As a student, I remember seeing inspirational posters all around my teachers' classroom. They encouraged me to try my hardest, sing my best, get back up again, be courageous, and to be kind. With all of these positive messages, it's funny that the one recurring question I had after reading a poster was, "Why do they always look so LAME!?" I'd go from one class to the next observing the one faded poster after another, encouraging me to be better yet rarely inspiring me toward that goal. It also seemed as if I was seeing the same poster repeatedly. (You know the one, a black background with a fine-lined box in the middle, of a single tree or a rock-climber, beneath which would read a phrase straight from a "foundation for a Better Life" commerical - 'Integrity... It's what you do when no one's watching'). It wasn't until college that I realized I felt this way because I was seeing the same posters. Literally.
As a teacher who enjoys design and creativity, and has access to wonderful gadgets like iPads and laptops, I am determined to spare my students the agony I experienced as an adolescent due to uninspired wall art. Luckily software today makes it easy for teachers (or anyone for that matter) to design posters, flyers, and handouts. I want to share my experience using two different iPad apps, Desygner and Canva.
Note: This review is coming from an inexperienced designer – I just enjoy art and design.
“Create beautiful designs from your phone, tablet or computer, easily & free. Design web banners, presentations, business cards, social media posts & more.” - Apple Store description
Price – FREE
Pros – Completely free; Variety of templates available; Easier to use than a desktop design app;
Cons – Not intuitive; online platform is not up to par with iPad app; edit screen/final product discrepancy; generally still has kinks to work out.
Rating – 3.0 /5
Desygner is a beta phase app that intended for use as a quick means of designing marketing materials and posters. In comparison to using Illustrator or Photoshop, this app was a breeze. There are several artfully made template options and the program is formatted well for iPad. However, in terms of it being intuitive or even fully functional, there is definitely work to be done.
I spent a good deal of time simply trying to work my way around the app, however my conclusion that it is not intuitive is more a summary of other challenges, so I'll continue. For one, the undo button did not work for me as I worked on my project. Second, after being unable to load an image due to file size, I decided to try out the web app version and found the interface to be completely different. Personal preference - I'm not too fond of the web version. I appreciate the simplicity of the iPad app (but hey, different strokes for different folks!) The first pic below is on the iPad, and the second is on the computer.
The most noteworthy issue I had with the app was the fact that the image seen while editing, and the downloaded product/project preview were two completely different images. I actually had to work around this by guesstimating necessary "blur" and "saturation" levels to balance out the discrepancy between what I saw in editing the image and the final product. I worked from the iPad version, but there was a discrepancy with the desktop edit screen as well. The top image is the desktop edit screen, the second is the iPad edit screen, and the final is the downloaded image.
My conclusion for this version of the app/site is that while Desygner definitely shows promise, this experience caused more trouble than necessary. I ended with a decent final image (as shown above), but there are other less time-consuming ways to achieve this end. Again, however, the app absolutely shows promise, the app's development team simply must work out the kinks in the program, and then figure out how the program will be defined and highlight those features. Where's its hook for inexperienced designers? Or how about experienced designers? What does this app offer that others don't? Currently it stands in competition with killer apps like Canva, but for the lay man seems to have no any added value.
"AMAZINGLY SIMPLE GRAPHIC DESIGN
Create beautiful designs with Canva. Choose from more than one million layouts, stock photographs and illustrations. Search for the best graphics, photos, and fonts then use Canva’s simple drag and drop tool to create a design." - Apple Store description
Price – FREE, premium templates for $1
Pros – Variety of templates available; EASY to use; ability to duplicate canvas;
Cons – N/A
Rating – 5.0/5
I had a great experience using Canva. It was extremely quick and easy for me to create my own design in multiple forms at once.
To begin with, the interface is designed beautifully, well-organized, and user-friendly. The layouts tab features a seemingly endless amount of gorgeous templates (mixture of free and $1) on the same page as the project being worked on. This gives the designer the ability to simultaneously view layouts and the current project. The text, background, and uploads tabs all match the layouts tab in regard to options, user-friendliness and appearance.
When added to the app's accessibility and user-friendliness, the most striking feature of Canva is the quality of its materials. Every design is in brilliant HD and the interface is no different. The presentation of the site and app are applause-worthy. I would recommend this product to anyone looking to design online.
I quickly made these logos through the app: