Canva Review

In a Nutshell

Regardless of whether you know a vector image from a raster, or a pixel from an inch, Canva has made it possible for everybody to become graphic designers! Although this tool doesn’t support vector-based image design yet (so you probably won’t be using it to design billboard posters), it does offer a rich library of commonly required image types. Think: Facebook cover photos, website backgrounds, and Instagram posts. Recommended!

pros

  • Templates for every image project. No more looking up dimensions!
  • Use template library. Choose from thousands of designs.
  • Present your images at internal meetings.

cons

  • Template-based: many still prefer designing from scratch.
  • No support for vector formats. Design raster-based images only.

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Best For

Canva is a great choice for anybody that needs graphic design images for their company. Graphic design can be an intimidating field for those without training or expertise in the discipline. Dimensions for commonly required images, such as Facebook cover photos, also change all the time as social networks tweak and optimize these banners for different device types. Thankfully, using Canva, you can forget about all that. If you don’t have a graphic designer on staff and need a killer Instagram graphic design, then Canva is all you need to get an (impressive) job done.

Canva is also a wonderful choice if you are a freelance designer or simply part of a larger marketing team. If you need to show off some design options internally, then Canva makes it easy for you to showcase your layouts and decide on the best option in coordination with the people that you are working for.

Graphic design teams. Canva allows you to invite coworkers to participate in the graphic design process. Finally, graphic designers can enjoy the type of easy cloud-based collaboration that Google Drive users have been taking advantage of for years.

Value For Money

Canva is offered on a freemium model and can be purchased on both monthly and yearly subscriptions.

The Free Tier

This plan allows users to store their designs in two folders, and allows them to avail of 1GB of storage space to house their photos and other assets. They can also access the more than 8,000 templates in the Canva system. The gigabyte of storage space may begin to feel constricting for busy teams, although there’s still plenty that can be achieved at this level.

Canva Pro

Canva Pro costs $12.95 per team member per month — or $9.95 per team member per month when billed annually. The storage limit is upped to 100GB. At this tier, Canva also throws in a stock image library; users can access more than 4 million photos, illustrations, and icons. Additionally, users can upload and use custom fonts, which is great for brands working off an internal branding style guide with proprietary font requirements. Teams can also configure their custom palettes and download designs with transparent backgrounds.

Canva for Enterprise

This one’s $30 per team member per month. It offers completely unlimited storage. There’s also the ability to review, approve, and comment on designs — so for designers working in a hierarchical team structure (or who have added their clients directly to Canva) this is a great functionality. Multiple Brand Kits can also be developed, which makes this tier a good fit for the agency environment. At the Enterprise tier, the company also offers a 99.5% uptime Service Level Agreement (SLA). For companies that need their graphics software to be always available, this is a huge plus.

Overall, Canva offers strong value for money — particularly when one considers the high licensing costs of creative package suits. For most users, the Pro tier is likely to be the best option. It provides a generous storage quota and enough customization to support most projects.

Portfolio / Experience

Canva does not offer a design service to users.

However, the team does work with some of the best designers in the industry to develop a wide array of templates for users to choose from.

Contract Terms

Canva’s tiers offer very clear guidance as to what users can expect at each level of service.

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Design Process

Canva is a very straightforward platform to use. All users have to do to design a piece of artwork is:

  • Search through the sidebar menu to find the right template
  • Select a template that appeals to them
  • Edit the template using the built-in editor functionalities. For Facebook page covers, for instance, users are able to change font size and color, edit the background, and more

Once satisfied with the final design, users can:

  • Download the image the format of their choice
  • Post it directly to their Facebook page (required authorizing the integration)
  • Present the image for internal feedback and collaboration
  • Send the artwork by email
  • Add the artwork to cloud storage
  • Extract HTML embed code to embed the image in their website

Conclusion

Canva is a great design tool for those without graphic design experience that need to get some template-based artwork designed quickly and easily. Although it’s possible to design artwork from scratch using Canva, templates, and a stock image integration, are really its strong suits. The main negative, right now, is that it doesn’t support vector-based design — which limits its utility for professional design departments who are often called upon to develop roll-ups, backdrops, and other large format print images. However, for web designers, it certainly fulfills a need and is a well thought-out tool.

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08 Jul 2020

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