App of the Week: Canva helps busy bloggers look good

mary must blog

I’ve recently had the privilege of working on content management and publishing for the world’s largest retailer. The opportunity to be a part of the digital strategy team for an organization of such scale has been thrilling, but it’s required some sacrifices. My aversion to cubicles notwithstanding, I can be counted on to be in the office 40+ hours per week and, woefully, in the car 15+ hours per week (#commuterprobs). It could be worse, but it has put an near freeze on all of my blogging activities. A fact that’s made my inner entrepreneur restless and demanding: I must blog.

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With spare time short, blogging has to be quick and efficient without sacrificing my digital content values: quality copy and visual excellency. Thats where apps like Canva become a blogger’s salvation. The web application allows non-designers to pull together tasty graphics that please the modern media consumer’s palette. Using templates and simple drag & drop actions members can create slick looking presentations, social media images, flyers, and blog graphics, among an impressive number of formats. The company’s recent move to open the pool of layouts to contributing designers should make options even richer, granted they maintain high design standards and keep navigation and browsing easy.

The Canva user interface is very intuitive, but to get you started and keep you going, members learn to use the platform using the app’s design school. Think Codecademy meets Polyvore. And it’s free! Freemium, that is, as it’s got a useful basic service that is free of charge, but premium features can be purchased to enhance your experience of the product. For example, the graphic above contains a watermark because the background image is a premium image. Just $1 to remove that and obtain a one time use license.

I used a free template to create the graphic below and it’s one of many that are good candidates for periodic posts. From pretty images & pithy sayings to decorate an Intagram feed, to quarterly reports turned into an infographic, Canva helps the helpless add polish to their digital repertoire. That makes it well-qualified to be the app of the week.

canva app of the week

Diary of a Digital Stylist: Covet Fashion App

covet allowance notification I’ve been a fan of online dress up games since before they were made for anyone older than about 8 years. Thankfully, the fast-growing fashion e-commerce industry has made developing such games for adults more worthwhile. My lastest digital styling obsession is Covet Fashion app, from Burlingame-based game firm, CrowdStar.

The iPhone note you see here is one I look forward to daily, because it means I have more gameplay ammo. For those that like to create outfits using digital tools the game is very engaging. It’s a great mix between games where you dress up digital “dolls” and sites like Polyvore.com, which feature real clothes, but no bodies to put them on.

covet fashion app enter events

The object of the Covet Fashion game is to enter events which require you to create looks for a specific occasion. If your look is highly rated by the community you win a piece of fashion to add to your virtual wardrobe. Access to events is limited by either the value of your closet or the necessity to use a certain brand in your look. Some brand-sponsored events feature a real prize for the top-rated look, as judged by the community and the Covet Fashion team. More

Managing Freelancer Success – Will the oDesk-Elance Merger Help?

freelancer success

There are some that use freelancer platforms for the purpose of earning a bit of extra cash. For a growing number, though, the work found on sites like oDesk and Elance (my two most used) are not just side gigs – they are part of – or wholly – the source of full-time employment. Accordingly, it’s becoming more important that these platforms offer ways for freelancers to evaluate potential clients, just as they are themselves evaluated.

The recently announced merger between the above mentioned companies has, predictably, caused a stir amongst the community of online workers – and the general timber is not a happy one. The loudest cries I’ve heard come from More

Interior Style: Work-Life Balanced Office Spaces

If you’re new to a work-from-home lifestyle, you might still be relishing the freedom to work from the couch in your sweats, or at the kitchen table in your PJs. It doesn’t take long, however, before these purported luxuries become a real drag and you start longing for the ergonomic advantages of an office setting. Yet if you have an aesthetically driven career (or personality, in general) the thought of working in stereotypical office is purely terrifying. More