During 26 years in business I’ve gone through many learning curves. Each time the marketing world came up with a more efficient product or as technology advanced and altered the way consumers wanted to interact with business, I had to learn something new to stay ahead. The learning never stops.
You can always tell when I’m going through one of these learning curves because it’s during these times that my computer is most at risk of being thrown against the nearest wall. Years ago when I wanted to become more proficient in using images in marketing I spent innumerable hours sourcing fonts and stock images, studying design and the foundational concepts of online marketing. I also had to become familiar with Photoshop.
Now, when I say familiar that is exactly what I mean. I learnt enough to get myself into trouble but not enough to get out of it. Every job took far too long and I couldn’t seem to retain all the little details of the platform, I think mainly because I didn’t enjoy using it.
I did develop a process though. This process included an emotion laden sigh as I opened Photoshop, several fists to the desk as I struggled with the task and finally a long line of expletives describing my true feelings for the piece of hardware I was working on. Throughout this process, my husband [who works with me] sat quietly at his desk smiling to himself, being careful not to comment on my behaviour; a lesson learnt the hard way.
Why didn’t I just contract a graphic designer? It doesn’t sound like it but I do actually enjoy the challenge of learning something new. I did have a designer but the jobs I did myself were pro bono jobs for startup micro businesses and community groups, two groups of people without a lot of money. If I was going to be able to help them, I needed the skills I could give away. Side note: if you can afford the services of a good graphic designer, use them. Most small theatre companies, however, find this a luxury they can’t justify in their budget.
The day I found canva.com was a kick your heels together, run through the streets shouting hallelujah day. This simple graphic design platform has revolutionised my online image marketing, saving hours and making the whole design process a lot of fun – and it’s free. You can design all your online marketing images using their series of very attractive templates or start from scratch and design your own.
Using a simple, user friendly platform, canva.com have set up templates of various social media images [cover images, headers, post images, etc] in the correct dimensions. You can design a facebook post that will attract attention and be highly shareable [marketing gold]. Best of all you don’t have to be a graphic designer. canva.com provides a section full of templates already designed for you. Simply choose one appropriate for your needs and change the elements to suit. You can choose to set your own dimensions and start with a blank canvas rather than using a template if you wish.
You have everything you need from fonts, photos, icons, drawings, frames and you can upload your own images. If you need more choice, canva.com have an extended selection of photographs for just $1 a piece. It’s click and drag stuff that will save you hours and help you to create a more professional and attractive online image for your theatre company.
In 10 minutes you can go from this –
To this –
I’ve found it really useful to create images for each function of a production [audition announcements, press tickets, cast announcements, promotional images, etc], storing them on the canva.com home page. For each new show I access the relevant template and just change the elements to suit.
Create your own free canva.com account and experiment with it by building a new facebook cover image. Because you no longer have to drain your brain with the technical design side of the process, it will free you up to think creatively about the content of your images.
Have fun, Sher.