Background: Canva is a cloud-based SaaS graphic design tool that’s extremely simple to use and offers a mountain load of beautiful templates. Often, it helps those unskilled in the magic of graphic design. You can start using it for free!
Starting Price: Free - $9.99/mo
Visit Online: https://www.canva.com/
Review Summary & Ratings
Canva is very easy to use thanks to its very intuitive drag-and-drop interface. Also, you don’t have to worry about starting from scratch either, although you can do that if you want. There are a ton of templates you can choose from to work with multiple categories. These include infographics, posters, and even business cards.
- Very simple to use
- Tons of beautiful built-in templates
- Create print-ready graphics
- Freemium subscription model
- Very simple to use
- Integrated with stock photo image bank
- Limited functionality – Not a good fit for pro designers
- Most graphic elements are available to paid users only
Introduction: What is Canva?
Canva is yet another freemium online graphics tool that’s extremely simple to use and offers a mountain load of templates that can help you out. It’s supposed to be a quick and easy way to create visuals and help those unskilled in the magic of graphic design.
Getting to Know Canva
The general flow of Canva is much the same as anything in its category online nowadays. You sign up (either with Google+ or an email address) and then just follow the breadcrumbs. Canva will prompt you to choose what type of graphic you’re trying to create, then be suggesting various template visuals for you.
Canva is very easy to use, even easier than Microsoft Paint.
Once you’ve chosen the layout and template you’d like, then comes the customization. Everything is drag and drop, and text can be edited much like text boxes in any other graphic design software.
I’ll admit, it is very easy to use.
Is Canva Free?
Here is where a slight differentiator comes in between free and paying users.
For those who are using the free version, Canva has slightly more limited templates available for you to choose from, and limit your collaborative team to 10 members. Even more importantly, it doesn’t offer you any images at all. Any images you want to use will have to be your own or licensed for you to use. It will sell you images at US$1 a piece though.
Those who opt for a paid Pro account will get a 30-member team account, plus access to what Canva claims is a database of
300,000 75 million of images, animated graphics, audio and video files. It can also help you resize your designs. Other highlights include the acceptance of custom fonts, color palettes and the ability to save templates.
Oh yes, with $9.95/user/month for Canva Pro, you also get priority support.
Canva Plans & Pricing
My Experience with Canva
Since Canva offers an option to design brochures, I got curious and tried that out. I was interested because printing brochures often require higher resolution files for them to turn out nicely after print. It was good to note that once I had tested the brochure template, the system offers an option to download the file as a printable PDF.
I checked with a designer friend of mine and he agreed that the brochure was simplistic (he is, after all, a designer) but definitely usable in print. This is a critical point to note for those thinking of using Canva as a business tool.
Aside from downloading copies of your finished design, you can also share them directly on Twitter or Facebook. You can also email people from within the tool to invite them for collaboration in the design of whatever you’re working on.
More Samples Created Using Canva
Our team at WHSR uses Canva heavily to create graphic and animations. Here are a few examples of images created using Canva.
1. YouTube Video Thumbnail
2. Presentation Slides
Alternatives to Canva
Similar Web-Based Graphic Tools
While Canva is very simple to use it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Thankfully there are many Canva alternatives in the market, some with pretty solid features as well. If you’re looking for other options to Canva, consider PicMonkey, Snappa, or Crello.
Agencies & Other Design Solutions
Graphic design agencies like Penji and DotYeti is another option to consider if you are looking for an affordable solution to your graphic content needs. While not exactly the same graphic design tool like Canva – users on these platforms get to work with professional designers on design projects.
Basic Web-based Design Tools for Home Use
Although I love Canva, it may not always be the best solution. Too much of a good thing can end up a pain in the neck. Canva has developed aggressively since its early days, and some may feel a little lost in its current, boundless feature set. Here are some excellent Canva alternatives for home use.
While Canva offers an infographic tool, it's nowhere near as fantastic as Infogram. Infographics are one of the best ways to share valuable graphic-driven content, and Infogram's entire business is about helping you create them.
From designer templates to support for company guidelines, Infromgram helps everyone build stunning, interactive content quickly. That isn't the end, though. You also get access to tools for metric measurement and publishing that take your business to the next level.
Vectr is another dedicated-purpose tool, and this one is all about Vectors (of course!). Vectors are one of the most underrated resources of the Internet, allowing creators to build 2D graphics that are highly scalable.
The applications are endless – business cards, wedding cards, illustrations, logos, wallpapers, and so much more. Vectr lets you work on them for free. It even offers team collaboration features, and the lightweight editor is web-based, requiring no downloads.
Stencil reminds me of Canva in the past – a powerful yet essential image editing tool. Instead of going wild, it's maintained its purpose in life. Users get access to a simple-to-use and effective web-based editor.
Despite that simplicity, it offers many parts of what makes Canva great. For example, purpose-driven templates like Facebook photos, Twitter posts, and Pinterest images. Once you've built your images, you can share them directly from the Stencil platform.
Conclusion: Use Canva to Create Instant Visuals
A few people I checked with and spoke to of Canva gave me quite an interesting perspective. One of them is a teacher and she mentioned that it’s great to use to create simple visuals to help teach the kids with. My designer friend, on the other hand, had nothing great to say about it except for one thing – that it did not consume the massive resources that Photoshop does.
On my part, for most of my professional career, I’ve been either a writer or editor and have quite a bit of experience with layouts and graphics, even if not producing them myself. Because of this, I quickly grew bored of running around in tiny circles with Canva.
Although it’s immensely easy to use, I found that for the type of output I’d require in print, it proved way too simplistic. On the other hand, it’s great for creating instant visuals, so long as you don’t mind that you’ll be sharing templates with probably thousands of other people.
I feel that this is something that would be valuable from a small business or personal standpoint, probably the former more than the latter.
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Frequent Asked Quesions on Canva
Canva free is good for anyone who is looking to create professional-looking visuals quickly and easily. It offers a good mix of tools to get this done and tons of supporting elements that take basic designs to the next level. The downside is that many of the better elements will require credits to use.
Designers often feel stifled by Canva as it doesn’t offer a fine level of control over visuals. The service is meant to provide simple and quick graphical solutions and doesn’t include many features professionals will use, such as pathing or raw image processing.
Canva works well with video files. It boasts an intuitive drag-and-drop editor that lets newbies form short video skits quickly and effortlessly. There is also a library of templates you can use to boost the quality of your videos. Even better is that all of this works on Canva servers, so you don’t need powerful host computers to render the videos.
PicMoney is better than Canva for editing visuals since it has a greater breadth of functionality. It’s intended for more professional use, leaning towards small businesses and entrepreneurs. However, while PicMonkey is also cheaper than Canva’s paid plans it doesn’t offer a free-tier for general users.
Canva may offer some similar image-editing features to PhotoShop but it lies quite far off in full capability. It doesn’t have the ability to make microscopic changes to images for which PhotoShop has been so renowned. They are both aimed at an entirely different market segment, with PhotoShop being meant for professional designers.
You can cancel Canva Pro at any time during the subscription, but how this works may not be as expected. The cancellation ends the auto-renewal; it does not end your current subscription. It simply means your Canva Pro plan won’t renew once it expires. You can continue using Canva Pro after the cancellation.
Yes, Canva has a watermark feature, allowing you to create relatively unique visuals that bear your personal brand or stamp. On another note, using elements that are meant for paid plans will also result in watermarks appearing on your design unless you pay to remove them.
Canva does not officially impose duration limits on videos created on the platform. However, there is a hard limit to the sizes of content being uploaded. Any video files you attempt to send to Canva must be less than 1024 megabytes (that’s one gigabyte) in size per file. There are also size limits imposed for image and audio files.