Canva is another way for freelance designers to make money

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Canva is another way for freelance designers to make money

Like 99designs, this Australian based site focuses on designs, but there is a difference.

If you're a designer, marketplaces such as 99designs can be a useful source of work when you have nothing better to do, but they focus on one-off commissions for an agreed fee.

Another site offers the potential for a trailing income from your work. Called Canva, an Australia-based but now internationally-funded online design tool, is designed to let anyone produce professional-looking designs for posters, presentations and social media graphics.

Canva can be used via a web browser or an iPad app. It's well worth a look if you need to produce your own graphics, especially if you can't justify the cost and complexity of traditional design programs.

The service itself is free, but users must either develop their own designs and upload their own photos or other graphics, or pay $1 for every 'premium element' used when they finally publish the finished piece.

Canva now allows selected professional designers to add their own Canva layouts to the service's library, along with their photos, vector graphics and illustrations. Each time one of those items is used, the designer earns a royalty - though Canva did not disclose the percentage payable.

Since Canva has more than a million users creating more than 437,000 designs each week, it provides a pretty big potential market. 

Given the way such things usually work, there will probably be a very long tail if your layouts and graphic elements are rarely used.

But the amount of time and effort involved in recycling old work is small, so even a modest level of use could mean the designer is ahead. And there's always the chance of hitting the jackpot if a particular design or image takes off.

Designers can apply to join the program here, but they will need to provide at least three sample Canva layouts, and optionally a link to their online portfolio.

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