Diane Higgins Design

OK, so you’re starting your business. You are now the CEO, Marketing Manager, Financial Director and Head of Operations, but all you actually wanted to do was do the thing you are really good at and love as a business. You have a small child who pops in to your ‘office’ every now and again to remind you that Peppa Pig is looking for someone to press play on Netflix before it can continue, and you can continue with your work. Does this sound familiar? If so, you’ve come to the right place.

I can’t help you with your childcare issue- I’ve 3 of my own to be dealing with, and I certainly can’t help you with your accounts, but if you want good advice from a Graphic Designer as to how you can actually create Graphic Design content yourself that doesn’t look as if your 5 year old did it, I’m your man. (woman actually, but who cares in this equal opportunites flexible work revolution anyway?)

It could be you

When I first graduated from CIT, I had plenty of offers from people who needed my services as a designer to, you know, design stuff for them for free so I used my many years of study to put in to practice what I learned in order to design lots of stuff for people who had no money to pay me.

I wondered if there was anything I could do to just do up something quick for them, to give them what they wanted and to spend my precious time chasing actual paid work. At the time, there was nothing.

You could be one of those people who needs stuff for free, but instead of exploiting a new design graduate, you can just use this secret tool.

The Secret

OK so this is the secret….


Now I’ve said it.

Over the course of this article, I may sound like I work for them, but full disclosure, it is so good it may well put me out of business, so quite the opposite.

What you can do with it

This is basically the solution for doing yourself what you don’t have the money to pay a designer to do for you. You can create a logo, you can do up a presentation, you can make a poster for an event, you can create funky social media graphic and upload them directly to your accounts and you can make all of these LOOK GOOD. Now my 5 year old is pretty talented (she was responsible for the lovely cover image) and you know what? Even she could do some pretty cool designs in Canva if she had a start-up business.

Now, I have worked with lots of clients over the years, and many of them think they can design stuff themselves. This is usually how it goes: (I just did this image on Canva right now in about 2 minutes)

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It’s so easy to use, even a client could use it!!!

(Controversial- I know!)

I recently introduced Canva to a class of young school leavers with no prior design ability on a course designed for entry level into employment. The task was to come up with a new logo for the programme themselves as a group, and to use Canva to design a professional looking logo.

This was the result they came up with after 3 short classes:

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With the incorporation of the corporate brand guidelines, this logo served as the basis for the project from then on, and was part of a successful rebrand of the programme.


The website works on what is called a ‘Freemium’ model, meaning that many of the features are free to use, but you have to pay for some of the resources such as images etc or for some of the more advanced features such as uploading your brand fonts to your ‘brand kit’ etc. As an example I did pay the princely (Not Harry obviously) sum of €1 for the use of the image of the woman in my above example, but what’s €1 between friends?

How to Use It

My advice would be to start by logging on, and design stuff for your business, for your friend’s birthday or for the craic.

First thing you need to do is set up an account.

Ok. Now once you log in, it’s pretty easy from there.

There’s even a section on the home page called ‘Design School’  https://designschool.canva.com/ where you can learn everything from how to get started https://designschool.canva.com/tutorials/getting-started/ to courses in Graphic Design and social media.

It’s That Simple.

So with all of this knowledge at hand, the best thing to do is log on and start creating. The world is your oyster.

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Sorry. I couldn’t resist another Canva example, and a reference to a beautiful part of Cork!