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Kailana Kahawaii
Kailana Kahawaii

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How Canva Helps Me Create Websites

Some people have an appalled reaction when I tell them I design websites using Canva. Why would I use Canva if I’ve used Photoshop since highschool? Why use Canva when Figma is specifically designed for wire frames? I've asked myself the same. But I've also discovered the answer: because it’s quick, easy, and restrictive.

Quick to pick up

Webpage with text

Look at this page. How long do you think it took to make it? When you’re just starting out it’s important to get your ideas out as quickly as possible. Finagling with Figma, or diving into the vast world of Photoshop probably isn’t the place when you’re first starting out. Canva’s drag and drop assets simplify the design process so I can get my ideas out as quickly as possible.

Canva is also incredibly beginner friendly. I usually create a general template and duplicate it. The program preserves the fonts I use and what’s more I can copy assets.

Ease of use

Canva design of a simple web page with text and picture

Take this webpage for instance. The point here isn’t to create a wireframe that can be translated into code. Rather, it’s to create first draft that the client can pick apart. Having a big picture they can look at can also bring up conversations about functionality. For this particular design, the client said he actually wanted it to be as minimalist as possible. Scrapping something I spent 10-15 minutes on is a lot easier than scrapping something I spent a day on.

I tend to think of Canva as my first draft for a website. It’s not going to be perfect or have details. In fact, the page above doesn’t even feature a login page. But what Canva is good at is keeping from diving into too much unnecessary detail early on. I’m not looking for perfection here, I’m looking for a place start.

Restriction breeds creativity

Shouldn’t a program like Photoshop, where you can pretty much create any graphic design you want, but the epitome of creativity? Why is Canva so much more approachable when it comes to just starting out? I’ve found myself asking myself that more and more lately.

While interning for a small publishing company, I used Photoshop to create posters for event promotions. Seeing these posters strewn throughout campus gave me a sense of accomplishment, even though I really only had one college-level design class under my belt. Back then, surrounded by so many ideas, with no restrictions from going outside, it was easy to be creative.

I’ve found myself restricted to only a few social circles in my adult life. And now that there’s restrictions on travel and even going outdoors, I found it hard to grasp at creativity, or at least, the kind I used to have as an undergrad.

I didn’t touch design tools for a long time after graduating. Although great and bad design is all around us, most of my design experiences were relegated to Google Slides.

But then I found Canva. And setting up designs became that much easier again. I remember I created a poster in it just because it was so much easier to manipulate images than Google Slides was.

And I’ve continued to use it for web development. Just set up a template and it already looks beautiful. It's something I actually want to work with.

And the fact that these designs are so easy to create takes the ego out of them. I'm okay with disagreements.

My initial concept:
Webpage with stellar elements and side navbar design

The final design:
Webpage with stellar elements and a top navbar design

Caveats and summary

Canva is a tool like any other. There are some things it’s great at (quick ideation, easy to grasp), some things it’s terrible at (canvas resizing--yikes!) and some things that it just can’t do (can I skew an image-a-la-Photoshop? I still don’t know). I’m not saying that Canva should be the only tool available to a web developer, but if you’re grasping at straws in the design process, it’s a good place to start.

Top comments (1)

eminarium profile image
Merdan Durdyyev

Definitely a fantastic tool. Canva is a helping hand for me in various tasks.