other dimensions. This is my biggest wish of all! If you truly want to optimise your visual content marketing, you need to develop content that is optimised for the different channels that you use.
For example the image I created with Canva for this artitcle would work fine on Twitter and LinkedIn but is not an optimal size for Pinterest. If I want to create a new image for Pinterest I have to start again from scratch. I would love to be able to re-mix an image into a different dimension to ease my visual content workflow. I have to do this for every episode of the ‘Visual Content Marketing Show’ or blog posts that I want to optimise for sharing across a multitude of social networks.
So that is my Christmas wish list should the Canva team be listening!
Other features worth noting that would be nice to see:
– I mentioned earlier in the article that Canva has little down time. A few weeks ago the platform was not available and I was suprised that I did not see messages on their social media channels keeping people informed of the issues. They did reply to people who posted asking if there was an issue, but I would have appreciated pro-active messaging as the service was not available for a considerable number of hours
– it would be great to see further additions to the fonts available and even the ability to use your own fonts. I have noticed that some of the blog posts on the Canva site seem to use fonts that are not available in the tool. This would help organisations remain consistent with their visual identity and also help minimise the ‘sameness’ of the creations from Canva – it’s often easy to spot visual content created in Canva.
If you have not tried using Canva yet, I highly recommedn that you do so – it’s probably the best Christmas gift you could give yourself to assist you with your visual content marketing.
If you use Canva what would be on your Christmas wish list?
By the way, it’s not to early to start to think about your Christmas visual content marketing – for inspiration on how I used Canva last year see this tutorial.