Beauty Standards

I like looking at pretty things, and so do you.

Whether it’s fair or not, being good-looking is advantageous. Loveliness garners longer-lasting and more positive attention than the less lovely. To be clear, I’m not talking about people, though sadly the same principles apply. I’m talking about beautifully presented information. I’m talking about design.

Although I am a certified “techie” (I actually got called that in an email today 🙂 ), I am also an artist. I enjoy learning how to make things look and feel “right”, and I think that part of my job as a teacher is to help students improve their digital design literacy. Now, and in the future, it’s not just the content that counts. The packaging of the content is an important component of how well the information will be received.

Canva provides free, cloud-based design tools. Personally, I’ve been using it for about a year, though I’ve just brought it into my classroom in the past week. Here are some things I’ve designed. Note: Wedding Invitation is very much a work in-progress.

My Canva Designs

My 8th grade students worked in Canva’s Design School tutorials for a few days. I had them focus on Choosing the Right Font, Font Pairing Basics, The Art of Alignment, and Working with White Space, along with a brief video on color choices. The tutorials are great because they show and explain an example on the left, and have them apply the principle on the right. My students used screenshots to show their tutorial progress so I could make sure they were getting it.

Here’s a before and after of a tutorial slide:

Canva tutorial before

Canva Tutorial Need a Hint

Every slide of every tutorial I’ve seen has this “Need a hint?”option on it. A video will pop up showing how to accomplish the task in case they’re having trouble.

Canva has preset sizes to design for lots of different types of media. There are SO many options for what you could have your students design. This is what they have out now:

Canva Design options

Once a type is chosen, you get into the editing view, which includes the following side tabs: Search, Layouts, Text, Background, and Uploads. Here’s what those side tabs look like:

Canva Search

Search gives you basic elements that you can use to build a design from scratch or add to an existing design.

Canva Layouts

The layouts they show you change depending on what type of media you have chosen to create. You can pick a free layout and just change the words, colors and pictures to your liking. This can be really helpful if you or some of your students don’t feel confident in your artistic abilities.

Canva Text

The Text tab shows you basic text at the top, and pre-designed text formatting below. I love to use the pre-designed options. You’ve probably noticed the FREE sign next to many of the elements. Everything I’ve designed has been free. You can do a lot with what’s given. The bits that cost money are clearly labeled and are usually listed after scrolling past free components.

Canva Backrounds

If all you want is a plain color or basic textural background, great! Those are all free. If you want something flashier, you’ll need to purchase it, use a pre-designed layout, or upload your own photo.

Canva Uploads

Uploads are drag and drop. You can also connect your Facebook account to use those pics.

Raise the bar on beauty standards for the products students design in your class. Or, just for yourself, take the time to make something look stunning and professional. Make Canva part of your information beautification routine.

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