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(Last updated on February 14th, 2021)

How good is Canva? Is it the right tool for your needs? See this in-depth Canva review to find out.

Canva is a program designed to make stunning graphics within minutes. The web-app is easy to use and has tons of assets at your disposal, with thousands of templates to choose from. You have many ways to share your work, either scheduling them for social media or printing your designs directly in Canva. The web app lets you create and share designs quickly and painlessly.

Canva was founded back in 2007 by college student Melanie Perkins. She realized that people found programs such as Adobe Photoshop and InDesign difficult to grasp and use. She created an online tool to create school yearbooks, founding another company, Fusion Books. After this took off, Canva was born, created to make designing simple.

While most designers find the program limiting, Canva is a great simple program for beginners. The application is fantastic for small businesses that don’t have a marketing budget to hire a professional graphic designer.

Pros & Cons of Canva

Pros

  • Easy to Learn and Use: Canva was designed for complete newbies in the world of graphic design. There are tons of tutorials and lessons available for you on the platform. The website is also straightforward, guiding you easily through templates and giving you many ways to share your work.
  • Good Value: Canva has both a free version of the program and an affordable subscription plan. At only $12.95/month, you can have up to five users, 100GB of cloud storage, access to thousands of graphic assets, and more. Their plans are a great value, especially in comparison to big-league competitors. 
  • Accessibility: Canva is a web app, meaning it can be accessed from anywhere if you have an internet connection.
  • Huge Resource Library: Canva has a ton of graphics and assets available for use in your designs. You can make your creations from start to finish without ever leaving the application.
  • Extensive Learning Portal: Canva provides many tutorials to get started in the program. There are lessons covering everything, from common troubleshooting errors to using specific Canva tools like Canva Print. Canva even has a separate learning blog and video course portal where you can learn business basics.
  • Compatibility: Canva has an iPhone, Android, and iPad application as well as desktop apps for Windows and Mac. Canva doesn’t need to be downloaded. All you need is the internet to use the program.
  • Collaboration: Canva was built to work well for teams. The higher the plan, the more team features you get. The highest level, Enterprise, even has branding controls to keep your designs consistent across the board.

Cons

  • Editing: In comparison to high-power software like Adobe Photoshop, Canva is limited in features and in-app editing. Resizing graphics and icons in the editor can be buggy and hard to manage.
  • Simplistic, Widely Used Templates: The templates get old after a while and are a bit too basic. You will also be sharing the same template with thousands of other people who use Canva, meaning your work could look similar to others.
  • Online Only: Canva only works with an internet connection. You cannot work offline, a detriment if you are trying to work off-grid.
  • Lack of Support: The only way to contact Canva support is through their online forms. They do not have a chat or phone feature.

Short Verdict

Canva is great for new business owners looking to DIY their marketing. While the actual editing is limited, Canva is a good choice for people looking for design-by-template models and easy, stress-free creating. Designing marketing is faster than ever using Canva.

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Features

Canva has a ton of features at your fingertips. Let’s explore what the web app has to offer:

  • Templates: Thousands of templates at your disposal. The template types are everything from social media posts, presentations, flyers, videos, business cards, logos, and more. The templates are easy to manipulate and swap assets in and out of.
  • Fonts: You can import your own or use one of the many fonts offered on Canva.
  • Graphic Assets: There are tons of shapes, icons, and graphics available to you. You can search for keywords to find graphics that fit your project.
  • Photos: You can search for stock images directly on Canva. You can also import your own library.
  • Cloud Storage: Saves all your work and photos and makes these assets accessible from anywhere. Every plan comes with cloud storage, the paid plans including more.
  • Accessibility: Canva is a web app. Meaning, you won’t have to download the software to work on the program from a different computer.
  • Music: Canva comes with an extensive music library.  There is everything from peaceful tunes to jazz or pop sounds. To avoid content ID claims, you can verify your music license for YouTube or other social media platforms.
  • Brand Kit: To keep your branding consistent, Canva creates Brand Kits. This feature will keep your projects on-brand with your business’ colors, fonts, and logos.
  • Teams: On Canva, you can create teams, allowing you to share folders. You can also comment and discuss designs as you work.
  • Content Planner: This tool helps you plan out your content for social media. Here, you can strategize and schedule your posts for Facebook, Pinterest, and more.
  • Learning Portal: Learn all about the ins and outs of Canva as well as hone new skills to help grow your business. Canva has a comprehensive portal and blog filled with resources.  
canva - font - style

Canva has everything you need to get your work done and published. The program is great for creating professional marketing material quickly with no stress.

Price

ProductRegular PriceDiscounted Price
Adobe Creative Cloud$52.99/monthCheck here
Canva (Pro Plan)$12.95/monthNo Discount

Canva is a great value when it comes to price. They have free and subscription-based plans designed to fit you and your team. Let’s go over what Canva offers.

These are the plan prices for 1-5 people on your team:

  • Free: This plan is completely free. You get access to over 250,000 templates with over 100 design types, with access to free photos and graphics to use for your projects. You can invite members to your team, collaborating and commenting in real-time, and get 5GB of cloud storage. All Pro assets have to be bought.
  • Pro: $12.95/month for up to five people ($155.40/year), discounted to $119.40/year if you bill annually. You get everything the free plan has, plus a Brand Kit, Magic Resize feature, over 420,000 free templates, premium stock, photo, video, audio, and graphic assets. You can also save template designs, store up to 100GB of cloud storage, and plan your posts using a social media scheduler.
  • Enterprise: $30/month per person. You can contact a Canva Sales rep to get a custom price plan for your team. You get everything the Pro plan has, plus multiple branding kits, brand controls, design approval workflow, set editing permissions, lock-in templates, unlimited cloud storage, single-sign-on, and 24/7 Enterprise-level support.
canva - price

For additional team members, the prices will go up. You can see the prices on their price estimator, split into groups of 10, 15, 50, or a custom number. For teams bigger than 100 people, Canva will offer you a custom price based on your needs.

Canva is also offered free to educators and non-profits. Teachers K-12 can get Canva free for themselves and their classrooms. There is no limit to how many classes they can have and the number of students they can invite.

While you can’t buy Canva as a one-time purchase, their subscription fees are reasonable and easily scalable. They even offer a free plan. In terms of price, Canva is a great value and a good choice if you need a graphics editor.

Compatibility

Canva is an incredibly compatible application. The program is a web-app, designed to work from anywhere. You don’t need to download the program to your computer to begin working. Canva has desktop apps for both Mac and Windows. The program also has apps for iPad, Android, and iPhones.

The one negative about Canva is that you can only work on the program when connected to the internet. You cannot work offline, a limiting factor for users who like to work on the go.

Overall, Canva is a very compatible program. You can work from mobile or desktop and work from anywhere online.

Learning Curve

Canva is an easy program to learn, designed to let users jump right in without lengthy tutorials. That being said, Canva has a huge help center and learning platform designed to teach you how to use Canva to its highest potential.

The designing platform in Canva is very straightforward with a drag-and-drop user interface. After clicking “Create a Design” in the upper right corner, Canva will create a drop-down of different templates to choose from. The template options vary greatly, giving you everything from designing a social media post to creating a presentation or logo.

canva create design

The template library has many ideas for you to play with. You can have fun trying different designs, swapping them out with ease.

canva animate

From here, the process is simple. You can drag and drop elements into the design. You can also upload your own elements like fonts (if you have a Pro plan or higher) and photos into the software to create custom designs. Using the Brand Kit, you can also design from branding rules to keep your designs consistent across the board.

Once you are done designing, you can quickly share your design with other team members and download it onto your workspace. You can even print directly in Canva, printing the work on T-shirts, posters, flyers, and more.

If you have any questions during this easy design process, the help button inside the design space will give you in-app help, giving you step-by-step instructions. This tool even has a searchable feature so you can quickly lookup a question.

Canva also has an extensive help portal, available at https://www.canva.com/help. Here, you can go through “Getting Started” tutorials or lookup keywords and browse articles to help guide you through the app.

Canva’s Design School will also provide full courses for your benefit. The program includes everything from learning graphic design concepts to upping your social media strategy. Canva connects you with experts guiding you through video lessons. You can also explore the Learn blog, a resource with informative articles. All of these assets are free and great for improving your business.

Overall, Canva has a ton to offer to learn the app and get better at branding and marketing. Canva aims to make the design process stress-free and attainable for all.

Support

Support is limited on Canva. While there are extensive libraries with tutorials and FAQ, there are almost no ways to contact Canva directly.

If you need to speak with a support technician, you cannot contact them by phone or email. You must contact them via an online form. If you have the Enterprise plan, you will have priority. If you are looking for a refund, Canva has a specific online form for you to fill out.

canva report issue in canva

If you are looking to get direct support instantly, Canva is not the program for you. This lack of support can be frustrating if you want to get in contact with a live person.

Graphic Design

Does Canva replace the detail and customization of a graphic designer? No. Is Canva a great solution for small businesses who need to DIY everything? Absolutely.  

There is a place in the world for both professional graphic design work and a program like Canva. Graphic designers can give you great custom branding, complete with unique marketing assets. Canva, on the other hand, has templates that everyone uses, giving you marketing that can look very similar to everyone else. Professional graphic designers use their expertise to breathe life into campaigns and create visually unique and interesting work.

The Canva templates are also very simplistic. They are meant to cater to everyone, resulting in generic templates that aren’t specialized to your field or niche.

Advanced graphic designers will feel limited by the software. The in-app editing tool is not nearly as customizable as a powerhouse editing program like InDesign, Photoshop, or Illustrator. While you can do basic layering, size readjustments, and filtering, you won’t be able to make advanced edits within Canva.

Canva is good for people who find advanced software daunting. You can create a decent finished product in less than 30 minutes using templates. Canva includes fun assets to make your work better visually, including shapes and stickers to brighten up the piece as a whole. While the final design won’t be revolutionary, the work will look professionally polished.

Collaboration

Canva is an incredible resource for business teams. The application is collaborative, allowing members to comment on work as its being designed, giving insight and feedback in real-time. Each of the price tiers has different team tools available, providing more resources the higher the plan

Canva has a feature called Teams, allowing you to share designs and folders with other team members. Inside a team, you can also create groups to organize everything further. You can directly comment on the work, inviting and tagging other users to collaborate. Canva allows you to create up to 20 free teams with 3,000 members each, including yourself.

Canva for Education is specifically designed with teachers in mind to group their teams into classes. Only teachers or the administrators of the team can invite members into groups. These administration limits keep everything official and organized.

Another tool for collaboration is the Brand Kit. Each Brand Kit will include logos, colors, and fonts for your brand. Only the admins of the team can set these parameters, keeping the designs on-brand across the board. You get one Brand Kit with the Pro Plan, multiple for the Enterprise Plan.

Team roles and positions help define what each team member does for the project:

  • The team owner is the creator of the team.
  • The administrator has complete access over the team.
  • The members can create designs and access folders/work shared within the team.
  • The template designers can set up and edit the Brand Kits. They can share and block permissions, keeping certain assets off-limits.

Canva Enterprise has additional features that Pro and Free plans don’t have. Enterprise has Single Sign-On available for teams, supporting SSO services such as ADFS, Asure AD, Duo Security, GSuite, Okta, OneLogin, and Salesforce. The plan can also control what team members can access using brand controls and template locking to protect design changes.

One of the best features of Canva Enterprise is the approval workflow. Assigned approvers can approve and reject designs during the review process. When a design is ready to be reviewed, the designer will submit a request for approval. The Approver can leave comments, tagging other team members, and giving feedback on the design. The design will not be able to be published until the Approver approves the work.

Canva is great for collaboration. You can easily manage teams, branding, and more when using the program.

Final Verdict

Should you get Canva? Definitely.

Canva is a great tool for collaborating and creating. There is a free version that lets you try out many of the tools without commitment. If you do sign up for a subscription, the pricing is very reasonable. You have tons of included assets and many templates to choose from for your projects.  

If you have room for a bigger marketing budget and are looking to step-up your marketing, you might want to invest in a graphic designer. Why? Simply put, many people use the Canva platform. What you create with a Canva template may be very similar to everyone else. Graphic designers can create a unique look for your brand with better graphical elements.

If you are a new business, Canva is a great choice. The plan is affordable, and the software accessible. You don’t need excessive training to create beautiful final pieces that you can share with ease. Canva is a great tool for designing DIY marketing material for your business.

Frequently asked questions

Is Canva for free?

Canva offers free and subscription-based plans, with full-featured free plans for education.

What is Canva good for?

Canva is good for small businesses with tiny ad budgets looking to DIY their marketing. Canva offers tons of templates and tutorials to help you get started.

Is there anything better than Canva?

Many design programs are better than Canva, Adobe Photoshop, being an example. However, Canva is great for beginners and people looking for a simple program.

Do professionals use Canva?

Professional graphic designers will use feature-heavy programs like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator for the most creative control. Canva is limited in terms of creating graphics in-app.

Is Canva better than Photoshop?

If you want the most control over creating graphics, need to edit photos, and want a feature-heavy program, Photoshop is the winner. If you want a beginner’s do-it-all application that is easy to jump into, Canva is a much better choice.

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