One of the projects I’ve been working on for the last few months has been an Onboarding Program for our Retail business. In the near future, when the program has been implemented into the business, I will write it up as a case study as not only was it the result of some pressing business performance problems but it also had multiple stakeholders with competing interests. There were some points of difference to some other projects I have worked on which also created issues and challenges for the credibility of Learning and Development. Nevertheless, it’s been an opportunity to cut through the internal politics and present a performance solution for the business which is underpinned by a social learning program which involves the contribution and participation of a wider organisational community through our social networking platform, Yammer.
Although I will not go into the details of the project here, I’d like to share a tip with you that you may use in your own work.
My Project Brief
My brief on this project was that there was no additional resources and that I was to use only internal systems, tools and programs that was readily available as there was no budget. (Zip, zero, nada).
Nothing much more to add really. That was crystal clear.
In my previous blog post, I talked about the various roles that learning professionals have to do in organisations that have streamlined their functions. In this role, I had to be a graphic designer too.
We outsource our graphic design needs to external providers but all requests go through the branding team. Out of curiosity (remember, I had no money), I asked about the process for engaging the graphic designers to undertake this work. I had some old graphics which I reused but some of them referenced programs that were now outdated. This meant that I had to re-engage the agency who had the original source files to edit the text within the graphic. Since the graphics were designed some years ago, we couldn’t find where these files were located, which agency worked on them and necessitated that the graphics be redesigned. This process would have meant an extensive design brief with the branding team, sourcing, contracting, briefing the agency and a series of version controls to the final product – all up they estimated it would take up to 8 weeks at thousands of dollars.
It was at this point I cursed that I didn’t get my father’s highly artistic and creative genes. I would have asked him to do this for me but…as he has told me many times before that he doesn’t work for free.
I stumbled upon a website called Canva through a Scoop It post of a curator I follow and immediately signed up for an account.
Let me say, for a beta account, it’s been a website that I have consistently used in my role for creating some visually appealing designs for my work. These could be jazzing up my emails, creating banners for learning materials such as documents and presentations and also creating graphics for websites. Sometimes, I just go in it to have a bit of a muck around when I’m bored.
If you have no graphic design bone in your body, check out Canva as an alternative method to using Powerpoint templates or images.
Here are some examples of some basic images I created for the Onboarding Program in our corporate colours. They are not the full range and by no means the most creative but it’s just enough to give you an idea. (All these have been edited in some way to protect information).
Benefits of Using Canva:
- Quick to learn, easy to use, fun to play
- Variety of templates [Cards, Facebook covers, Social Media, Document, Poster, Card, Invitation, Business Card]
- Pre-loaded graphics [Lines, Banners, Grids, Infographics, Web Wire Frames, Frames, Grids, Symbols, Stickers, Arrows, Dress Ups and many more – all free]
- There are graphics that are extra at $1 per piece which you pay for after you have completed your design
- You can download your design to your computer or share a link to publish it on social media
- There is a blog that has some good ideas about visual design
Benefits of Using Canva:
It’s something other than the standard Powerpoint template and Microsoft icon look for your presentations as it does the ‘visual thinking’ for you through a funky templates that you can easily customise. In meetings and presentations to your stakeholders and teams, it ‘pops’ on the big screen and creates a talking point.
For example, I was asked by a few people to have these images replicated and sent to them so that they could put them into their own Powerpoint packs to present to their leadership team.
There is also much choice for free graphics and I haven’t yet had to pay for additional design.
Challenges of Using Canva:
Interestingly, it’s not the tool that presents a challenge to the organisation – people generally love the idea that they can use this and similar tools for their work to present their concepts and plans, it’s what information goes IN it.
We discussed the pros and cons of using open source apps and programs like this and the general consensus was that there needs to be a mindfulness of what information is being displayed. For example, many people use infographic tools to present data and statistics but they need to check and double check that no sensitive or private information is displayed for competitors.
My own personal opinion is that I’m a believer of “you get what you pay for” because I’ve been hurt in the past with designs that somehow ‘miss the mark’ – my brain logo on this website is a case in point. Standby: it will be changing in the near future. So although graphics like this meet a short term and quick fix need, in the long term, ask yourself what you’re trying to achieve and make sure that they are seen as an investment.
On the whole, for quick design of graphics to be used for internal presentations, teams or individuals that display generic key messages for some visual appeal, then Canva is a nifty tool to use.