People love visual images, whether they are photos or illustrations.
We love making them, sharing them, looking at them, and (oh yeah) commenting on them.
Smartphones took taking photos to another level and apps made it easy to share them.
But how can you create engaging images for your social media posts - say, for marketing your research or creating a powerful social media presence?
Well, there are tons of online tools to help you find stunning, relevant images. But if you're like me, a researcher who is often searching for the perfect image for my next blog post, it's often hard to figure out if you can legally use them.
So how about creating your own visual content?
In this post, we'll take a look at an awesome create-your-own-image tool I recently got around to using. I know, I know - I use that word "awesome" a lot. But, seriously, it really is 'awesome' and fun to use.
Designing with Images
To help you create compelling visual content to supercharge your online profile or beef up your social media strategy for disseminating your research, use Canva's innovative, easy to use, free online drag-and-drop graphic design tool.
I want to say here that I'm not paid by Canva to promote them, nor am I in any way associated with them, I just think that their graphic design tool is "awesome"!
Canva (http://www.canva.com/) is an all-in-one online design tool that's amazingly easy to use to create professional looking graphic designs. It has more than one million pics, and graphics and fonts that you can use to create your own original image.
You are limited only by your imagination!
- Sign up to use the free graphic design tool.
- Pick one of Canva's stunning Templates to use.
- Customise the template, adding your own photo(s), or dragging and dropping the free graphics or text to create your original design.
- Save and download.
Canva has plenty of tutorials to start you off on your graphic design journey. There's also a blog chock full of helpful tips and techniques on graphic design. It leans towards business marketing, but I don't need to tell all you researchers out there that marketing your research is a must do and no longer an option.
You know this already, right?
There's only a few steps to unleashing your creativity.
Step 1: Choose a Template. The first screen invites you to start a new design and presents several layouts for you to select for Posters or Presentations, and across popular social media platforms such as Pinterest, Facebook covers, Blog graphics, or a Twitter header, and A4 documents, cards and business cards, invitations and a photo collage.
You don't even have to think about optimising the image size, as that's already done for you.
Great for creating exquisite images for your research study logos, posters, presentations, blog content, photo collages, invitations, flyers, marketing materials, and across all your social media sites too.
Step 2: Let's start with a Layout. Pick a layout from the sidebar on the left side. Search or browse through the options, or upload one of your own.
Step 3: Picking text and colour. From this sidebar you can change the background or text, and upload your own images.
Click on elements within the graphic and bin elements that you don't want, and replace with other graphics or text. You can change the text size, font style, or pick different colours.
Add something you don't like, or make a mistake - no panic - just use the undo button at the top. It's so easy, have fun playing with all the features and using your creativity.
Step 4: Publish. Now I'm happy with the image I've created, I can click on Link and Publish to download it to my desktop or save to a folder.
I can now use my original graphic image, designed by me, on my blog, without having to fuss about who owns the copyright.
I could also post it to Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter.
Canva is fairly new, so predictably I guess it will get even better and be hugely popular and deservedly so.
Okay, now go and unleash your own creativity!
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