Software Reviews

Canva Review

Canva is an online graphic design platform that allows users to easily create professional quality designs without needing design experience. Since launching in 2012, Canva has become immensely popular with over 60 million monthly users.

In this Canva review, we’ll take an in-depth look at its key features, pros and cons, pricing options, and ideal users to help you determine if Canva is the right graphic design tool for your needs.

Overview of Features

Canva makes graphic design simple by providing pre-designed templates for just about any visual project you can think of. It offers templates for both web and print designs including social media posts, ads, logos, presentations, posters, documents, and much more. Some of the key features that enable easy design in Canva include:

Drag and drop interface: Easily drag, resize and position images, icons, text boxes shapes with a few clicks. No advanced design skills needed.

8000+ templates: Choose from a wide variety of professionally designed templates for any visual project across formats like Facebook covers, Instagram stories, YouTube thumbnails, resumes, menus and lots more.

Photo editor: Adjust brightness, contrast, saturation etc. or apply filters with the built-in photo editor.

45,000+ stock images, graphics and illustrations: Search the stock library to add relevant visuals to your designs.

Brand kits: Design on-brand visuals easily by using fonts, colors, and logos from brand kits. Brands like Uber, Spotify, YouTube, Etsy and more are available.

Animation: Make your designs visually compelling by adding animations to text and images.

Video maker: Convert images into video presentations by simply adding music or a voice over.

Team folders: Easily manage access and collaboration by creating team folders that clients or colleagues can access.

Apps and integrations: Expand functionality by connecting to other apps like Google Drive, Dropbox, and MailChimp.

Ease of Use

Canva is designed to make graphic design as simple as possible allowing users with no background in design to create professional visuals. It uses drag and drop, resizing, commands like layers and grids, and intuitive editing options that simplify designing. Even complex design tasks like creating a magazine layout, an infographic or editing a video can be easily accomplished in Canva.

The interface is extremely user-friendly with a minimal learning curve. Features and options are clearly marked enabling you to easily find templates, re-use brand elements like fonts and colors, access your photos and images, and add shapes or text boxes. Unlike some graphic design software that can have a steep learning curve like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, mastering Canva is quick. New users can easily understand Canva in just a few projects.

Output Quality and Options

While Canva simplifies graphic design, it does not compromise on the quality of outputs. It uses commercial grade design templates created by professionals. The end result is high quality, visually appealing graphics and visuals that look like they were designed using high-end graphic design tools. You have complete flexibility and control over every aspect of your design.

Some of the output options that Canva offers include:

Social media graphics: Optimized sizes and formats for Facebook, Instagram, YouTube Channel Art etc.

Print projects: Letterheads, presentations, posters in standard print sizes. Options for bleed and custom measurements also available.

Mockups: Visualize designs in realistic contexts

PDF documents

Interactive web banners

Video presentations

Image files like PNG, JPG

Canva for Mobile and Tablet

Canva is accessible on the desktop via canva.com but also has iOS and Android apps. This makes Canva extremely convenient allowing users to work on designs on the go. The functionality and features on the mobile app mirrors the desktop version. So you can complete most graphic design tasks right from your phone itself.

On mobile devices, designing can feel more intuitive as your fingers can easily drag, resize, and tap to edit graphic components. The app is especially useful for creating social media content optimized for the phone such as Instagram stories or Facebook posts. But all other features like editing images, using brand kits, adding charts as well as complex projects like brochures are fully supported on Canva’s mobile and tablet apps.

Photo Storage and Stock Images

Canva allows using your own photos or choosing from over 45,000 free stock photos, graphics and illustrations on its platform. Uploading your own photos is unlimited and free. They get stored securely on Canva’s cloud storage protecting your privacy. You can easily access these to reuse across projects.

The stock image library contains a great variety of high quality visuals. While many of these are free, some premium options are available for a fee. This stock photo library makes it easy to visually enhance your designs without needing to source images elsewhere. Useful categories available are backgrounds, illustrations, nature, travel, health, science, technology, textures, fashion, food and more.

Collaboration Tools

For working with a team or getting client inputs, Canva allows folder sharing and comments. You can create team folders and choose who to share it with giving them edit or view access. This enables effective collaboration and asset management eliminating version control issues.

The ability to comment on designs is useful for client revisions or getting team feedback. Comments display on the right panel and notifications alert you to new comments.

Pros of Canva

– Extremely easy to use interface – beginners can design easily
– 8000+ professionally designed templates
– Free stock photos and graphics
– Brand kits for visual consistency
– Robust graphic design features like photo editor, grids, animation etc.
– Sync across devices with cloud storage
– Great collaboration tools
– PDF and video output along with image formats
– Completely free plan available

Cons of Canva

– No automatic backups or version history
– Limited stock visual options on free plan
– Advanced typography tools unavailable
– Alternative options give more design control

Pricing

One of the biggest advantages of Canva is that it offers a robust free forever plan. This allows non-professionals to enjoy graphic design capabilities minus the learning curve free of cost. Of course, it includes Canva’s watermark on all designs.

Canva also offers the following premium plans:

Canva Pro: At $12.99 per month billed annually it gives access to over 75 million premium stock visuals, brand kits, video editing and the ability to create animated presentations. Team management capabilities are also enabled.

Canva for Enterprise: For companies and large teams, it offers advanced features like enterprise-grade security controls, dedicated cloud storage as well as options for custom data and brand guidelines. Being a customized plan prices are not publicly listed and require a consultation.

Most individuals and teams can benefit tremendously using the free plan itself considering the comprehensive functionality it offers. Upgrading to the Pro plan gives larger stock asset access adding greater choice and flexibility when designing.

Ideal Users

Here are some typical Canva users who can benefit tremendously:

• Bloggers, influencers, entrepreneurs wanting to create social media graphics consistently

• Students and teachers creating presentations

• Marketing teams (especially in small businesses) managing campaigns and content

• Non-profit organizations designing posters, banners, documents

• Companies wanting branded templates for internal use

• Photographers building custom portfolios

• Teams that need easy collaboration capabilities when designing

For advanced design control, Canva can feel limiting so professional designers are best suited for more advanced tools like GIMP or Affinity. Some use Canva along with other software too.

Conclusion

Canva has revolutionized DIY graphic design allowing anyone to create visually stunning designs. While extremely simple to use, it retains advanced functionality making visually communicating your message effective and professional grade. Flexible pricing, extensive template library, excellent output quality and easy collaboration makes Canva the ideal mainstream design tool for students, creative professionals, marketers and enterprises at large. It delivers great design empowerment minus the steep learning curve synonymous with graphic design.

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