ByClaire Rosling
11/06/2018
4 min read

Canva: The key to design self-sufficiency

Strong, effective and consistent design is fundamental for effectively marketing your organisation and it’s messages. But how do you keep design on-brand and looking professional when keeping things ‘in-house’, on a budget?

We believe good design should be available to everyone and ultimately aim for our clients to be as self sufficient in their design work as possible. This is why we have embraced the online design system, Canva, training our partners how to take control of their own design production requirements. The good news is it’s FREE for charities and not-for-profits!

Let’s take a look at how it works.

The goal

Imagine the scene… your team have a rich toolkit of brand assets at their fingertips and can create all the communication material you need for your day to day needs, raising the quality and strength of your visual output with ‘on-brand’ professional creations. You are not locked into expensive software licenses and don’t need to rely on an external design studio. Sounds empowering doesn’t it?

After noticing constant struggles to try to keep thing on-track visually this is what we are now making happen for our clients.

 

Introducing Canva

Canva is an online design system that is incredibly simple to use, allowing you to create high quality graphics with ease. When using professionally designed templates as a starting point (which can then be used over and over), you can’t distinguish the output from more complicated and expensive applications such as Adobe Indesign or Photoshop. Canva also allows you to collaborate on design work with team members in a way that would otherwise be very tricky, and the best news of all… it’s free for charities and not-for-profits!

Case study: The Friends Provident Foundation

Friends Provident Foundation asked Yoke to work in partnership with them on their re-brand, revisiting both their message and identity. After the successful launch of the new brand, the team – who had no design experience themselves, nor access to the Adobe Creative Suite – needed a resource-efficient way to create on-brand assets for a variety of channels in-house, without the need to come back to us all the time.

With Canva being so easy to use and FREE we knew this was the best option, and here is a look at the approach…

Core brand toolkit

Starting form the ground up we migrated the Foundation’s core brand toolkit over to Canva. This now contains the necessary fonts in all the relevant weights and styles, colour palette and most importantly their full logo kit ready to use.

Templates; we design once, you use over and over

Initially, the primary focus for the team was to create graphics for social media, front covers for research reports and infographics. We designed these items and then re-created them in Canva for the team to use as many times as required. More items are planned, when a design requirement arises we now factor in porting it to Canva as well.

 

Embracing Canva has been invaluable for us, and it’s really empowered the team to learn how to create our own design assets. We’ve found the platform very easy to use, and fun too! The training Yoke offered was spot on and we’d thoroughly recommend this path to other organisations looking to be effective within limited resources.

Nicola Putnam - Communications Manager, Friends Provident Foundation

Illustration and icon library

A suit of icons and illustrations were then created that could then be easily accessible to drop into social media graphics, or to export out for other documents. This gives the team creative freedom of partnering illustrations with new messages going forwards.

Work as a team

Canva is perfectly structured to work with dynamic teams. Once the templates were created they were shared with the team members who can use them as starting points for their own creations. Once they are happy with their output they then share them back to the main team stream so everyone can see each others contributions.

Share with a click

Canva have developed a neat workflow to enable you to share your creations easily. Once your connect your social channels, you can share your work with a click from within Canva, it couldn’t be easier.

Export into other applications

The foundation create a lot of Word documents which tend to be quite word heavy. Now, the team can download artwork from their Canva account and insert it into the external document of their choice.

Training and support

Taking the step to using a new design system will always need some help and support, that is why we trained the team in learning their new platform as well as ongoing support to help ensure their communications are as effective and true to brand as possible.

Just the tip of the iceberg

We are all buzzing about the potential of where we could go with this, we are already planning to get some items sent to print direct from Canva which again, could really help drive down costs for the charity. Any upcoming design element that they need creating we add into Canva as standard, embracing the ‘Design once, use over and over’ motto. Their pool of templates grows constantly without sacrificing quality and the team grow in confidence the more practice they have.

Would this work for me?

Expensive software licenses, steep learning curves and over-stretched team members are just a few of the issues facing marketing and communications teams today. Whether you’re a small start-up or a larger Charity, this approach could not only save you money but really enhance your ability to create strong, cohesive communication material and allow your brand to shine.

Interested in adding strength to your brand communications?

Get in touch