Name:’  Canva
Cost:’  Free

Platform:’  iPad

Canva app icon

Graphic design is a tricky business, and one that many of us don’t realize is part of our job description until we’re faced with a blank document and a list of almost-but-not-quite-right font choices. ‘  Canva, a free, web-based application’ that lets you easily produce’ professional-looking’ designs, made this part’ of the’ job much easier for me when it debuted over a year ago. ‘ Now, with the introduction of the iPad app, the possibilities are both endless and mobile.

To get started, sign up for an account with either your email address or Facebook account, allowing you to access your designs from both the iPad or web version of the app.’  You can then choose from a list of templates that includes everything from blog/social media graphics’ to presentations and posters, each with dozens of templates of its’ own.’  Tapping on the different elements’ included in the template lets you delete, reposition, change colors, or swap them with any of the other elements’ in the app’s extensive catalog of free and “premium” (none costing more than $1) icons and images. ‘ You can also upload your own photos from your iPad’s photo stream and apply filters before including them in your design.

Designs can then be shared via the usual suspects (text, email, Twitter, and’ Facebook) or downloaded as a .png for the web or a .pdf for printing. ‘ You’ll be prompted to pay for any premium images included in the design at this time (via in-app purchase) and the watermarks will be removed.

So far, I’ve used Canva’s web app to design everything from icons for our online calendar to posters for programs and thank you cards for presenters, and I’ve heard glowing reports from teens of their successes using it for both school projects and social media posts.

The iPad app is not without its bugs –‘ pics can be slow to upload and there are sometimes hitches in the interface that you don’t see in the web version — however, the developers seem quick to respond to user feedback and offer updates. ‘ Meanwhile, the ease of use, professional results, and potential for collaboration that the iPad version offers’ makes this a go-to for your toolkit.

Have a suggestion for App of the Week? ‘ Let us know.’ ‘ And find more great Apps in the YALSA Blog’s’ App of the Week Archive.

About Jen Scott Wills

Jen is the Teen Services Librarian for Boise Public Library's Main Library. Follow her on Twitter @jen1n to read more of her musings on libraries, YA lit, and all things geeky and glorious.

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