Not all freelancers can afford to work with professional designers for basic stuff. Whether it is a problem of money or a matter of time, sometimes freelancers need to be able to do things by themselves without relying on others. The above is right for freelancers in different industries, but also bloggers if they take care of everything by themselves without external help. Canva fills the needs of all of the freelancers, the blogger, the self-employed when it comes to designing for social media, for articles, for blogs, for flyers, and so on.
Being a Canva user myself, I’ve decided to write a comprehensive review of this tool that is now one of the most used ever, and it keeps getting better and better: what is Canva? Is Canva worth it? How much does it cost? How does Canva work? These are a few of the questions I’ll answer in this article.
I only recommend products I use and trust, and Canva is one of those: in this Canva review, I want to give you an overview of this designing tool and an exclusive link to try it for free!
Read Also: How to Start a Freelancing Career
Table of Contents
What is Canva?
Canva is an extremely easy-to-use and intuitive graphic design platform that lets you create pretty much any visual content with ease. Canva uses a drag-and-drop method to make sure everyone can benefit from its features and can avail of its simplicity. Images are becoming more and more important: in fact, humans can process images more quickly compared to texts, and they’re easy to understand.
This is where Canva comes in place: a tool that allows you to create pleasant and appealing visuals that can be used on various platforms to stimulate an action.
Whether it’s a call to action or a simple engagement with Canva, freelancers can easily associate words to images to make sure their content is well perceived.
Who is Canva Good For?
Canva is virtually useful for everyone that doesn’t work in the designing field professionally and for everyone that can take care of different aspects of a project without the support of a professional designer. In particular:
- Content writers
- Marketing managers
- Social media managers
- Small business owners
- and the list could go on and on.
Who is Canva Not Good For?
Designers use better tools for their work, and Canva is not one of those. Realistically, Canva is not a tool for graphic designers because its functions are limited compared to more structured software and tools. It can be an excellent support for designers that don’t have time to do something and can delegate other people. But it cannot replace professional tools such as Photoshop, to name one.
How does Canva work?
Canva is easy to use, and the setup process is quick and simple: sign up with Facebook, Google, or your email and give the tool all the permits to finalize the creation of your account. Once you’re in, you immediately will notice how intuitive Canva is.
To get started, enter a search term on the design selector search box or click on the Create a design button from the homepage side panel. Scroll through the available document types and click on the one you wish to create.
Once you have the design you’re going to create, you will be redirected to a secondary screen where you will be able to pick up the specific template: scroll through the available models until you find one you’d like to use. You can also click on All to expand a template category. Once you find a template you wish to use, simply click on the thumbnail to apply it on your canvas. Once you’re happy with the template you chose, you can then customize and format any of the existing elements on it.
You can add your pictures by simply dragging and dropping them into the tool or browse the collection of images offered by Canva (some are for free, others are only for Pro users). You can also add other elements, graphics, text, background, emojis, and more.
When you’re done with the design, you can download your design or publish it. You can download in various formats, based on how you are going to use the graphics, or post directly on Facebook, Pinterest, Slack, and many other platforms.
If you’ve made a presentation, the best way to present your slides is by using Presentation mode. This eliminates the need to download your presentation or open it to other programs.
Last but not least, you can also have your designs professionally printed with Canva Print and get them delivered at your doorstep: at the moment, Canva Print is only available to users from the US, Australia, Canada, Europe, Mexico, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia.
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Where can I use Canva?
Canva is available in 100 languages and can be accessed in desktop browsers and mobile apps.
How much does Canva cost?
You can use Canva for free, but this version comes with a few limits: a limited amount of assets, no custom templates, no personal logo can be added, cloud storage is limited, and so on.
I recommend switching to Canva Pro as soon as you get acquainted with the free version.
Canva Pro is $9.95 per month when paid annually or $12.95 paid monthly. [Check the prices]
These are some of the features included in Canva Pro:
- 60,000+ free templates
- 60+ million premium stock images, photos, videos and graphics
- 100+ design types (social media posts, presentations, letters, and more) On top of those, Pro users can avail of the following things:
- One-click design resize.
- Create custom templates and upload your logos and fonts.
- Download designs with a transparent background and customizes download quality.
- Export designs as animated GIFs or MP4 videos.
- 100 GB Cloud storage.
- Unlimited folders.
Canva Pro is excellent, whether you’re one person or a small team, and it gives you the flexibility you need to create stunning visuals for your business or your clients.
Canva for Enterprise is ideal for organizations, businesses, franchises, and agencies with large teams who need all the productivity and smart design features of Canva Pro with advanced controls.
Canva for free can be just used once you’ve signed in, Canva Pro is offered on a trial basis for 30 days without any limitation: after this trial period, you can start paying for using the tool.
If you select the yearly plan of Canva, you’ll get a 23% discount compared to the monthly plan.
Common Questions About Canva
These are some of the most common questions about Canva that you may have.
1. How can I cancel my Canva subscription?
If you’re not satisfied with Canva Pro or you don’t use it that much, you can cancel your subscription in literally 5 minutes.
You can manage your subscription at any time from your Billing & Teams page, where you can switch to a different one. The change will take effect when your current billing period ends, so make sure you plan.
If you select the yearly plan of Canva, you’ll get a 23% discount compared to the monthly plan, but you cannot cancel your subscription so you won’t be refunded: if you cancel, you won’t be billed at the renewal, but the unused months won’t be reimbursed.
2. How can I pay for my subscription to Canva?
Canva offers different payment options:
- Credit or debit card (Mastercard, VISA, Amex, Discover, JCB, Diners)
- iDeal (The Netherlands)
- Sofort (Germany)
- Canva credits
3. What are Canva Credits?
Canva credits are tokens that you can buy and use to pay for premium elements. Canva credits do not expire and they cannot be transferred between accounts and brands. You can also earn Canva credits if you refer friends or customers using a special and unique link with a tracking code.
4. Can Canva replace Photoshop?
Canva was created for non-designers who had no particular skills to use more advanced tools. On the other hand, Photoshop is meant for professionals and graphic designers. The differences in the concept reflect the differences in the use of these two tools: Canva is easy, intuitive, and it comes with a significant number of templates to simplify the workflow. Photoshop is a robust platform and offers the opportunity to get more done and to do stuff professionally.
Canva doesn’t require training; Photoshop requires skills.
For me, Canva cannot replace Photoshop, and comparing the two tools is like comparing apples and oranges: they’re different, they’re meant to address the needs of different users, and their overall goal is entirely the opposite one from another.
5. Can I use Canva offline?
No, you can’t use Canva offline. Canva only works with a stable Internet connection. Otherwise, it won’t be able to get your inputs, load images, and templates, and work.
6. Should I upgrade to Canva Pro?
Yes, thousands of times, yes. You can create good designs with a free plan, but you can’t get access to the advanced features of Canva Pro.
These are the basic features you get with Canva free:
Canva Free Benefits
Let’s take a look at the features of the free plan:
- Two Folders – Create and use two folders for free to organize your designs and images within your Canva account.
- 1GB Storage – You’ll have 1GB of storage for uploading your photos and assets.
- 8,000 Templates – Access to over 8,000 templates, but you can only use free templates, not the pro ones.
- Photos – Get access to millions of free images and the premium starting at $1 each.
- Invite Your Team – Invite team members for free through email and give them access as a member or administrator.
Now, let’s take a look at the benefits of using the pro plan:
- Animator – Create animated graphics with different animation styles, which you can download as a GIF or movie format (MP4).
- Transparent Images – Download your designs with transparent backgrounds with one click
- Magic Resize – Instantly resize your designs into custom dimensions
- Brand Kit – It allows you to organize and customize elements of a brand’s visual identity with logos, colors, and fonts.
- Invite Your Team – Invite unlimited members through email and give them access as a member, template designer, or administrator.
- Custom Templates – Design custom templates for your team and share them.
- Premium Fonts – Access over 500 premium fonts.
- Premium Templates – Get access to 20,000+ premium ready-to-use templates.
- Set Download Quality – Set high as well as low quality or size for your design when downloading.
- 1000+ Fonts – Get access to 1000+ fonts or you can upload your own.
- 100 GB Storage – You get 100GB of storage for uploading your photos and assets.
- 4M+ Photos & Elements –You get access to 4 million-plus premium free photos, illustrations, and icons that you can use in all your designs.
- Priority Support – Priority support from the Canva support team.
- Unlimited Folders – Create and add unlimited folders to organize your designs and images.
To be completely honest, every feature of the Canva Pro plan is helpful compared to the free plan and the sole idea of getting access to thousands of images for free plus fonts and templates is worth the cost.
7. Is Canva easy to use?
Canva is extremely easy to use, and it comes with a straightforward interface. On the opposite side, Canva’s mobile app is a little bit hard to use on mobile devices, and it has more design restrictions than the browser.
If you want to become a Canva expert and use this skill with your clients or for your business, you can also enroll in one (or more) of the many free courses that you can find on Canva’s website. They will give you an excellent overview of the things you can do with Canva, bringing your skills to the next level.
8. Do professionals use Canva?
It depends on what professionals! Graphic designers won’t use Canva, and so people interested in learning to design or working professionally in the industry. Other professionals can use Canva to simplify their workflow if they don’t have the skills or support from a designer.
Canva Review: the bottom line
Overall, Canva is a useful tool for unskilled professionals in graphic design. There are a ton of templates you can choose from to work with multiple categories, and you can also customize and create your templates. The free version is limited, so to unlock interesting and useful functionalities upgrading to the Pro version is highly recommended. Canva is not meant to be used to create proper graphic designs, but mostly for creating instant visuals, that is catchy and effective. Always remember that Canva cannot be considered a replacement for graphic design software such as Photoshop, but it can help you as a professional.
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