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Visual content grabs attention unlike any other. It is the best way to attract a casual surfer. Be it for business promotion or to create awareness. Hard to believe? These visual content statistics are undeniable!
- According to Venngage’s 2020 Report, the percentage of companies using visual content saw a significant 10.5% rise. The numbers went from 63.5% to 74% in just one year.
- All surveyed organizations project to use about 25% of their budget to create and organize high-quality graphics in 2020. Clearly, these companies understand the importance of visual content!
Are you a blogger, social media marketer, or a small business owner who’s looking to create your own visual content? Are traditional tools like Photoshop, Corel Draw, and Adobe AI too complicated? There are far too many easy-to-use graphic design tools on the online market now. Creating visual content online has never been easier or faster.
Save yourself the pain and time of switching between design tools after learning them. Canva is one of the most popular design tools in the online designing market right now. Read this Canva Review 2020, to find out why and if it could be your design tool.
What is Canva?
Canva is an online cloud-based graphic design platform. It is one of the most popular ways to quickly create all types of visual content. You can make all kinds of infographics, social media posts, and featured blog images with Canva. And you can do it in minutes.
It was founded on January 1, 2012, by Melanie Perkins, Cliff Obrecht, and Cameron Adams in Sydney, Australia. Canva is popular. It has about 20 million users from over 160 countries. It is growing extremely fast with a valuation of $6 billion in 2020.
Who is it for?
Canva is for anyone who wants to try their hand in designing visual content. It makes designing easier than ever before. Canva was one of the first software, in the ever growing, ‘Design tools for Dummies’ market! They were one of the pioneers that brought simple designing to the masses.
Are you a freelancer looking to sprinkle your content with visuals? A small business owner who wants to create their own social media promotions? A student who wants to make a visually pleasing resume? Canva has got you covered!
If you are looking for a way to create visual content without going through the trouble of learning traditional editing software, Canva might be just the right choice for you!
1. Readily available resources
Canva has a huge collection of beautiful templates for graphic creation. Add to it a seemingly never-ending collection of stock images, photos, videos, and graphics.
Compared to other online designing tools Canva is miles ahead on this front. This is one of the reasons Canva is so popular. All of Canva’s templates are categorized hierarchically based on platform and purpose. It has layouts for every occasion.
It couldn’t be easier to start to make a graphic for that YouTube Thumbnail or that flyer you want to print.
2. Top-class UI/UX
Canva’s UI is one of the cleanest you’ll see out there. With so many resources and features, one would expect the UI to be complicated and messy. But it is far from it! Canva’s UI is beautiful, clean and powerful.
It does not throw all its features at you at once but makes navigation extremely convenient. Regardless of whether you are a pro or an amateur designer, you’ll appreciate Canva’s elegant UI.
3. Pricing in brief
Canva has an amazing pricing plan. Canva has an unlimited free-tier plan. The only catch is that you get access to only about 8000 templates (yes, that’s a catch). Surprisingly, this number is on par with the pro version of a lot of other design tools. But Canva Pro, has an unbelievable 60,000+ free templates.
Canva oﬀers 2 types of paid subscription – Pro and Enterprise. They cost $9.95/month and $30/month/user when billed annually. This is a lot cheaper than classic design tools like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.
Trust us, this is more than reasonable for the amount of resources that come with it. For pricing in detail scroll on down.
4. Relative versatility
Compared to a lot of other online design software, you can do a lot more with Canva.
Want to design visual graphics for blogs, articles or reports? Want to grab your audience’s attention for a promotional poster? Want to create infographics and make graphs? Are you a student who wants to create a beautiful resume? Want to design your business logo or card? Album Cover? Lesson Plan? Calendar? You will be surprised how much you can do with Canva.
Features in Detail
1. Ease of use
Canva is a simple tool. You do not have to have the expertise of a pro to be able to design graphic content. Canva’s design UI is powerful and simple. It requires no training and or before hand design knowledge whatsoever.
It is simple enough for a newbie designer to experiment and learn. Also, Canva app has just enough feature depth for intermediate and pro designers to take advantage of. This makes it a great place for designers of all kinds in general.
2. Ready to use Templates
It is as good as it gets. Canva templates stand head and shoulders above the rest of the online design tools. Canva’s free plan oﬀers 8000+ free templates, which is greater than what some other tools oﬀer for their paid subscribers. There are diverse templates for every event and occasion. They are grouped and categorised by occasion. On the highest level, they are
- Social Media – Contains all kinds of social media graphic templates. Facebook posts and covers, Instagram posts and stories, Twitter cover, Canva infographics, YouTube thumbnails and more. It is considered one of the best platforms for social media promotions.
- Personal – Make beautiful looking personal documents. Forget the plain-looking resumes, expensive invitations, post-cards. You can even design T-shirts!
- Business – Professional looking websites, logos, invoices, business cards and proposals. No need for your small business to hire a pro anymore. You can make them yourself.
- Marketing – Posters, flyers, infographics, menus, brochures and infographics.
- Trending – You can find out what’s trending in the design word from the trending section. During the time of writing this article and COVID-19 pandemic with online learning is inescapable. The trending section has Zoom virtual backgrounds, mind maps and more.
- Education – Lesson plans, worksheets, certificates, bookmarks and class schedules make Canva a great teacher’s tool.
Non-free templates can be bought individually or the complete database can be accessed with a paid subscription. Also, with the Pro and Enterprise subscriptions, you get to make your own custom templates that people can buy.
3. Collection of stock images, photos and graphics
Canva has a HUGE collection of trendy, beautiful and diverse graphic resources. That includes stock photos, icons, shapes, frames and clip art. Hundreds of thousands of free photos and icons in the free plan.
The Canva pro plan is the real deal with over 60 million photos and videos. All the pictures are copyright free. So you can use them for any commercial or non-commercial purpose without worries. A search feature lets you retrieve the best pictures and recommends similar keywords.
4. Music and Videos
High Definition stock footage. Canva has a collection of beautiful and simple stock footage of all kinds, from tech to nature. There is also a collection of copyright-free music. From laid back background music to pump up tracks, you can look up the music based on the mood you are going for.
Although Canva does oﬀer free music and videos, a lot of good ones come with Pro/Enterprise subscriptions. Any decent video editor and designer knows what a blessing this is.
Canva Pro/Enterprise brings with it the resize option. You can resize any graphic design that you have made in 2 clicks. Resize -> Enter custom dimensions or select from preset designs -> Resize or Copy and resize. This refactors the graphic to be compatible with any new purpose.
Canva recommends templates for you. An algorithm understands the kind of templates and designs that interest you. It does so by learning from the templates that you have recently used. And so it recommends great templates based on your preference, the design trend and more.
Well thought out and clean user interface. Canva’s UI finds the right balance between user friendliness and versatility. It elegantly puts together the recommendations, the folders to organise designs, team functionality and branding support together.
- The templates tab contains all the major categories of design templates.
- The discover tab takes you to a collection of stock photos and icons.
- One-click ‘Create a design’ button makes it easier than ever to start designing.
- A trash section even has all the deleted designs for a buﬀer time of about 30 days!
Whatever the feature, Canva has you covered with an intuitive and powerful UI that you are sure to appreciate.
8. Sharing Designs
Canva lets you share your designs for free. Contrary to most other web based design tools, where collaboration is monetised, Canva lets you share graphics for no cost. All you have to do is click on the get sharable link from the ‘your designs’ section.
The link can be used by anyone to edit or patch up your design. Or there is a ‘share’ button on the editing page. This lets you share the graphic in the following manner
- Share link to edit
- Share link to use as template (Pro feature)
- Share link to view
You can selectively share the design with members of a pre-existing team you have created. We’ll see about team collaborating next.
9. Team Collaboration
Canva’s team collaboration is free. Team members can be added via email invitations or invitation links. The team owner can selectively promote members to admin to give them extra privileges. Free teams feature lets you create 20 teams with up to 3000 members. The pro subscription brings a few additional features to teams like
- Promoting members to the role of ‘Template Designers’.
- Also, Pro teams can make the most out of the ‘Brand kit’ feature. It lets teams design and store resources like brand colours, logos and fonts.
10. Social Media Integration and storage
Publish your designs with just one click. Forget the hassle of downloading the design and re-uploading it on your social media page. Link all your social media accounts to Canva directly. Canva supports the following integrations
- Facebook pages and group
- LinkedIn profiles and pages
- Tumblr and Slack
The designs can also be stored with cloud services with just a click. Some of the supported services are
- Google Drive
- Microsoft Onedrive (Beta)
Other forms of downloads include printing posters, cards, flyers and tags. Further, you can embed and create websites with the designs. All these in just a few clicks.
11. Photo Editing
Canva also has an all-purpose simplistic photo editor. It has a range of filters that enhance the image in just a single click. The editor is completely free. It also does not leave a watermark after an image is edited. The tool is completely browser based and requires no additional downloads or plugins.
12. Transparent Backgrounds
This is a Canva Pro/Enterprise feature. You can edit the image to separate the subject and make the background transparent. This can be done by clicking and trashing the background and downloading the design in PNG format. You only have to check a checkbox to download the design with the transparent background.
13. Size and Quality of Downloads
Canva lets you download designs in the following formats
- PDF (Standard/Print)
- MP4 (Beta)
- GIF (Beta)
With Pro/Enterprise you can select the size and quality of the download using sliders.
Uploading and managing fonts with the brand kit is a Pro/Enterprise feature. Upload, share and use custom fonts. Canva although advice its users to strictly use only fonts they are licensed to use.
15. Language Support
Unlike other online design tools, Canva’s tool supports multiple languages. It supports over 30 languages. This is one of the reasons Canva is increasingly popular around the world.
16. Canva Button
Canva Button is a relatively new feature that lets 3rd party websites use Canva’s design tool remotely. The designs made with Canva button from 3rd party websites will however not be accessible on the user’s design folder. Only limited functionality will be available from these remote sites.
Canva Plans and Pricing
Canva’s pricing is aﬀordable and justified. Canva Pro/Enterprise are universally charged in USD. There are 5 kinds of subscriptions in total – Free, Pro, Enterprise, Education, non profit. The free plan allows unlimited downloads but limits the resources and features available.
They can be individually paid for or used without restriction with Pro/Enterprise. The Education and Non-profit plans bring in Canva Pro features for free if use can meet the respective eligibility criteria. Check out the Canva pro review.
|Price||–||$9.95/month (billed yearly) $12.25/month (billed monthly)||$30/user/month (billed yearly)|
|Templates||Over 8000||Over 60,000||Over 60,000|
|Photos||Over 100,000||Over 60 Million||Over 60 Million|
|Social Media Integration||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Brand Kit||Limited||1 Unlimited Kit||Multiple Unlimited Kits|
|Team Collaboration||Available but limited||Control member privileges||Control member privileges Control team members visibility Built-in workflow to get approvals|
|Advanced Template Locking||No||No||Yes|
|Folders to Organise||2||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Single Sign On Integration||No||No||Yes|
|Transparent Background download||No||Yes||Yes|
Sample designs made with Canva
You can create designs and graphics of almost every kind with Canva. Here are 2 designs made with Canva. The first one is an Instagram post trying to create awareness about the pandemic. Time for creation: 10 mins.
The second one is the Canva resume template. All you have to do is edit the information. Time for creation: 10 mins.
Canva Pros and Cons
- Easy to use
- Beautiful and Powerful UI
- Huge collection of templates and other resources
- Free for educators and non-profit workers
- Social media integration
- Easy team collaborations and branding
- Remote access using Canva Button
- Free photo editor
- Diverse language support
- Features for a wide target audience
- Not as powerful as traditional design tools
- Some features are not available on the mobile version
- No ruler in the design tool
- Grouping of free and paid templates
Should you go for it?
Depends on what you are looking for. Are you looking to design quick and clean graphics? Do you find it diﬃcult to spend time learning classic design tools? Are you starting to learn designing or just started? If yes, then Canva might be a great place to start. It is one of the most popular online design tools on the web for a reason. With a big feature set, and aﬀordable pricing, it is a tool for almost everyone.
But! If you are looking to shift from traditional photo editors and expect the same flexibility from Canva, then you might be disappointed. Although a lot more powerful than other online design tools, it cannot compare to Photoshop or Lightroom.
Canva Alternatives to Consider
If you are looking for something even simpler, or a diﬀerent design UI, there are other design tools in town. Here are a few you should checkouts
- Snappa, an extremely simple and easy to use the tool. It has much fewer features than Canva but has more basic and clean UI.
- Easier to pick up for an absolute beginner
Read our Snappa Review to know more in detail.
- PicMonkey is an online image editing tool, that provides features simplified from Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.
- It’s got a great pricing plan. The pro plan costs $6/month (billed annually) and $8/month (paid monthly)
- But it does not have an unlimited free-tier plan.
- FotoJet aims to bring together image editing, designing and making collages.
- It does not require a registration for the free features. And the pro plan has a 7-day trial period.
- It is very cheap. $3.33/month (billed annually) and $7/month (billed monthly).
- Separate collage making feature.
- Stencil comes with a huge database of 2,300,000+ stock photos, icons and graphics.
- Compatible with Google Fonts and has a collection of 100,000+ quotes.
- Auto-create bit.ly links for graphics.
- Stencil also comes as a browser extension and a WordPress plugin.
Conclusion: It is hard to choose from the tens of top design tools that are available online. Not all of them oﬀer the same features. Not all of them fit your needs properly. Our advice is, weight all your options, find out what suits your needs and pick one.
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