We love discovering new tools that enable everyone to create well-designed contemporary slides. Canva may be our favourite yet – and it's completely free. This is a beautifully put together program that not only gives non-designers the chance to build effective slides for presentations but also to work with other page layout applications for online and print. It will even help you create perfectly formed visuals for your your social media profiles.
During our slide-design coaching sessions, once we introduce design principles, we then ask participants to begin forming new slides with a pen and paper - before even looking at software like PowerPoint, Keynote or Prezi. Some people will just start sketching without any hesitation, whilst others will stare at their paper with the glazed look of child being asked to start a maths exam that they didn't revise for.
Canva is perfect for those situations because of its myriad of fully-editable creative templates. These are also perfect for sparking off other creative ideas and - unlike the vast majority of PowerPoint templates - they really are beautifully put together.
This could easily be an Apple product - in fact anyone who remembers iWeb will think this feels like a natural progression. Guy Kawasaki, Apple's former Chief Evangelist has recently taken up the same role for Canva - a very strong endorsement.
Crucially Canva also takes out the hassle of signing up to stock image sites as it has the option to easily buy images for as little as a $1.00. If you use your own images or the hundreds of free ones, then you probably won't ever have to fork out a penny.
Another thing we really like is that it's an online tool - so you can pick it up on any device, as everything is stored in the cloud. They have also recently introduced an iPad app.
The only area that we feel could be improved upon is the ability to create widescreen slides from the suggested templates. At the moment the templates are restricted to a 4:3 ration, which is surprising considering the vast majority of presentations are now displayed on widescreen monitors. This is a minor gripe that we're sure they are already fixing. You can still create widescreen slides within Canva but it's a work-around and just not as seamless.
So the next time you have to sit down and create a presentation and it feels like all your ideas start with a clipart light bulb(!), have a look and play with Canva. It really will be time well spent.
Image created using Canva