- Extensive design library
- Easy to use without design experience
- Great value
Canva is an online graphic design platform for creating custom web and print media - presentations, posters, social media graphics, logos, flyers, and more. Its user friendly drag-and-drop interface with hundreds of design layouts makes it appealing to both non-designers and professionals. Since its launch in 2012 it has drawn 10 million users.
Canva’s free plan offers a great selection of tools and templates, but premium users get access to a stock library of over a million photographs, illustrations, graphics, fonts, and more.
Canva in detail
Canva is a platform geared towards a wide swath of users, from professional graphic designers and artists to complete novices. Even for the design-challenged, it’s so easy to use that you’ll be able to create and customize any kind of graphic you’d like.
First, users browse through an extensive list of templates for different formats including posters, flyers, pamphlets, presentations, media kits, email invitations, social media posts, CVs, logos, videos, and more. Once you’ve chosen a format, Canva will help you narrow down the templates - which are fully customizable - by industry and choose diagrams, charts, and images to make your graphics appealing and professional.
If you’d prefer, you can also start from scratch, building your own custom designs and templates that incorporate your brand identity or vision. This is possible thanks to Canva’s drag-and-drop editor, which offers a huge collection of images, fonts, and customizable templates. This also makes it easy to create a line of graphics or documents for a brand with consistent themes and designs. All social media layouts are designed and sized appropriately for standard graphics on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
For photo editing, Canva also offers advanced tools and filters, so users can insert text, stickers, icons, borders, frames, and more. You can upload your own images (photos, illustrations, vectors, etc.) and there’s also a massive stock image library with over a million photos to choose from.
One of the perks for users who don’t want to pay is that Canva’s free version includes almost 8,000 templates - but you’ll get 50 times this by upgrading to Canva Pro. Tablet users (both Android and iPad) can download the Canva app to create designs, and share by email, social media, messaging apps, or downloading to your device.
- Very simple to use
- Stores photos for future use
- Plenty of features in the free account.
- Integrated with stock photo image bank
- Limited photo-editing tools
- Templates & stock images are quite generic
Canva isn’t terribly different from similar online design platforms in terms of the process of creation. The first step is to sign up, then choose the kind of graphic you’re looking for (flyer, certificate, social media banner, etc.), and a template within that category. Templates are organized by themes or industries, like real estate, sales, and photography, but you can also choose a business-related template and edit the text and graphics to make it your own. Customizing is very easy. Select each piece of a layout - from shapes to text to images - and modify them to your liking.
For users of Canva’s free service, hover with your cursor over a template thumbnail to see whether it’s free. If it’s for Pro users only, you’ll see a crown icon or a dollar sigh.
As we’ve mentioned, Canva is brimming with stock photos, which you can find on the editor’s menu on the left, but you can just as easily upload your own or drag and drop it from your computer into the uploads box. Once you’ve uploaded an image in your account, it’s saved there so you can easily use it again from any device. Another menu item, “Elements,” includes a wide range of shapes, stickers, animations, lines, charts, and other forms.
And if you need it, help is always a click away - find the purple button at the bottom right corner of the editing screen. There are a wide selection of tutorials and troubleshooting tips, and if you’re having issues, you can send a message to their support staff. This is available even for free members, which is nice to see. You can also hover over buttons on the editor to find out more about how to use various tools and features.
Canva offers three tiers:
Free Plan: If you need a program to create a few simple graphics for small projects, Canva’s free plan is ideal. You’ll get 1GB storage, over 8,000 templates, millions of free images, and over 100 kinds of designs (blog banners, certificates, pamphlets, etc.).
Canva Pro: For users who want access to all of Canva’s features, this plan costs $12.95/month, but if you sign up for a year it’s $9.95/month. Canva Pro is a huge step up, for anyone who’s serious about design. You’ll get 100GB storage; over 60 million photos, illustrations, and graphics; 500 premium fonts; priority support; and 1 brand kit. There are some additional features as well - animated graphics with different kinds of animation, downloads with transparent backgrounds, and easy image resizing to fit whatever dimensions your project requires.
Enterprise Plan: At $30/month, Enterprise comes with everything offered in the Plus plan, but with some business-oriented features added. It comes with multiple brand kits, brand controls, built-in workflows; advanced template locking, unlimited storage, single-sign on (SSO), and 24/7 specialized Enterprise support.
Canva Pro is a great option for small teams or individuals, while Enterprise is geared towards the collaboration and coordination of larger teams.
Like most platforms, Canva offers a 30-day free trial, so you can give it a try, or spend some time on the free version to see if it’s worth the upgrade.
Canva is a powerful design platform for both total beginners and experienced designers. It allows users to easily create an extensive range of versatile graphics through its intuitive drag-and-drop editor and massive template library. The free plan is great and the premium plans are priced quite reasonably for the services offered. It’s hard to find limitations when it comes to Canva. They’ve got all their bases covered, and it shows - it’s a comprehensive, simple platform with no shortage of options for customization. We think you can’t go wrong with Canva.