Even though many platforms are trending right now, Canva stands out as one we just can’t ignore. Over the past few years, this online tool started growing in popularity as well as in size.
Last year its engagement made it to the top 100 according to Amazon Alexa. They also received around 40,000 job applications and hired over 400 people in 2019 alone.
Check this out: they went from having 138 million designs in a whole year to 139 million in only a month. Now, that’s impressive.
So what’s the secret? And most importantly, what are you missing out on if you’ve never heard of it?
Canva is a free online design tool with millions of users worldwide. It allows people with zero skills to achieve professional-looking graphic design pieces.
It features countless free resources to make your graphics look like you paid for them, although you do need a premium account to access the best ones. Its foolproof drag-and-drop interface makes it incredibly user-friendly, but more on that later.
There’s no denying that making sophisticated design tools accessible for everyone is beyond useful. Let’s dive into the details to decide if Canva is worth paying attention to.
Canva is an ideal tool for small business owners, online entrepreneurs, and basically anyone who needs it. Who wouldn’t want to impress companies with a cool design resume, or improve their social media posts?
Other tools, such as Photoshop or Illustrator, might lead to better results, but they demand skills that most people lack. And let’s face it: hiring a good graphic designer is costly and time-consuming. Plus, most small tasks are not worth the effort, like presentation slides or a cover letter.
We need something immediate and intuitive. Modern problems call for modern solutions, don’t they?
Let me walk you through the process step by step.
What do you need? A poster, a flyer, a logo maybe? Here’s what you can do with Canva:
And just anything you can imagine. You want it, you got it.
Canva features an impressive library with over 400,000 options to choose from. And what’s more, you can fully customize your template of choice, taking your possibilities to infinity.
You can also select a blank document and start from scratch, though. Tailoring your designs to your own preferred styles and dimensions is also possible.
Keep in mind that all users can see the same templates, so you might wanna give yours a twist so it won’t look exactly like another user’s design.
Pictures, shapes, stickers, backgrounds, graphics, and text. Even though most of the best ones are only available for pro subscribers, there are plenty of useful items available for free.
A huge part of graphic design is achieving the right symmetry and proportions. It all comes down to grouping and aligning. Identify the different layers and group your elements in a smart way to take your work to the next level.
If you need a little help with this, Canva can give you a hand.
No ugly watermarks, no extra fees, no limitations. Just select your format and you’re good to go. The design will also be saved in your account for future reference.
Say you designed a nice resume a while ago and you need to update a few things. No problem! Instead of starting over you can work on the same document and repeat the process as many times as needed.
Need an extra hand from a colleague? Then share your design with as many people as you want so that you can all collaborate.
One of the best parts about Canva is its plethora of features that allows design-challenged individuals (like me) to produce beautiful looking designs, with ease.
You can easily upload your own photos and edit them to fit into your design just the way you need them to.
Even though the tools here are quite limited, I’d say they are good enough. Canva offers a list of cool effects and filters. You can also crop, flip, adjust the settings, add frames, and even animate your pictures.
Again, having a premium account gives you access to more complex features, but I would say the free version covers the basics pretty well.
Your font choice can either make it or break it. They are the personality of your design and affect the tone of your message.
If you’re making a work presentation you might wanna stick to the sober classics. A fun birthday card might call for something more childish and cheerful. But if you’re, for instance, creating a flyer for your fashion blog you’ll want your font to be stylish.
Let’s face it: most people don’t know anything about fonts and lack the knowledge to make a wise choice. I’d say that Canva’s font library is pretty well-stocked, and they do a great job teaching you how to use them.
It literally cannot get any easier. Canva managed to put together an interface that is so straightforward you don’t even need a tutorial. Although, in case you do, there’s a whole section dedicated to teaching you how to put their resources to good use.
Everything you need to start creating is available for you at first glance. I can’t think of many other online tools that allow you to achieve such professional-looking designs in a matter of minutes.
A big disadvantage here is that it doesn’t work as well on mobiles.
This feature is only available for premium users. Having said that, Canva’s content planner is a must for small business owners and influencers.
It gives you the possibility to schedule your social media posts as soon as you finish editing them. No need to download, wait, and reupload your designs.
This feature works with the following platforms:
Choose a date, add a caption, and Canva will take it from there.
You can collect your logos, color palettes, and fonts in one place to help ensure brand consistency. This will also help you save time by keeping your assets handy.
Oh, and you guessed it. Unfortunately, you have to pay for this one.
By this point, I’d say we have a pretty clear idea about what (and what not) to expect from Canva. So I opened the platform and put together this simple chart of pros and cons to sum it up in an easy visual way.
I know it looks simple, nothing extraordinary, but it works. And it took me less than five minutes to make. I’d say that proves a point!
Canva can be an amazing tool for regular people, as well as for professionals who need instant solutions. It most definitely cannot replace more sophisticated programs, but I don’t think that was ever the intention anyway.
Now, let’s cut to the chase and talk about the cost.
Canva offers 3 plans:
Hell yeah it is.
It's super inexpensive for the amount of bang you're gonna get for yer buck.
We use it and love it - definitely recommend.
The good news is that it also offers a free trial period that should help you make up your mind if you’re still hesitant.
If Canva just doesn’t convince you, there are still plenty of other platforms with similar functionalities. Some of them are not so popular, but still worth trying.
Layouts are pretty similar and equally user-friendly, so make sure to check them out to judge for yourself:
Based on what we know, Canva seems to be a pretty awesome resource. So, what is there to hate?
Well, this reminds me of teachers hating on Wikipedia.
Of course, attending a lecture on the circulatory system would be the best way to learn about it. But sometimes we need immediate, digested information. And Wikipedia has it. It’s easy to scan, it’s accurate and it often gives us exactly what we’re looking for.
We can’t afford to become experts in all fields. That’s the whole point of having the internet!
Some designers argue that Canva is gonna ruin their industry, others see it as a threat and worry that it’s gonna steal their jobs.
Truth is, and hear me out here, they should coexist. They cannot possibly cancel one another, they serve different purposes.
Someone who genuinely didn’t have the time or money to hire a designer can now find a suitable solution for their graphics. On the other hand, a business’s core graphical identity should remain in the hands of an expert human.
If the above didn’t help you decide if Canva is the right tool for you, try it out for free! I promise it will come in handy next time you’re in a rush and need to put together something nice.