a resource for Kansas creatives

3 Drop Dead Simple Ways to Create Better Art Marketing Materials

Whether you're an artist or provide services for an arts organizations, marketing materials are essential. Brochures, exhibit postcards, business cards, stationary, etc. etc.

Not everybody is a designer, or for that matter, can afford to higher a designer for every project. As many of you know, I'm a graphic designer. Yet, even as a designer myself, time is a huge factor and I don't always have enough hours in the day to design everything I need.


At some point, and quite often, you need access to design skills or resources. We all do.

As visual people working on visual projects, no marketing materials are better than poorly designed materials. So what are your choices?

Good design takes resources, skills, and most importantly, time. In my years as a designer for print and the web, I've come across a few resources that are more than a bit handy that I know you'll find useful, and their really easy to use.

Maybe you're fortunate and you or your organization has a designer on staff.

But if you're short on cash, can't afford a designer, have a tight marketing budget, or are in a big hurry...

Canva is the way to go!


Give Canva a try

Canva is an extremely easy to use web service, iOS mobile app is also available, for creating high quality, marketing worthy, professional graphics.

As a simple design tool, Canva can be used to create just about anything. When you sign up, you’ll have an easy-to-navigate dashboard to use ready-made design components.

  • Millions of images
  • Photo filters
  • Free icons and shapes
  • Hundreds of free fonts

You have the ability to create folders to keep projects separate and upload your own images and backgrounds to use within their system. Largely what makes Canva so useful and simple is when you start a new image you can start from scratch or choose to start with a template that’s already sized correctly. For example, pinterest image templates are optimized for pinterest at 735x1102.

What is Canva used for?

Optimized Social media post images:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Tumblr

Social profile header images:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+

Marketing materials and stationary

  • Business cards
  • Posters
  • Flyers
  • Brochures
  • Email newsletter graphics
  • Greeting cards
  • Photo collages
  • Infographics
  • Website graphics
  • Presentations
  • Menus
  • Invitations
  • Book covers

…and pretty much anything else you can think of.

Canva has been around for almost five years with more than 10 million active users. Because it’s so easy to use, it’s poplar among marketing professionals, web developers, artists, and graphic designers.

The best part about Canva is its completely free to use. They do have premium design elements (images, icons, backgrounds) you can purchase for around $1 per.  Affordable, yes, but there are many free elements and you can upload your own elements to use in your designs.

If you like some of their premium elements, by all means purchase.  You can reuse all of your purchases.

What can you do with canva?

Branding tutorials and challenges

Speed up the design process with a few tips and tricks:

Tutorials for desing choices:



I've been using Canva for a few years and Its saved me a ton of time. I urge you to take a look.

But I promised you three ways...


My close second...Desygner works the same as Canva with similar capabilities for creating marketing materials and social images such as

  • Posters
  • Menus
  • Flier
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Etsy


Adobe Spark

A beautiful alternative, Adobe Spark allows you to create a nice selection of images, fonts, templates, and animations, free. You can easily create:

  • Social images
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
  • Newsletter images
  • Presentations
  • Videos


Which of these programs do I use?

Truth be told, I've use and recommend all three tools and their free options are more than enough to create high quality materials- as many as you need.

Why do I use all three? Simple.

Canva is the best option with the biggest library and capabilities. It was created by designers for designers, and that's reflected in their blog.

Adobe Spark, the top of the food chain in terms of design tools, but this particular service, while good, doesn't have as many templates, features, or capabilities as Canva. However, it runs quickly and smoothly for creating similar images in bulk. You're guaranteed a clean design that matches the other designs in the batch with little to know re-work on individual images.

Desygner, similar to Canva, has many capabilities and much of the same tools, features, and templates that Canva has. It's a close second to Canva with one major feature that puts it above both Canva and Adobe Spark- it has a mobile app for Android. Since I'm an Android user, this was the selling point. Otherwise, go with Canva as it has the most features.




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