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Monday, 15 June 2015

Finding Inspiration, Canva & Getting Hipster

Recently I posted this tweet:
I wanted to redesign my header image for my website. I wanted something more modern than what I had. I played around in Illustrator - but nothing came. I was out of ideas and had little inspiration!

Yesterday, I signed up to a website called Canva www.canva.com. I had heard that it could produce cool images with minimal effort for the user and wanted to check out this competition. I chose to look at the Facebook cover images.

The idea is that you pick a layout from the left and customise it to your needs. Pretty cool really. However, if you chose a template with a stock photo you will pay $1 for the image. If you pick a template with 4 different photographs for example you will pay $4 for your image.

A template which uses 4 stock photos

What I noticed about the templates was that they were actually quite edgy and contemporary. This is the mood I wanted for my website www.whoismelaniesimpson.com! I decided on my favourites and made a board on Pinterest of my picks. You can check out this board here:

So what's my take on Cava? It's definitely a strong contender in its field. However as a designer it's not for me - but it isn't marketed towards me! What I would say is that I would be wary using these stock photographs as a company because a competing business down the road could end up having the exact same image on their website. What I did like about it is that they labelled their tutorial as a "challenge" which is very endearing and that the tools available functioned well.

But what I really want to talk about is that it almost illustrates exactly how it gives images their contemporary "hipster" look. When you select a template first, it places the photograph in the placeholder and then adds effects over it. The unedited stock photograph appears for a second before the application applies its edits.

Before effects added to stock photography
After effects added to stock photography
You can see in the above images that it applied a vignette and a contrasting filter to the photograph before adding some cool typography and decoration. Another thing to point out is that these images are cropped using the rule of thirds - a very good tip when producing strong imagery.

Before effects added to stock photography
After effects added to stock photography
Another strong effect used to make the images look hipster and modern is the blurring of photography.

After reviewing my inspiration board on Pinterest of my favourite Facebook images from Canva https://www.pinterest.com/melanie1076/banner-inspiration-canva/ 
the top methods of creating hipster looking banners are:
  • Vignetting 
  • Filters
  • Blurring background photography
  • Making backgrounds darker
  • Strong typography
  • Strong cropping
  • Strong decorations including boxes 
Now I'm off to design the new header image for my website. Watch this space.


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