If you have been following my blog for quite some time, you will know my work style is all about simplifying tasks, and there is nothing better than stumbling upon an app or a platform that helps you improve your workflow.
I recently talked about Canva briefly in my Facebook cover design guide and after having received quite a few questions about it, I decided to plug in all the details about Canva here!
Canva is a user-friendly online graphic design tool that offers heaps of design templates for all.
With Canva, bloggers, businesses, and professionals can create eye-catching visuals and help people who do not have in-depth knowledge and training in graphic design. In fact, all the designs on my blog use Canva!
The online design tool offers a variety of features, including quality images, photographs, layout, and fonts. In this extensive post about Canva, let’s review its main features and take a look at the pros and cons of using it!
Canva Features and Designs
I always believe content is only valuable if it reaches a lot of people, and sometimes you need a crisp engaging design to speak for your content.
Towards this, Canva has an extensive array of features that its users can utilize to make great designs and graphics, which includes:
- Cropping images
- Creating thought and speech bubbles
- Templates for all kinds of marketing collaterals, from business cards to social media postings
- Image and photo frames
- Badges and stickers for websites
The basic flow of Canva is user-friendly; you register with either your Google or Facebook account and follow the website’s options to create, which is essentially a template of visuals for you.
Once you log in to your account and explore design templates, Canva offers a considerable amount of articles to help you find your brand and design identity; from finding a color palette to style guides to help you best your brand or project, you have it all covered on a single platform.
Upon selecting your layout and the template, you can then do customization. Everything with Canva is dragging and drop, and the text can be easily edited like text bones in other graphic design tools.
Recently, Canva has a design marketplace that allows graphic designers to contribute layouts and earn royalties every time their designs are purchased.
You can select from a massive collection of designs!
The designs are categorized as to how you intend to use Canva. For instance, if you want to design an Instagram post, you don’t have to do it from scratch; simply pick a template from a list of options, add text and you are good to roll the design!
You get a vast array of design templates to a varied list of categories:
- Posters: They include templates for events, School, advocacies, and much more are available.
- Logos: Numerous free logo designs for all industries are available as well; from Restaurants, Cafes, Games, Beauty products, Sports, and much more!
- Presentations: Professional templates of presentation for all sorts of topics are free at Canva, such as presentation templates for your portfolio, business presentation, or perhaps for class.
- Flyers: These templates are available along with an option to personalize them. These are available to suit your brand and marketing needs.
- Cards: Some great templates of cards for individuals in all industries are readily available for your personalization.
- Infographics: With a variety of layouts, fonts, and formats are accessible.
- Invitations: Event invitations that you can use for print or digital invites are available with customization features as well.
- Resumes: Those are needed for your next job application are available too!
- Menus: If you are running a food venture, this should be your go-to template.
- Magazine and book cover: Canva is well stacked with title covers and magazine collages. A treat for the editing team for sure!
- Certificates: Awards, appreciation, achievement, whatever the event might be, you just have to pick a ready-made template and get a professional certificate right in front of you.
- Business Cards: No, you don’t need to hire a professional designer if you are on a budget! Business card templates do the task for you!
- Bookmarks: Okay, this is probably one of the most interesting categories which we rarely see in other design software or websites. Maybe you can design one, and get it printed for your nerdy friends?
And all these categories continue to add on daily with Canva with their continuously growing amounts of designs!
The sizes for all the designs are automatically selected for you, but if you wish to edit the automatic sizes, you may do so.
If you would like to create your design, you can do so by heading to your home page, and clicking establishes a plan.
At the very upper left of your page and you will be led to a page to create your design from scratch:
At the left, you are given many different tools, such as:
- Templates -where you can select the layout and outlined visuals.
- Photos- pretty self-explanatory, here you can select photos to use for your design project.
- Elements- features stickers, shapes to describe your image, lines, and all sorts of visual accessories to better the message of your image.
- Text-Here you can edit the font, headings, and body of text in your project.
- Videos-Canva has clips that last at least 11 seconds long that you can use for your project or presentation. Visuals such as aerial shots, animals, timelapse, and galaxy shots are also available.
- Backgrounds- there are plenty of themed experiences to choose from as well.
Design and Templates Database
I figured that the best thing with Canva is its vast collection of readily available resources such as designs, icons, shapes, images, symbols, templates, and more.
There are at least 1.5 million images in Canva’s database that you can use for free.
For business owners, Canva’s library has more than enough to create unique designs daily. There are sufficient and eye-catching templates to keep you satisfied with your design needs.
All templates are editable, and you can personalize or customize them through editing all elements on any provided design. A recent feature is the option to create gif images, who would have imagined creating gifs would become a one-click affair?
The users, however, can create and upload their photos and images with a few edits and tweaks. For example, if you wish to have a customized social media post instead of using the template as is, you have the option to edit the template.
Great, so now you know how to use Canva templates, let’s move to create designs from scratch! Drum rolls please because this is going to be even interesting!
The online tool also offers users the option to create their designs from scratch. Canva’s customizable templates can provide users the options to change images, colors, and much more to suit their taste.
Canva makes it highly accessible for users to make designs. As users log in, they will be brought to the dashboard, which lets them select options to create graphics with specific dimensions or to select one of the thousands of templates available.
Upon choosing a template, users are directed to the above dashboard. They can scroll through the list of layouts or can create their designs from scratch. There are thousands of free templates available, but a few advanced templates would require users to pay $1, which is not that pricey.
Canva users can include elements (doodles, graphics, illustrations) and texts (with pre-made layouts), varying backgrounds, or their images and photographs. All of these actions can be done with a simple drag and drop function with Canva.
Free Stock Images
Canva’s primary feature is its massive range of free stock images, which you can click via the “Photo” button on the left part of the menu. But if you prefer to work with your pictures, you can go to “Upload” and search for an image or drag the image and drop from your desktop. All your uploaded photos will be saved to your Canva account for safekeeping.
In case you get stuck, you can get help from the purple button in the very bottom right of the page. It is good that Canva does not limit its extra support to premium users. You can also get information from switches and buttons hovering over to see more tips for tools.
If you still wish to look for stock images on other sources, my guide on the best free stock-photo sites will be quite handy!
Canva’s features are best known for its simplicity. They are easy and user-friendly with such a simple user-interface that makes everything in line, manageable, and organized.
For instance, the online tool has a UI that opens in a separate window as your dashboard would have a different UY, which allows you to collaborate with your colleagues. New users would not need any training to begin. But if you decide that you need it, you can learn all of Canva’s design offers and features in their Design School.
Canva allows users to integrate various third-party websites such as WordPress and social media sites. You can upload photos from your Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox, Giphy, among many other platforms.
You can also publish images to several sites other than the third-party websites. Canva lets you avoid the agony of saving, downloading, and then uploading separately to social media sites.
This integration feature is perfected to save a lot of time to deal with massive amounts of folders, social accounts, clients, and team members. If you desire to keep it simple with your team, you can easily send the graphic to them through an email once it is done.
While you can instantly create eye-catching and simple visuals with Canva’s free online tool, there are limits to the features it offers. Canva Pro gives you access to more additional features with unlimited storage for assets and photos. With this plan, you can upload photos and access a million photos starting with a dollar each. Canva Pro is a premium plan that gives access to 400,000 free images, illustrations, and templates.
Multi-Purpose design Tool
Canva Pro is a multi-purpose design tool that allows users to edit photos, create graphics, animated designs, collaborate and share projects with your team.
There are a variety of ways that you can use Canva Pro to grow your brand. For example, you can integrate your social media accounts, share and publish new designs directly from Canva. Or, in the case that you are a marketing consultant and have many clients, Canva allows you to create a separate file or folder to cater to each client to keep your work organized.
You can make the team with Canva Pro to better your group collaboration and communication. Here, you can share designs, templates, and design folders with team members to have their input.
Canva provides a full support page with complete articles, tabs, and a search that makes it convenient for users to get solutions for their queries or problems.
Their Customer Support also has contact forms accessible for significant issues like billing; however, it is much more difficult to find phone numbers or email contacts for Canva’s Support team. This can be quite frustrating for many users.
While Canva users can create freely and get things done, the paid Canva accounts have many more options that are much more professional which many would find significant.
If you decide to go with the Canva for the Work plan, it costs 12.95$ monthly per user. Canva’s enterprise does not have listed pricing but does allow teams with more than 30 members. This option would be a wise decision to make for marketing teams and businesses.
Brochures for Printing
Canva also offers to design brochures, so I decided to try it out. It got me interested since printing brochures would require a much higher resolution file for it to turn out nicely after printing. It’s good to see that once I tested the brochure template, Canva’s system offers to download my file as a printable PDF.
The only challenge for a lot of users is their inability to get in touch with their customer support. While there are a lot of useful guides, tutorials, articles, and resources readily available, many Canva users may find the lack of contact details troubling.
If you are looking for other tools that can help you beef up your designs you can try:
Snappa is an easy to use alternative design tool to Canva. It focuses on simple and user-friendly tools with 5000 templates while Canva has more advanced features with 8000 templates.
If you want to create images quickly, Stencil is another Canva alternative with tools featuring user-friendly templates and features. The primary difference between Stencil and Canva is their pricing; Canva is the lower cost service with a $12.95 monthly subscription while Stencil’s subscription is for 15$ per month.
Wrapping it up: Canva at a glance
Canva is a graphic design tool that is very easy to utilize, a reliable tool that has a vast amount of global users. Canva’s drag and drop functionality makes the design process absolutely easy and the ready-made templates are quite eye-catching.
Canva’s thousands of layouts and templates are available with high-quality visuals, even their free options are of outstanding quality and would work well for all kinds of design needs.
For Canva users with the free version, Canva has a slightly more limited amount of templates readily available for you to choose from. Users who opt for a paid business account have the option to create a 30 member team account with access to Canva’s claimed 300,000 images.
These features can also help you to resize your images and designs. Other key features include the acceptance of custom color palettes, fonts, and the functionality to save your templates.
Canva’s pricing plans are highly affordable and fair, considering the features and quality of the product that goes along with them. But, you may still get the basic things that you need without spending a single cent.
Users that use the Canva tool now and then can always choose to purchase the 1$ images, photographs, or templates without committing to a subscription.
Sign up for Canva for free here.
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