Canva is both an iPad app and an online tool for creating impressive designs. With a few taps you can design a wide range of items and it is a very easy app to use. If you lack the design skills or tools to draw something from scratch, Canva will enable you to create what you need.

The app and website is template-driven and you start off by selecting the category of design you want to create. For example, it could be a presentation, a poster, a Facebook cover, business card, document, invitation, photo collage and more.

After selecting the design category, a collection of templates is displayed as thumbnail images. The idea is that you select one that is similar to what you want and then customise it to suit your requirements. Selecting a template loads it so you can see a larger version and you can view as many as you want until you find one that is suitable.

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Elements in the design such as text, photos and graphics, can be dragged around to rearrange their positions. Handles (blobs) on the corners enable objects to be made larger or smaller, and rotated to any angle. Objects and text are placed on layers and a layer can be brought forward or sent to the back to get the objects in the right order, such as the text on top and an image underneath.

Canva app

Text can be selected and replaced with your own by typing it in with the onscreen keyboard. Images can also be replaced and a search facility in the left panel can be used to find clipart. Just enter a keyword to search for and a collection of matching artwork or photos is displayed. Any item can be dragged to the template and dropped to add to the design. There is a collection of background textures and solid colours, and again you just drag and drop them on the design to replace the current background.

Canva app

Instead of the clipart and backgrounds provided, you can also select photos stored on the iPad. Photos taken on an iPhone and synced with iCloud can be selected and used in Canva on the iPad.

You don’t have the flexibility and tools that Photoshop provides, but this is a free app for the iPad and it is not a competitor for Adobe. This is ultra-simple design software that anyone can use without any special skills or training. It is very easy to create impressive designs for various projects and if you have limited time and need something quick and straightforward, and don’t want to hire a professional, Canva is a good alternative.

Canva app

The finished design can be shared to Facebook, Twitter, via email and so on in the usual manner. It can also be downloaded as an image or a PDF file, saved to online storage like Google Drive and so on.

There is a catch though, and this is that many clipart photos and artwork must be paid for. A few items are free, but most are not. If you only use free backgrounds and clipart, use your own photos and type in your own text, then the finished design is free. Items that must be paid for are clearly marked so you can decide whether to use them or not at the design stage. This is fair enough and the price of an item is fairly low.

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I like Canva, both on the iPad and on the web using a computer. I am not a brilliant artist, so the template driven design with clipart library is just what I need. This is a great app.

Price: Free
Developer: Canva
Version: 1.0.7
Size: 34.4 MB
iOS: 7.0 and up