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A free tool for creating visuals

September 19, 2014

canva-logoCanva is a free, easy-to-use tool for producing visuals. You start by choosing one of twenty formats – from presentation to poster to business card to Twitter header. Then select a layout: either a preset with colors and fonts and sample images, or a space divided into regions. Finally, drag-and-drop items and change the text to make it yours. When you’re done, download the image as a low-res PNG file or high-res PDF. Social media users can share on Facebook or Twitter.

Personalize  your visual by adding images. The site provides a limited number of free ones, but they make their money by renting very nice images for the reasonable fee of $1 each. The for-pay photos are clearly branded with a watermark and chain-link fence pattern so you won’t use them by mistake. Users are also welcome to upload their own images at no charge.

Business card created with CanvaThe poster and presentation formats are two likely ones for students to use in a college course. To get them started, Canva offers several interactive Design Tutorials.

Make no mistake; this is neither PhotoShop nor QuarkXPress. There are no drop shadows and limited bells and whistles, but that’s okay. Fewer choices can often be a good thing. At right is a business card I was able to create in a matter of minutes. PC World gave the site 4.5/5 stars and I concur that Canva is worth a look.

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