Skip to main content

Designing Above Your Weight Class With Canva

Early into my career, I realized I was clueless about personal finance. My employer offered me options for a retirement plan and this paralyzed me with doubt. I was deeply intimidated by all the choices, acronyms and numbers. I didn't know where to start; despite going to school for accounting, which only added more egg to my face. 

I dove into the space to build my confidence. Once I got going, I realized it wasn't that hard. I started to enjoy learning about taxes, planning, and investing. It was empowering. I felt ownership over my financial life.

As a way to reinforce and share learnings, I began blogging. I figured learning in public was a good way to test ideas, get feedback, and help folks in similar shoes. 

I was focused on writing, but soon it became clear that my blog looked pretty dull with just text. I needed cover art to give my content some pop, some character, some life. 

I started with stock images from Unsplash, but soon this felt unoriginal and limiting. You'll be surprised how many publications (even big ones) recycled the same images over and over. To express myself, I wanted art for myself.     

Aside from doodling rough designs for work (emphasis on rough), I'm not a professional designer. Assessing the product landscape, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator kept popping up as solutions. I didn't need this much firepower and the learning curve wasn't worth it for me. Writing was my focus. I needed something simple. 

Along came Canva, a platform with countless ready-made templates, customizable graphics, and a ridiculously easy drag-and-drop interface. With Canva, I had all I needed to make the art I wanted. So far I've created over 100 designs and I recommend the product all the time. 

I share my experience to demonstrate the value of a well-designed product (pun maybe intended). 

People buy products not for features, but to meet an outcome, to solve a problem. There are three main outcomes users look for: 

1) Functional Outcomes: The core tasks the users want done.

2) Emotional Outcomes: The way users want to feel by accomplishing those tasks. 

3) Social Outcomes: The way users want to be perceived for using your product. 

My functional outcome was the ability to create cover art. My emotional outcome was the confidence I felt as a creator. My social outcome was being perceived as professional by my readers. 

Functional outcomes are clearer and are what most companies focus on. However, a lot of opportunity is in the emotional and the social. These are what separate a $50,000 Rolex from a $50 Timex. 

I continue to use and recommend Canva, because similar to how learning empowered me to take control of my finances, their product empowers me to create. 


Popular posts from this blog

The Art of Giving Feedback

Constructive feedback is an awkward affair. You don't want hurt feelings, but recognize the importance of honesty. You've tried the classic "hoping things will get better on its own" and unfortunately it hasn't played out. When giving feedback, here are a few things that I try to keep it mind. Start with empathy. Step into their shoes and understand their story. If you don't know, ask. Be genuinely curious. Feedback is a dynamic affair. Shared communication with a shared goal towards progress. Take the emotion out of it. Focus on the situation, not the person. Focusing on the person adds unnecessary weight to an already emotionally-bloated event.  Be specific. Give clear examples. Vague feedback equals dismissed feedback.  Doing above won't de-awkward things fully, but it will dampen it and increase the chance of better outcomes. 

ELI5: The Stock Market

Today we get back to basics and answer some of the most common questions about the stock market.

Step One is Knowing

In school, we listen to our teachers. At home, our parents. Throughout our childhood, following instructions is praised and rewarded. When we're young, there's value in this. We don't understand how the world works quite yet, so guidance can be lifesaving.  The bias to just accept obviously has drawbacks. Insert old jumping off a bridge adage .  This conditioning is especially strong for kids from lower income households. Their parents are more likely in working class jobs involving strict order-taking. Parents of middle-class households tend to be knowledge workers where influence is essential.  Studies have shown kids from middle-income households are more willing to negotiable with their teachers. They learn from their parents that things are not set in stone. This leads to better grades and learning outcomes when compared to their lower income counterparts who don't negotiable.  In business, if we simply accept things as they are, we would never innovate. In work, w