Creating good designs can be intimidating when you’re not a designer. And finding a designer that will execute your vision within your budget, it’s like winning the lottery; the chances are slim.
Thanks to the rapid growth of technology, Canva appeared with a solution: Quality designs made accessible. Hopefully, good designs won’t be daunting to create anymore. But before we tackle designs, let’s get a refresher on what Canva is all about.
Canva: What can it do?
Canva is a design platform accessible through the web, which allows non-designers to create quick designs quickly. It can do what most designers create in Adobe products easily, but with limitations. For instance, you can do the usual basic photo editing like a cropping system, and applying filters and adjustments.
And when you register, you’re automatically signed to the Free Plan. No purchase required. But if you want to expand the possibilities of creation using Canva, then there’s Canva Pro — which is the whole point of this story.
So, what are you paying for with Canva Pro?
It’s 2021, and by now, you know most free applications, software, and the like always have a premium subscription plan. They host a plethora of features — most of which are something you’d like to have. That’s the case for Canva Pro.
It’s the premium plan that provides premium content such as photos, templates, illustrative elements along with advanced features that help small businesses, startups, and freelancers thrive.
I’ve had the free plan for a while until I got my hands on Pro version. As a designer, I really don’t need it. But using it made me realize the value Canva really brings.
But first, what can you do with Canva Pro?
A lot. I’m not kidding when I say you can do a lot with Canva Pro. It’s like those limited content suddenly opened up a treasure box full of gems and gold that you can benefit from.
For instance, your access to Canva’s usual content expands through its unlimited, licensed resources. Emphasis on licensed — they’re work that you can use not just for personal purposes, but also for commercial projects. You can choose from an array of content: Over 400,000 templates, more than 75 million photos, videos, and elements consisting of pre-made graphics and illustrations, along with over 3000 fonts. All of which can be downloaded at the quality you prefer.
You can also utilize perks such as unlimited folders, a hundred gig of cloud storage to store all your designs sans souci, and priority support in case you have troubles using the platform.
Other things you thought you can only do with expensive creative software from certain brands are also available in Canva Pro. I was able to remove the background easily, animate and resize their elements without loss of quality no matter what resolution is, and save transparent images — which made my life handling the news desk a lot easier.
On certain days that I don’t have the time to come up with an accompanying image for breaking news and other urgent stories, I used Canva Pro’s resources so I can create a design within minutes.
Here are some of my works that used Canva Pro whether via the platform or using their resources:
A novice’s tool for content planning
As someone working in a start-up company, I’ve been wearing many hats. My daily grind involves managing multiple platforms, arranging campaigns, and building content while creating digital communication materials in written and visual forms.
The content planner in Canva Pro is quite helpful especially when you’re planning content around your schedule, and you aim for it to look coherent and aesthetically pleasing using your designs made from *drum roll* Canva.
However, it’s been ages since I started this line of work and I already established my own tools and system; I don’t plan on changing what’s already working. So, no. I’m not going to use the content planner.
But from what I can see, it’s a godsend for those starting with social media management. Especially entrepreneurs flying solo. After all, you can get a preview and even use Canva as a third-party scheduler, so you can publish your content at a specific time.
An easy system between teams
On top of that, I’m also fulfilling the role of Associate Creative Director, leading the team when it comes to branding and visual guidelines. There are only a few designers onboard, and most of them are focused on videos and animations. To make life easier, I created a system for writers and other non-designers.
This is where Canva Pro proved to be helpful, and I wish I met them earlier. It lets you share your designs as templates, and it can be navigated and edited easily by non-designers. For years, I spent a lot of time building templates that would make it easy for our writers and account managers.
I remember coming up with a template design meant to be used for proposals and reports, and I had to create mock designs while also designing an editable presentation on Google Slides. Having the Brand Kit Pro made it easy to create essential visual materials while sticking to your brand’s guidelines, themes, and aesthetic. Plus, you can make it coherent and get it adjusted in real-time.
But more than just the design capabilities, Canva Pro helps create a system for easier workflow between teams. You can create a team in Canva and invite your actual teammates using their Canva account, and get the same premium plan you have. With it, you can design and plan things together using the online whiteboard.
Think: Google Suites but a whiteboard for brainstorming and ideation purposes.
How much are you really saving?
Let’s do a little bit of math here. Canva Pro offers cloud storage, unlimited licensed stock content, a third-party scheduler, and an engineered platform so you can design real-time — all in one premium plan.
On the other hand, you can use separate platforms for everything you need, but all of it comes with respective pricing plans. For instance, subscription plans for cloud storage can be an extra 100GB for Google or 1TB on Microsoft’s OneDrive. You can also use Adobe Stock for royalty-free and licensed premium content, which can set you back for PhP 1,495.00/mo for 10 credits or for PhP 9,970.00/mo for up to 750 credits.
There’s also dedicated design software such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator, both of which come with their own price unless you can get a bundled offer for two. For real-time collaboration, Google Suites might be free but a professional platform like Slack also comes with a cost. Even third-party schedulers utilize subscription plans as payment for using their services that make your life convenient.
In essence, you are saving so much by just using Canva Pro. Of course, it will still all depend on your workflow and the money you can shell out. But if you have a limited budget, Canva Pro already sounds like a good deal.
Who will benefit the most?
As a designer, I have received prejudice and judgment from fellow designers who take so much pride in their work. But Canva has real value for designers leading a small team (such as my case) or solopreneurs (solo entrepreneurs), small businesses, startups, and freelancers.
Limited manpower with a leading designer can help create editable templates that don’t require extensive, technical knowledge of Adobe or other creative software products. Solopreneurs, small businesses, and startups can create designs without outsourcing to designers especially for quick, easily digestible content used on social media.
Freelance creatives can also utilize various resources from Canva Pro to ensure a smooth workflow and faster turnaround. Clients will worry less when it comes to copyrighted materials due to the licensed content applicable for commercial use.
Does this affect the design and creative industry?
Frankly, it’s a game-changer. But the insecurity from fellow designers isn’t needed; they’re not going to be replaced. It’s like fearing that one day, a machine will take over your work. Then, you’ll have no other skill set to offer to live and survive.
Honestly, those are only based on fiction. Design is evolving rapidly, and there are new problems emerging that require quick yet creative solution — and Canva provides it.
In this ever-growing age of technology, designers are still welcome and needed. Brands and companies will still need designers to do in-depth, studied content that went through different stages of conceptualization. The world will still need creatives to lead a group of non-designers to be self-sufficient. Even though they learn how to create a design, they will still need to follow a foundation and guideline that only designers know based on their theoretical backgrounds and experience.
Moreover, Canva hires actual creatives to create commercial resources. The company creates actual jobs. If a designer is worried about competing with Canva, it’s about time to level up the services they can offer. You can’t be doing the same thing forever.
Is Canva Pro worth it?
Yes. I’d give you a thousand yes. That is if it really suits what you need. Because for me, even as a designer myself, I believe that Canva Pro is worth it. It’s more than just a design platform with a licensed stock library; it’s also a real-time collaboration tool that makes our lives and jobs easier when working remotely. Truly, a solution to a modern-age problem that we faced when the global pandemic started.
So if you’re still wondering whether you should get it, ask yourself: Do you really need what Canva Pro has to offer? If some part of you said yes, then it’s a resounding yes.
Oceanic+ turns the Apple Watch Ultra into a dive computer
The Apple Watch has come a long way. From its humble beginnings in a sweaty gym, Apple’s iconic wearable can now go deep underwater. Released earlier this year, the rugged Apple Watch Ultra promised unparalleled durability designed to withstand extreme conditions. Adding to this durability, the Apple Watch Ultra now has the new Oceanic+, a new app that turns the smartwatch into an operational diving computer.
Built through a partnership between Apple and Huish Outdoors, Oceanic+ melds the ease of use of an Apple Watch and the technical complexity of a diving computer. “People who know how to use an Apple Watch already know how to use this dive computer,” said Mike Huish, CEO of Huish Outdoors.
The app will display much-needed information for divers in a timely fashion. Before a dive, users can set surface time, depth, and gas. The app can then calculate their No Deco time, an essential feature for planning a dive. Divers can see this information even when they are underwater.
Further, after a dive, the app automatically collates and summarizes information to give users feedback regarding their dive including GPS entry and exit locations.
Users can easily operate the app even underwater using the Action button and the crown. Plus, the watch’s strong haptic feedback provides users with vibrations that can be felt even underwater. With limited sound underwater, haptic feedback becomes a necessary tool to alert divers of any important information as they come.
The Oceanic+ app is now available through the App Store. Most of the common functionalities are available through the free basic plan. However, more premium features — like decompression tracking, tissue loading, and a location planner — are locked behind a US$ 9.99 per month subscription.
Over 5.4 million Twitter accounts have just been exposed
Beware of any fishy emails
According to new owner Elon Musk, Twitter is enjoying record-breaking numbers as of late. If the billionaire’s claim is true, it’s time to beef up your Twitter account’s security. A leak stemming from earlier this year has exposed and exploited over 5 million accounts.
Back in July, the platform confirmed the leak but claimed that none were exploited. An API vulnerability reportedly caused the leak. Now, according to BleepingComputer, Twitter isn’t out of the woods yet.
Though the vulnerability has already been patched, the 5.4 million users affected by the leak have just had their private information leaked on a hacker forum. These details include both phone numbers and email addresses — information that isn’t usually readily available on the platform. The list of affected users even include celebrities and companies.
Thankfully, the leak doesn’t give outright access to an affected user’s account. However, it gives malicious parties some information to work with. Needless to say, if you receive any suspicious emails, take a gander before clicking any links, especially those that ask for your password or any other sensitive information. Also, it might be a good idea to beef up your security with two-factor authentication, just in case.
That said, 5.4 million users is just a drop in the bucket for a massive platform like Twitter. Though it’s not impossible, it’s more likely that your individual account is safe from any of the current chaos. Still, keep your accounts safe.
Netflix is working on its first PC game
It’s a AAA title
Though off to a relatively slow start, Netflix is now a gaming company as well. As of late, the platform included a variety of mobile games in its catalog of content. Every Netflix subscriber can play any of the games. Now, Netflix is working on something else entirely: a game for the PC.
Spotted by Mobilegamer.biz, Netflix has recently posted new job openings for a game director, an art director, and a technical director. All three listings describe a “brand-new AAA PC game” as a project. One listing even describes “one of Netflix’s first generation of internally developed original games.”
Currently, Netflix taps into other game studios to produce titles for them. Aside from a few independent developers, the platform even partnered with Ubisoft for mobile titles. (One of which will be based on the Assassin’s Creed franchise.)
With the listings in place, the company is expanding its efforts to developing its own titles. Right now, the unnamed project doesn’t feature a lot of details. While the project is still looking for a creative director, it’s likely that the plot isn’t finalized either.
Throughout the past year, the company has bled for subscribers. Since then, they have tried various strategies, including potential punishments for account sharing and cheaper subscription tiers.
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