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Canva, amazing tool or a threat to designers?

Canva Design Tool

Canva: Amazing tool or a threat to designers?

Launched in 2013, Canva is an online design and publishing tool with the mission to empower everyone in the world to design anything and publish anywhere.

I must accept that when I first heard of Canva some years back I didn’t take it so seriously and I thought it was going to be like any other pseudo “design” platform that tried to make “everyone” a designer, but wouldn’t be successful. With the pass of time more and more people and surprisingly also companies started using this platform 😨.

I might not speak only for myself when I say that when this platform slowly started to feel like a threat to us designers, that it might steal our jobs with the passing of time 🤡 BUT whenever you are most afraid, you also have to be the breavest and that’s when I tried Canva myself to understand why this thing was so popular and whether it was really that good?

After using Canva for some social media content planning and template designs, I can honestly say… It is pretty cool and I totally understand why people like it. 😂

Well… To that I have 3 Pros and 3 Cons of using Canva, that I’ve learned from using Canva for some time 😎.

Pros


1. It saves you tons of time for certain tasks:

For example resizing social media posts to different platforms, or applying your brand identity with a few easy clicks.

2. It’s really user friendly:

As a designer I have quite some experience with other professional design programs, and I have to say that the UI of Canva is really fun and easy to use.

3. You can share your projects easily with clients:

Making feedback rounds is surprisingly easy with Canva since you can share and give editing permissions to your clients. You can even leave the designs pre-finished so they can edit texts or some little details later.

Cons

 

 1. You get to the limits fast:

As a designer I achieve Canva’s limit to design and edit pretty fast. I realized this is a platform where you can edit pre-finished stuff really quickly, but whenever you want to create something on your own from scratch it turns into a pain in the ass and doesn’t save you time at all. On the contrary it often takes longer.

2. Canva edits, a designer thinks:

Well, this one is pretty obvious but still worth to say it. There is just no comparison between using Canva and working with a real designer. Normally, all finished product are based on lots of user research, target group analysis and many other strategic processes involved while designing. Getting a finished logo and just editing the name isn’t exactly what a designer does, it’s actually just a small percentage of it.

3. Cheap can be expensive in the long run:

Some entrepreneurs/ companies might think that they can solve anything with pre-finished templates. Even take a logo and just edit the name and that creates a whole brand identity. Well, as you might’ve expected this is not the case and going for the cheapest option in the beginning might not be the smartest way to go if you have some bigger plans for your company. Investing in a professional to create a good strategy right from the beginning will probably save you time and effort.

In conclusion…

 

For designers

Don’t see Canva as a competition, rather see it as an ally. Try to work together with your clients or your colleagues and try to guide them to which is the most useful tool in order to get the best results.

If Canva is a tool people in your working environment are familiar with, try to do the real from-scratch design process somewhere else and use Canva to do the sharing and feedback. It doesn’t make you any less of a designer to adapt to your environment’s needs and it can actually make these last steps go smoothly! It’s often not worth to enter the discussion whether Canva does the job of a designer or not, because as we saw it clearly has big limitations and it won’t replace the expertise of a designer.

If you position yourself as a design consultant or a design expert, your job clearly goes way beyong editing pre-finished templates 😉

For companies:

I can recognize the benefits of using a cost-saving tool such as Canva. Nevertheless, give a good thought if you might need a real designer to help you establish some guidelines and most importantly the strategy of the design before starting to create graphics.

Although this option seems more expensive in the begininng, see it as a long-term investment. You can’t solve everything with pre-designed templates and if you have future plans to be recognized as a well-established company, you might want to save yourself some frustration, time and money and hire a proper designer from the get-go.

After your brand has been established you can always use Canva for template creation and sharing! 👍🏽

#graphicdesigner #visualdesigner #webdesigner #design #fucsiadesign #canva #designtool

Fucsia Design_Freelance

Did you find this post interesting? Get in touch with me!

Alexa Nieto Manzano
Visual & Web Designer
Mannheim, Germany

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Work samples during interviews, questionable practice?

Young female candidate is interviewed by employer businesswoman

Are free design samples during a recruitment process necessary or advantageous?

Imagine you apply for a job, have the first and second interview, everything is going fine but suddenly the company asks you to deliver a detailed design task to test your skills. 😮

This is a real example of a “work sample”

A colleague of mine got this task while going through an interview process:

  • Task 1: Create a landing page for the company. Send it as PDF.
  • Task 2: Create a print ad in DIN A4 and create a text proposal for it. Send the open InDesign File.
  • Task 3: Start an order in Flyeralarm to print a pen with the company’s Logo. Send the open InDesign File.

I myself have experienced this first hand not only by handing in tasks per mail with the raw files, but also have even completed full 8 hour working days at the company’s office, just so they can test my skills as a designer.

From the company’s perspective

I can totally understand that companies:

  • Don’t want to hire the wrong person for the job
  • Want to make sure the person has the skills they need for the job
  • Want to have multiple samples from candidates that they can choose the best from

On the other hand,

From the applicant’s perspective

These expectations could bring  some ethical and professional issues with it:

  • Ideas are hard to protect and our intellectual property is at high risk
  • Our work can be used later without our permission, and it’s practically impossible to do something about it
  • We are working for free for a lucrative company without any remuneration
  • We have an extensive portfolio we invested tons of hours in making as proof of all our years of experience 

Hiring someone or in the case of the applicant accepting a job offer is always a risk, for BOTH parties. But taking the risk and hoping for the best is just a normal part of the process, don’t you think? And to minimize risk, the company still has 3 insurance measures on hand: the portfolio, interview questions, and if thats not enough the company still can get rid of an unqualified employee during the trial period.

Companies shouldn’t abuse their position of power to force applicants to deliver work for free. 👆🏽 There are sufficient and proportionate means for a company to determine wether the applicant is the right fit even without free “work samples”!

This is my proposal to make the creative industry a fairer and equitable world

If you are a company you can consider the next points: 

  •  Pay for the work

    If you didn’t love the work sample but still asked for it, pay a fair amount for the time the applicant invested in doing it. That way if the person is not hired, you still could show respect and appreciation for his/her time.  
  • Offer time compensation if hired

    If you loved the work sample and are sure this is the right person for the job, offer him/her some time compensation once this person starts officially to work at the company. 
  • Ask for a fictional task, nothing company related

    There is just no way to justify why a company would ask for a task related to current company projects nor why a company should need raw/ open files only to test your skills. To respect the intelectual property of applicants at least use ficitional tasks. 
  • Choose one project of the applicants portfolio to discuss together

    You can ask the applicant for more details about one portfolio project of your choice. How it originated, which tools did he/she use, how was the process from beginning to end? You can normally spot a good designer just by asking deeper questions.

These are some good examples of how you can value the time of the applicants and still know you are making the right decision. Creating a more human and equitable working culture is a sustainable strategy to keep employees happy and your inbox full of applications with the best talents out there.😉

If you are a company that has been doing this practice until now but didn’t know why it could be a bit difficult for designers, no problem. It’s not the intention to shame anyone. The intention is to work together for a fairer working culture 💜

Have you gone through similar processes like this? And if so, for which position were you applying for? I would love to read more about your experience in the comments below. 😍

#graphicdesigner #visualdesigner #webdesigner #design #fucsiadesign #recruiting #hr #recruitingprocess #workingculture #fairness

Fucsia Design_Freelance

Did you find this post interesting? Get in touch with me!

Alexa Nieto Manzano
Visual & Web Designer
Mannheim, Germany

Follow me on LinkedIn and don’t miss any new blogposts!