With today’s access to information and technological progress occurring at a blistering pace, there are tools developed every single day that solve problems you face in your job. I want to start sharing different tools and technologies here on this blog that I think would benefit individuals in an EHS role. One tool I want to share is Canva which is a free graphic-design tool website.
Creating Quality Graphics for Safety Posters, Safety Training, and Handouts Can Be a Pain
One pain point for many safety professionals is being responsible for the creation of training presentations, handouts, safety posters, etc. The majority of safety professionals do not have any graphic design background (like me) and often turn to Google Image Search to try to find what they need.
The problem with this method is that many times they do not find what they are exactly looking for, the images used are copyrighted, or the end result is a hodgepodge of different types of images that looks less than professional.
That is where a graphic design platform or program comes in handy. While many people have heard of Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator, the majority of safety professionals never used either. The cost (which actually has come down compared to past prices) and the learning curve keep most people away.
Canva is Your Solution
Thankfully there have been many new tools created to solve this problem of creating professional looking graphics for free (or extremely cheap) with ease. Mentioned above, Canva, is a free graphic-design tool website. It uses a drag-and-drop format and provides access to over a million photographs, graphics, and fonts. It is used by non-designers as well as professionals.
Everything here on this website outside of the free stock photos that I use for the safety talks was designed on Canva. From the logo you see at the top of the page to the free safety poster designs- all were done on Canva with little experience using the platform.
Below is a picture of my Canva account. These are all thumbnails of my designs I have created for my website. Some of the images are small images used in posts on this website and others are 18’’ x 24’’ posters.
Click the photo to see a higher resolution version.
What is awesome about Canva is everything is high resolution so you do not have to worry about their images, fonts, or illustrations getting blurry on you when you expand them to fit a larger image. When you upload your own images to use make sure they are also high resolution so they adjust well if needed.
I do have to provide a caveat that I have the pro version which only costs $119.00 a year, but there are plenty of features, images, fonts, etc. to get the average safety pro by in the free version. In fact I used the free version for months.
The main reason I bought the pro version is just to access their library of stock images. If you do not care if you use copyrighted images (I suggest that you do not use copyrighted images) or are fine with the free stock photos found elsewhere online then you really do not need the pro version. You can upload any photo you have to use on the platform. If there is a certain pro image on Canva you like, you can use it in your design for $1 instead of buying a pro membership.
The easiest way to show what Canva can do is by providing a video of someone actually using the site. I will plan on creating a video on how to create a safety poster with Canva in the future, but for now I have linked to a video below that shows some of the features and ease of use designing with Canva.
As you can see the platform is super easy to use. I really cannot recommend this website enough if you are needing something more robust than Google Image Search paired with Paint; I know you have created graphics for work using Paint- don’t lie.
More About Free Stock Photos
If you do not want to purchase the pro membership on Canva you do not have to. That being said, you will probably need to find free stock images to upload and use. I use the site Pixabay.com for many of the stock images you see here on the site. I do not pull images from Google, I do not want to be sued. Even if you are just creating something for in house use at work I would not just pluck images from Google Image Search. Fun fact: Using an image and sourcing where it is from is still against the law unless written permission is granted or the terms state that the image is free-use.
Some other places to get free stock photos to use for your safety posters, safety handouts, or presentations:
- Allthefreestock.com – This site is a good one that I just found while taking a course on Pinterest. It allows you to search a database of different free stock photo sites at once.
- Pixabay – Mentioned above, Pixabay.com is my go to when it comes to finding images to use on this site.
- Other sites I am not so familiar with but they get good reviews : https://gratisography.com/ , https://www.pexels.com/ , and https://picjumbo.com/ .
Just do a search for “free stock photo sites” on Google and you will most likely find what you need on one of them.
Learning How to Use Canva
If the YouTube video did not convince you that Canva is super user friendly, consider taking a course on using it. I used the program for a few months with success, but decided to seek out more information on using the platform in case there were features I was missing.
YouTube is obviously an awesome place to find free videos on learning how to do just about anything, but I wanted something more structured and comprehensive. I searched Udemy, which is an online teaching and learning marketplace, for courses on using Canva. There were 60 results. Below is a screenshot of the results page. I chose to go with the top result. If you have never searched Udemy for courses I highly recommend that you do by clicking the banner link below.
The course walked me through Canva from start to finish and along the way had different design projects to do so learners could get comfortable creating different types of graphics. While I had a good base of knowledge from using the platform there was plenty of information I learned that was worth the $9.99 cost of the course.
This is the first post in a series of tools and technologies I think that safety pros should know about. Part of me feels like the EHS field as a whole is lagging behind other industries when it comes to embracing technology and change. This includes a real lack of knowledge of what is out there by many who work in our field and how certain tools, technologies, knowledge, etc. can be applied and used.
Do not get me wrong; I see that software, apps, smarter technology, etc. are being developed for workplace safety and there are professionals who are embracing them. Personally I just think that we can do a better job as a community in sharing knowledge with each other and using that knowledge to be more effective. I am going to create content on this site that other safety pros may find useful that they are not seeing on other EHS platforms.
Let me know if there is anything you want to learn about or if you have a technology or tool that you find not many safety pros are taking advantage of!