Canva is a graphic design software with powerful features and tons of resources that will appeal to basic and advanced users. It is available in web-based, desktop (Windows and macOS), and mobile versions (iOS and Android).
Canva can help you create professional-looking designs for social media, infographics, logos, presentations, resumes, business cards, book covers, invitations, and more. It works with graphic designs made for digital use, but also with those meant for printing. For all these predefined design types, Canva provides many templates that you can use and customize to your needs.
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Canva Cons & Pros
- Using Canva’s interface is easy and intuitive. You can get a quality design done quickly – even if it is your first time using this software.
- Canva offers an impressive number of templates, photos, and other elements you can use on your designs. But keep in mind that most of them are not available to free users.
- Canva is frequently adding more features, templates, and elements to its collections.
- Unless you want to use the desktop version, you won’t need to install a specific application on your computer to use Canva. Using the web-based interface also doesn’t require the heavy computing resources that other desktop tools do.
- You don’t have to worry about each media type’s correct dimensions. You select the design type, and Canva will create a new design with the appropriate dimensions.
- Even if you have no ideas to begin your design, you can browse through the templates to help you get inspired.
- The upload feature is available for all users. Even free users can work around the limitation of the paid elements by using their own files.
- Canva is available on the most common platforms, including a web interface, so you can use it on all your devices.
- Canva doesn’t have an offline version. You need to be connected to the Internet to use it, even the desktop versions.
- A free user stumbles upon paid resources all the time, from elements inside the templates to export options. It is a way to invite the user to become a paid subscriber, but it can become annoying after a while.
- The home page has no options to organize how the designs are displayed. You see all your designs sorted by modified date, which can be messy.
- Due to the smaller screen, it is not easy to work on the mobile app.
- The templates make life easier, but you also risk finding similar designs out there, from other Canva users.
Communication has become more and more visual over the years. The demand for high-quality graphic designs for social media and other means of connecting people has increased considerably.
However, most regular users, freelancers, and small companies cannot afford to pay for expert designers to produce the number of graphic pieces they need for their personal or professional needs. But what if they could create quality graphics themselves, even with limited design skills? That’s where Canva comes in.
How Canva works
Creating a new design in Canva is very straightforward. The interface helps you get your creation ready fast. In fact, you might lose more time choosing from the virtually endless list of templates, images, fonts, and other elements than actually working on your design.
First, you select the type of design you want to create. You can choose from a wide range of design types. You can also create a custom size design if you prefer to, or you can open an image for editing with no need to worry about its dimensions.
When you create a new design, you get a blank canvas. You can drag and drop elements to it, or you can choose a template that will give you a design that is ready to use. You can customize that template by editing, adding, or removing any component you want.
You can choose from a large collection of elements. It includes images, icons, shapes, graphics, audio and video clips. You can also upload your own files.
Canva’s subscription options
Canva is a powerful tool that offers free and paid subscriptions. Most casual users will be satisfied with the free version. For those who want more, Canva offers two paid tiers. Let’s look into all of them in more detail.
This option will suit most non-professional users. It includes:
- free templates, fonts, photos, and graphics that you can use in your creations.
- limited export options: you can export your designs to PDF, JPG, or PNG files, and videos as MP4 files – but you can only use the default settings. For example, you cannot use the background transparency option when exporting as a PNG file (bad news if you’re creating a logo).
- 5GB of cloud space for your personal files.
- two folders to help you organize your designs.
- sharing selected designs with other users.
- allowing other users to view, edit and comment on your designs.
Note: Free users need to be aware that some free templates include non-free elements (like images, icons, shapes). You can delete those elements or pay to use them. These elements are charged per design, which means that, if you use one paid element in three designs, you will need to pay for it three times, even if it is the same element.
The first paid tier includes everything from the free edition, and it adds more resources and features:
- more free templates, fonts, photos (including a premium stock image library), graphics, audio and video clips.
- more exporting options and formats.
- built-in social sharing and presentation mode.
- one-click resize, which helps you create copies of your designs in different sizes.
- background remover for photos.
- one Brand Kit, that gives you quick access to your brand logos, color palettes, and fonts. If the font your brand uses is not available in Canva, you can upload them.
- Content Planner, which allows you to schedule your designs for automatic publishing on 7 social media platforms.
- 100GB of cloud space.
- unlimited folders.
- 24/7 personal support.
You can try Canva Pro for 30 days for free. That’s an opportunity to try the premium features before committing to the paid subscription.
Pricing (US): $12,99/month or $119,99/year.
This paid tier targets corporate users and large teams. It includes all features from the Pro edition, and it adds some features that help organize the teamwork and a larger production of graphic designs:
- multiple Brand Kits to handle separate sets of logos, color palettes, and fonts.
- selected users can approve the designs using the built-in workflow.
- selected users can control the access permissions of the team’s users.
- selected users can lock parts of the designs, so the team members won’t be able to edit them.
- 24/7 enterprise support.
Pricing (US): $30/month per user.
Canva for Education and for Nonprofits
Canva also offers two subscriptions that include all the premium features and are free for educational usage and nonprofit organizations.
Canva for Education is available for K-12 teachers and their students. It is COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule) and FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) compliant. The students can unleash their creativity in a safe environment.
Canva for Nonprofits offers the premium features of Canva Pro freely to up to 10 people in nonprofit organizations. It allows them to use the resources of Canva to create beautiful graphics and share their message in social networks and campaigns that reach audiences all over the world.
Canva is indeed a powerful graphic design software that has gathered a lot of attention lately. As we mentioned before, Canva frequently gets more features and resources to provide all design creation that a user may need in one single tool.
Even though using Canva as a free user can be annoying sometimes, it still provides what most casual users need to create beautiful graphics for free. Paid users have an immense number of resources to help them pour their creativity into their designs for a reasonable price. If you’re looking for a graphic design tool, you should give Canva a try.