Canva Review 2021: Simplistic Graphics Design Tool made for Everyone

Summary

Canva is a fantastic set of online graphic design tools for quickly and effortlessly designing professional-looking visuals. You can use it to create a wide range of designs, including presentations, social media posts, logos, posters, flyers, and more.

Usefulness

an illustration of lightbulb and hand.
Create eye-catching designs, then publish and schedule them on social media. Different uses range from developing presentations, mind maps, and brochures, to name a few.

Price

Price tag illustration.
Offers a rather generous free plan, as well as monthly and yearly subscriptions for the Pro plan that are extremely appealing.

Ease of use

A illustration of hand interacting with a device.
Intuitive UI design. Its features and tools will become part of the routine for you in a matter of minutes. Made for everyone.

Support

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Lots of support material is available in the form of graphic design courses and video tutorials.

Canva has been my go-to tool for years, and it truly helps you deliver the best results with less time and effort. It allows you to create brochures, flyers, posters, social media images, mind maps, and whatever else comes to mind.

In this review, we’ll go through its user interface, a detailed overview of its features, examine numerous use-cases, and help you uncover what you’re losing out on by not upgrading to Canva Pro.

Getting started: How Canva Works?

Canva is a graphics design software developed by Canva Pty Ltd. This graphics editor is available for both desktop (Mac and Windows) and mobile (Android & iOS) operating systems, as well as a web application.

The beauty of Canva is that you don’t need any prior experience in graphic designing to use it. You only need to sign up for a free account – which only takes a few minutes – by using your Google, Facebook, or company email.

After logging into your account, you’ll see a dashboard that categorizes templates and canvas sizes. Social media, logos, business cards, certificates, presentation designs, and infographics are among the many available templates. When you choose either one of the latter or a blank canvas, you will be taken to Canva’s graphics editor.

Here, you can add pre-designed text elements, background color and patterns, stock pictures from Canva’s photo gallery, illustrations, and much more to your canvas using the drag-and-drop editor. Once you’re happy with the design, you can download it in a variety of file formats by clicking the download button in the top right corner.

Canva Design School: Learn Graphics Editing from Pro

Canva’s Design School is chock-full of free video courses ranging from Canva for Beginners to designing brand material for your business. Among the specialists who share their knowledge in these courses are Gary Vaynerchuk, Joe ‘Mulga’ Moore, and many other well-known personalities from the design and marketing industry.

Aside from free classes, you can learn more about using Canva’s tools to create excellent visuals by watching video tutorials and reading in-depth articles and resources.

Canva Editor Interface and Features

Canva’s user interface correctly complements its tagline, “Canva makes design simple for everyone.” One of the most enticing elements is the UI, which is neatly laid out and organized. Putting elements together is simple once you have a template or a blank page in front of you. 

The editor features three separate toolbars, but you’ll mostly be using two of them (top and left) to edit your designs.

Graphics Side Panel

The side panel on the left features various design elements:

  1. Templates
  2. Elements
  3. Uploads
  4. Photos
  5. Text
  6. Styles
  7. Background
  8. Folders
  9. More

Graphics editor side panel

1. Templates

With the click of a button, you can easily switch between and import different templates into your design. Colors, language, and keywords are used to search and filter the templates. You can also access the template categories from the home page. 

Canva offers six template categories that are further subdivided into 36 sections mentioned below.

Social Media Personal Business Marketing Education Trending
Instagram Stories Invitations Presentations Posters Classroom Decor Kits Canvas Prints
Instagram Posts Cards Websites Flyers Lesson Plans Videos
Facebook Posts Resumes Logos Infographics Worksheets YouTube Intros
Facebook Covers Postcards Business Cards Brochures Certificates Photo Books
YouTube Channel Art Weekly Schedule Planner Invoice Newsletters Bookmarks Menus
LinkedIn Banners T-Shirts Business Letterheads Proposals Class Schedules Itinerary Planners

Each section includes both Free and Pro templates. Altogether, there are around 610,000 Pro templates available. To use Pro templates, you must subscribe to the Pro plan.

A picture of templates toolbar in Canva's graphics editor.
Templates Toolbar

2. Elements

After the simple UI design, the Elements is my favorite feature. It has stunning graphics and illustrations, such as resizable shapes, photos, illustrations, grids, frames, and charts, among other things. You can search for different elements based on keywords, just like you can with templates. Again, some of the elements are only available with the Pro subscription.

The image depicts numerous graphical components such as shapes, illustrations, and videos in Canva's editor's Elements section.
Canva Graphical Elements Toolbar

3. Uploads

Upload your images, videos, and audio files to Canva’s cloud storage for incorporating them into your designs. The Free account provides 5GB of cloud storage, whilst the Pro subscription provides 100GB of cloud storage.

4. Photo

Canva means it when they say they want to make graphic designing simple for everyone. With the Pro subscription, you gain access to over 100 million premium stock images in a single dashboard. Colors, keywords, orientation, and cut-outs (images with no backgrounds) can all be used to filter images.

The stock images tab in Canva's editor showing a range of stock images.
Images Toolbar

5. Text

As text design can make or break a design, Canva features font combination templates. You can quickly change font style, color, and scale, as well as rapidly add effects.

The image with examples of text elements and templates that can be imported into the Canva graphics editor.
Text and Fonts Templates

6. Styles

Have trouble deciding on a color palette and font combinations? The Styles toolbar includes a plethora of color and font choices. With a single mouse click, you can effortlessly merge them into your design.

Image showing 10 of the preconfigured color and font combinations available in Canva's editor.
Preconfigured fonts and color combinations

7. Background

This is where you’ll find photos that work well as design backgrounds, such as color gradients, abstract images, patterns, and more.

The background images tab of Canva's editor is shown in the picture.
Backgrounds toolbar

8. Folders

Since Canva offers so many graphics (over 100 million), you may want to arrange your favorite ones by adding them to folders. You can add graphics to the Likes folder on the free plan, but to effectively experience the agility and speed of this feature, you must upgrade to the Pro plan.

The image depicts the Canva editor's folders page, where users can save and manage fonts, images, and styles.
Folders toolbar

9. More

What I’ve talked about is just the tip of the iceberg. Canva is packed with surprising features and integrations. To import more graphics into your designs, you can connect to well-known social media platforms, cloud storage platforms, graphics resource platforms, and many more.

It is an image from Canva's editor's apps and integration section.
More Applications and Integrations

You can learn more about these integrations by clicking here.

Menu Bar

The Menu Bar, which is located at the top of Canva’s editor, contains key features:

  1. Home
  2. File
  3. Resize
  4. Undo-redo
  5. Saving status
  6. Design name
  7. Share
  8. Download
It is a picture of the Canva menu bar, which is positioned at the top of the editor and has options such as download and share.
Menu bar

Menu bar

IMG Description: Canva’s editor topmost menu bar

IMG ALT: It is a picture of the Canva menu bar, which is positioned at the top of the editor and has options such as download and share.

1. Home

Clicking on the Home button will take you to the home page.

2. File

The drop-down menu contains options such as Create new design, Show rulers, Show margins, Save, Download, and so on. Here, you can also examine the canvas’s dimensions, as well as change the name of the design.

3. Resize

With the Free plan, the Resize option is not available. In the Pro plan, you can resize the dimensions of a design once you’ve created it.

4. Undo-redo

You can easily undo and redo modifications, as the name implies. There are also keyboard shortcuts for accessing these functions.

5. Saving status

The saving status is found in the menu bar, next to the Resize feature. Typically, it says, “All changes saved.” If there is an error when saving, you will be notified about it here.

6. Design name

The default name for the design is “Untitled Design.” You can change the name by clicking on it or by using the File function.

7. Share

You can share your designs with the rest of the team. A single design can be worked on by a group of people. Fill in the name or email address of the person with whom you want to share the design. There are three possibilities:

  1. Share a link to edit
  2. Share a link to use as a template (Available only with Pro plan)
  3. Share a link to view

Simply choose an option, copy the link, and send it to the person you want to share the design with.

8. Download

This allows you to save the design. There are numerous file types to choose from. All 7 file types – except for SVG – are available on the Free plan.

  1. PNG
  2. JPG
  3. PDF Standard
  4. PDF Print
  5. SVG (Pro Only)
  6. MP4 Video
  7. GIF

Some download options, such as custom output resolution, transparent background, and file compression, are only available with the Canva Pro plan.

You can also share the design straight to social media, Google Drive, MailChimp, and other services by clicking the dropdown menu button next to the download option.

Elements Properties Toolbar

You will find the toolbar beneath the menu bar. Its contents alter depending on the elements selected in the Canvas.

When you choose a text element, the toolbar offers choices for changing the font, as well as its size, color, alignment, and other properties.

The image demonstrates the Canva toolbar, which users can utilize to change text attributes.
Text properties toolbar

When you select an image, you will be given the choice to apply some effect to it, filter it, crop it, and so on.

The image shows the Canva toolbar, which users can use to change the image characteristics in their design.
Image properties toolbar

The Position option on the toolbar allows you to move the element to the top or bottom of the other elements. It also aids in the alignment of the element on the canvas.

Drag-and-drop Editor

The image below depicts the entire drag-and-drop editing interface. With a few mouse clicks, you can move objects around, shift layers, select elements to change their properties, scale, crop, and adjust the alignment of the objects.

Canva's drag-and-drop graphical editor user interface is depicted in this screenshot.
Drag and drop graphics editor

There isn’t as much detail in pixel-by-pixel editing as there is in Photoshop or Pixlr. Canva does not provide tools for pixel-level image editing. On the other hand, it does an excellent job of keeping things easy for newcomers while at the same time packing in lots of tools for more ambitious artists.

As you move objects across the page, helpful instructions appear to assist you to keep everything aligned and consistent in appearance.

There are no limits to the number of pages or slides that can be created within a single design template, which holds true for both Free and Pro plans. There is also an option to duplicate pages. When exporting, you have the option of selecting which pages to export.

Video Editor

Using the same editor, you can easily create videos and animations without being a professional video editor. 

It’s a useful addition to Canva’s enormous feature set, but it has a lot of limitations. The free plan includes 9 animations, while the Pro plan has 16. Currently, there is no way to use separate animations for different objects.

This tool can save beginners and social media managers a lot of time spent rendering and scheduling videos.

Unique Use Cases

Aside from the usual and most prevalent use-case of using it for social media post design and scheduling, you can use the editor in a variety of other ways.

Presentations

Canva provides access to hundreds of aesthetically appealing templates for creating presentations on any subject. Simply select your presentation’s graphics, fonts, and colors.

Mind Mapping

Canva’s mind mapping templates are the quickest and simplest method to construct a mind map of the thoughts and ideas that are swirling around in your head. Simply select a mind map template and modify it to meet your requirements.

Infographics

Canva features thousands of images and templates to help you create the finest infographic for your blog, presentation, or school assignment. Data doesn’t have to be boring; use Canva to make it colorful.

Brochures

Brochures are marketing materials used to promote businesses, events, meetings, or groups. They are more instructive than posters and are simple to distribute, as well as quite useful to copywriters who are working on brochure copy. If your writer is having trouble visualizing the arrangement of the brochure, they can use Canva’s templates to see how their material will look in the standard trifold brochure format.

Canva Pro vs Free

The free edition is good for making simple designs, but if you want access to some of the world’s top design templates, features, and more functionality, you’ll need to subscribe to Canva Pro.

Free Plan

  1. Over 250,000 Templates — Get started with over 250 000 design templates from the Canva database.
  2. Hundreds of thousands of free photos and graphics for your designs.
  3. Invite team members to collaborate and comment in real-time.
  4. 5GB of cloud storage for your uploads and design templates.

Although this is a fairly generous free plan, it does have certain limitations. The most important ones are:

  • Images cannot be resized.
  • There is no access to millions of high-quality stock photos.
  • The premium templates can save you a lot of time, but they are only available with the Pro plan.
  • Only the Pro Plan includes brand management tools and custom fonts.

The Pro plan will save you a lot of time, and time is money if you’re using it professionally. Pay for the upgrade to save yourself the trouble.

Pro Plan

In addition to everything included in the Free plan, you also get the following:

  1. Over 610,000 premium templates — Get started with over 610 000 design templates from the Canva database.
  2. 100 million+ stock photos and graphics for your designs.
  3. You can create 100 brand kits featuring colors, fonts, and logos that you can apply in your designs.
  4. You get access to the image background remover. There are no restrictions on how many pictures you may use background remover on.
  5. Resizing graphics can be time-consuming, but Canva Pro allows you to do it automatically.
  6. 100GB of cloud storage for your uploads and design templates.
  7. Schedule social media posts to 8 platforms.
  8. Export images in different resolutions and SVG format.

Canva Pricing

Canva is completely free to use, which is an excellent way to get started and discover if the service is right for you. It’s a fairly generous free tier, and some people will be absolutely fine with it.

Get started with the Canva Free plan.

You can also get started with the Pro plan, which costs $12.99 per month or $119.99 per year and offers you access to millions of stock photos, hundreds of thousands of premium templates, 100 GB of cloud storage, collaboration features, and more.

Get started with the Canva Pro Free 30 Day Trial.

 A free Pro plan is available to educational institutes and charitable organizations.

Verdict

Canva makes it very simple to produce great designs for your project – and you can do it in a matter of minutes even if you don’t have any graphic design abilities you could brag about.

Its pre-designed templates give you a significant edge because you can easily alter them utilizing a drag-and-drop tool.

The expert users will wish for more functionality and freedom. There’s no disputing the quality of the output that it can produce – the software is capable of producing professional-looking designs with less effort than you might expect.

Finally, I’d want to emphasize that experiencing Canva Pro for yourself is the greatest way to determine whether it’s the best option for you, so why not try it free for 30 days?

Try Canva Pro for 30 Days

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