For those of you who have been following the blog for a while, you will know that I have completely fallen in love with RelayThat when it comes to creating great looking images.
Prior to that we used Canva for some of our image needs, mostly quotes from guest on the podcast, but that too was taken over by Relay That.
However, one major problem that I and many other content creators have had in recent times is the lack of mobile services for creating fantastic images on the go.
Canva recently launched their long awaited mobile app that aims to let you create and share on the go. So being every curious I decided to use it for the day and see if it can do all the jobs I need done.
According to Canva you can get started in minutes and it has over a hundred templates to chose from and one million images to go along with that, I just hope that they have made the UI something we can actually navigate.
Canva App Review
So in any normal day we could need anything up to 10 images created. Today I have five images to create in three styles. For the day ahead I am going to need an article image for this review, two motivational images to put out on social media and with a brand new podcast episode also going live, I am going to need to put together some quotes from our guest.
Article Header Image
Well as you can see, the article image is none too shabby. To do this I actually chose the “Youtube Art” templates, simply because looking at the size and shape of the image it is closest to what we normally use on the site.
The actual dimension of the image once it is downloaded is 2560 x 1440. This is far too big in terms of using it as an article header image, but the rectangular shape suits so I’ll roll with it.
Scrolling through the templates, there are a number that I would be tempted to use.However, seems as this is designed to be used on the go and quickly, I want to see just how quick I can create an article header image, that not only looks good, but still fits in with the more recent image designs on the site. So I settled on this one.
I chose a design that had a 50/50 split of image and text. All I needed was too replace the image and in truth I probably could have left the image that was in the template there, but I decided to change it.
One Google search later I have an image that Canva have used in their promo of the iPhone app, a quick crop of the image on my phone’s built in photo editor and boom it’s in place.
Next up is the text. This again is relatively simple, I liked the background colour and the font, so all I had to do was tap on the text, type in what I wanted and it’s done. Now to give it that extra little bit of feel and design I went into the “Elements” and searched for a pen, found one I liked and dropped it into the image.
A little drag and drop, for both position and size and my image is created. Hit “share” and save to camera roll for use later.
These quotes will go out on our social media feeds through out the day. With the Canva app, they have segmented the templates by platform, which means they are in the ideal size for that social platform.
Much like creating the article header image, I have scrolled through the templates looking for a good starting point for our quote. While picking from the templates associated to the platform you want to publish on is advises, it’s not 100% necessary.
We can always edit the image once we download it, again we are doing this on the go, so for ease and time, we have selected a Facebook template.
Nothing too fancy, a simple image background, with text overlay and a nice frame.
Now I should point out that having some good images available makes a huge difference. We had a number of professional shots take a while back and use them to not only create images like this, but it also helps with the know, like and trust factor. Our audience and new visitors can see, “oh there is Phil and Paul”
So given the image I want to use is in black and white I’ve stuck to that as you can see, a quick change of the text and it’s ready to download.
It is so far so good, but I have my reservations as to whether or not the app will be able to produce the high quality quotes for our podcast guest that we get from Relay That.
Podcast Guest Quotes
One of the problems that we often have with guest quotes is that they can be quite long. The length of a quote can become an issue, especially when you are trying to cram it into an image. All while still being conscious of the fact that it not only has to look good, but has to be legible.
So just to see how Canva copes I have decided to use a long quote from or guest Chanel Cumberbatch. Looking through the templates I have decided to abandon the search by platform and I am simply looking for an image that will hold quite a bit of text.
As you can see, the template I went with holds quite a bit of text and also leaves room for a picture of our guest. Again it helps when you have good images to use and that is why we make the point of getting at the very least two quality images from each guest.
With good images at hand it makes the promotion of the content that much easier.
So with the template selected I have once again gone for speed and ease. All I am going to do here is change the text, to the quote I want, add in the guest’s name and before I finish it off, I am going to add a little extra text at the bottom.
All this text is going to tell people is what episode number the quote has come from, in this case it’s episode 38. Those of you paying close attention will note that I have also matched the fonts of both the existing text and the new piece I added. All I had to do here was highlight the existing text, make a note of the font and then select the same one for my new text, simples.
So there you have a good looking quote, that is indeed quite long, created in minutes and by minutes I think it took me two. Again it helps that I had the image and the text at hand,so I didn’t have to go searching.
I do have one problem with this, when looking at this particular template in the app, the area where the text goes appears to more of a tan colour, rather than the white it actually is.
I know it is a small thing, but I was rather disappointed when I downloaded it to see it was white. So that is just one thing to bare in mind, colours may not be what they seem once the image is downloaded.
Problems with the App
Having spent some time playing around with the app I have found a few problems. The first is the one I mentioned above about the colours, although that could also just be my eyesight.
The second problem I came across is that on more than one occasion when I went to my “designs” that I had previously saved they would not load. Which given the fact that we will be trying to work fast and on the go is not ideal.
The best way to avoid this problem is to save or share the images to your camera roll or inbox as soon as you have finished designing them.
The third problem is the fact that outside of selecting the platform, I have no idea of the actual dimensions of the images. This is a problem for me, as I like the images to be specific dimensions, but I suppose for a quick fix on the go, it’s not all bad!
The last is more of an observation, rather than a problem. As someone who creates multiple images daily, I can see there becoming a problem with many of the images looking the same. Now this is partly due to the fact that the longer form quotes only suit a number of templates.
The other reason is that without proper images an over reliance on the stock images will see the designs blend into one. This is not so much just a Canva issue, it is an issue in general when it comes to creating images.
The importance of having a good starting image can not be over stated. If of course you want to see why I am so in love with Relay That, then you can check out a recent article I wrote about it here:
I don’t think Canva is going to win me back in terms of creating images at my desk, but certainly when I am travelling or out and about, I would be more than comfortable trusting my designs to the Canva iPhone App.
I should also point out that I created a number of other quotes and images while I was tinkering, they didn’t make the Canva iPhone App Review, but they will be published. So be sure to keep an eye on our social profiles to see how they turned out, especially Instagram of course