I know the secret to your student club branding. You found Canva, but so did every other student group on campus.
Canva, that lovable content design website, is overused by student groups for their marketing, and the designs aren’t even that strong. Canva’s intuitive design system has turned student instagram feeds into a homogenous wet blanket of purposeless squiggles and lines.
Take a scroll through your instagram feed. Do you see it now?
Even the hammocking club used a Canva design for one of their posts.
A good rule of thumb with journalism, and any design for that matter, is to only make choices that have an impact for the consumer. I hear our newspaper adviser’s voice every time I change up a design: “What’s it doing for the reader?”
You know what Canva’s annoying loops and dots and lines and squiggles do for your instagram posts?
They’re visual white noise. Canva is ripe with visual white noise.
And now, you’re going to see those dots and squiggles on every student group’s posters.
Like ASA. Yellow blobs, blue squiggle. Here’s a nice blob, courtesy of SKOL and yours truly, Canva. Dots and squiggles and blobs, oh my! Thanks, Viking Days. And @augieeast was so young! But already the new account succumbed to the Canva dots. We also lost Tuve to the dots, and by extension Granskou as well.
My problem isn’t necessarily with Canva. I use Canva to churn out quick designs when I don’t have time to open Illustrator or Photoshop. Adobe products like those also aren’t accessible to everyone, so Canva’s a great way for student groups to get their marketing done quickly and for free.
The issue comes with the greater purpose of marketing and promotion. What started as a way for your posts to stand out has turned into every post looking like an entry-level millennial marketer is running the account branding for all of Augustana’s student groups. Dots and squiggles and dots and squiggles and MOVING DOTS AND SQUIGGLES.
Now your posts are easy to skip. They look like every other post. It’s natural to scroll right past them when you’re pretty sure you saw the same one last week (it’s because you did). Your goal of making beautiful, eye-catching posts has backfired.
You don’t have to ditch Canva altogether, but now that you’ve seen just how rampant their premade designs are just within our campus, maybe try switching up some colors and layouts? Canva can be a good starting point, but just remember when you see those squiggles and dots and blobs to ask yourself, “What’s that doing for my post?”
P.S. I’m coming for your script fonts next.