“Oh this looks great! Can you send it to me in a format that I can edit it in??” 

Uhhhh, no. 

 

The big problem I hear a lot in my work: 

There is one major problem in the design work when it comes to handing off a file to a client  –  they can’t edit the work later down the road. Perhaps it’s the errant typo or small change in information that now renders the document useless to the client.

Whatever the case, now the file can’t be fixed unless they come back to you (or another designer) and have it redone. Some designers might like this – hey, they make a bit of money after all! But I don’t – honestly, fixing a couple of words here or there isn’t something I rely on to pay the bills or send me on my next vacation. Not that I mind, I am always here to help,  but if I can give my client a better tool then it allows me to have more time to focus on bigger projects that I am passionate about.

 Keep in mind that every designer works differently and has their own policies. I would certainly rather have a client reach out to me first then try to hack a file I’ve created… okay, enough about that.  

 

The issue: 

The issue in the design world is that there hasn’t been a great solution that both delivers on design and useability. Meaning, the software that designers use is expensive and takes some time to learn. You, the client (and typically the general public) doesn’t want to spend the money or time on learning something they are not using every day (or even every week). I don’t blame you! 

Aside from that, your original designer may be booked up and not have time to get you back that “quick change” (nothing is ever as quick as you think, but that’s another story!) you need. So you are left waiting a few days or a week or longer for something that seems like a minor edit. 

The Client wants to edit the work: 

Here’s another scenario: you just need some forms or a document designed and then you want to be able to make edits to it on your own. Being able to edit a finished, designed document is something that is a bit a beast for a designer to navigate. That would mean that you as the client and I as the designer need to own the same software – preferably Adobe Indesign, Illustrator or Photoshop. But this goes back to the original dilemma: these are expensive and take time to learn. They are not like opening up a Word document – they look totally different! 

So that leaves us with relying on your software as a common denominator – likely Word or Powerpoint (insert cringe here). These programs are not user-friendly to a designer because we don’t have as much control over integrating graphics, finessing the finer points of a font/typeface or working with photo edits. These programs were NOT made for design activities! They were made to be simple, easy to use, and thus, the options within them are limited. 

So what do you and I do to work together? How do we create a solution? 

 

 

Canva – The Solution:

I’ll tell you! Using a tool like Canva. Canva is an online tool that gives some design power to the client. It also allows for more custom options in the hands of a designer. As a designer, I can upload my own logos, my own fonts, and images to Canva, and using a business account [verify name] I can create a “brand kit”, folders with design assets or templates, and then share the designs with clients. You can edit these designs as needed. 

Canva can do just about anything. 

I use Canva to make templates too, I just first create a page template (borders, titles or page numbers that are static are created in a design program, then exported as an image and dropped into Canva) allowing you to create content over them with my designed elements in the background. 

I just used Canva to create several Instagram post and stories templates and upload brand fonts, colors, and logos so the client has easy access to create what they need. 

With Canva, you can create documents, presentations, social media graphics, posters, flyers…just about anything. Canva also has a custom size feature, which is great for banner ads or website graphics. 

While this tool can do so much, you may find yourself going hog wild! As a client, you can get down a rabbit hole and want to “go crazy” with fonts, colors, and graphics. Try to remember that your brand should be represented, and to restrain yourself when it comes to mixing too many things. 

Take a look at the templates that Canva has and use those as a guide – they are pretty great and I will sometimes start with those too! If you are not sure, just reach out to your designer and request that they create your design in Canva. 

If they are unsure, just tell them about these great features: 

You can easily share designs with clients

It’s great for creating sharing designs with clients, and it’s drag and drop interface makes it easy for the client to edit.  social media graphics. Personally, I love it for making Instagram and Facebook graphics when I’m using quotes or words over images. No more designing in Word or Powerpoint.

You can customize designs with uploaded assets

Like I said before, you can upload fonts, logo artwork, graphics, and photos into Canva and use them anywhere while logged in.

Canva has a lot of great free design elements

If you don’t have a font chosen yet, or you want to do something different, use one of Canva’s free fonts. Canva has other free items too, including layouts, templates, graphics, illustrations and photos. AND if you see something you want to purchase on Canva, a lot of assets are just $1.

You can use Canva on your phone

And you can use Canva on your phone! Which let’s face it, I’m doing more and more work on my phone these days as a mom with a kiddo at home under the age of 2. I’ve been stuck under a sleeping baby many times and did all kinds of work on my phone! They also now have a desktop app!

It’s free or inexpensive

A business account is really affordable and you can add members to your team for easy access to files and shared folders. This is so much cheaper than paying upwards of $50 / month with a Creative Cloud membership.