Disclaimer: I love illustrators and designers. I work with them all the time to deliver the finished content piece.
I heard something from a graphic designer that shook my belief system 🙂 There was also another manager on this call, mediating our conversation. So, this is how the conversation went.
Manager: I find it challenging to deliver quick and good design in the absence of a designer.
Me: Why is that so? Why don’t you use Canva? I use it all the time.
Graphic Designer: Canva is a joke. I will finish this task with Adobe. For design, Canva is so limited, we can hardly do anything with it.
Me (in silence): Really?!!, But, I use it everyday.
This conversation stirred a revelation in me. Synapses in my brain were blocked with the following questions.
“Why don’t I use Adobe tools if they are so good? Am I being foolish to use something like Canva?”, “Am I being too complacent with Canva?” “I am not reaching out for excellence when it comes to data visualization and graphical representation.” … this went on blah, blah, blah. I thought ‘probably that is why I create some as basic as this.’ But, it took me a few minutes to create it and share on my Insta handle.
And, then I recalled why I attempted to explore Canva in the first place. This tool was referred to me by a colleague who managed operations. And, I could take his word. I did a little research and Guy Kawasaki, the social media guru, and ex-Apple evangelist was evangelizing Canva. If Canva was so highly trusted, then I wondered “why not in the designer community?”.
The answer is simple. Canva is not meant for the designer community.
Honestly, the population of design illiterates like me is a lot more than those who are adept at designing. And, I’m not a designer. It would take me longer to understand the little icons on any of the Adobe applications and apply my creativity and design thinking to illustrate a message or idea than to just use a well-designed template from Canva.
This is not about what is better. This is a message to Product Owners and Content Managers about ‘Target Audience’. Here, let me borrow something from the marketing guru, Seth Godin, an inspiration to many aspiring marketers.
Everyone is not your Customer — Seth Godin
Canva, an Australian startup, led by a woman has received multiple rounds of funding and brings something for me to learn and share about.
Canva’s team has built this product to empower design illiterates like me to create super awesome graphical content that supports and complements textual content, with speed, and across diverse digital media.
I managed to create a funny comic series for some of earlier posts. They look like this.
I used it to create my portfolio, proposals, and blog images on this website. Here is a grid that I use to share the content solutions that I offer as a part of Content Strategy Services.
I don’t just use it for work, but used it to create digital invitations for free, for my baby shower, my daughter’s birthday and a friend’s party.
Every person involved in disseminating information, at some point feels handicapped without design support. Because it not just about beautifying a message, but also about understanding collateral sizes for different marketing channels, thinking through color palettes that align with the branding manual, going through the arduous process of creating templates and facing the hardships of finding an ace designer. Too much to deliver something quick.
Canva has eliminated all these challenges for non-designers. So, it is really a design tool for non-designers. This explains why expert graphic designers and illustrators hate it. It is not meant for them. Its target audience is so well articulated and shows up in the way the product is delivered.
BTW, I am not selling Canva. I really like it. And, I think Canva would be a great buy for Adobe to expand its design community!