The world of graphics design has seen phenomenal growth over the last few years. Designs unimaginable in the past are easy to create today. Designing tools and suites have discovered crazy, creative geniuses from all over the world. One of these high-performing design tools is Canva. It opens up a wide array of easy, attractive designs that fulfill personal as well as professional interests.

If you are a budding designer, Canva is a name you need to remember.

What is Canva?

Canva is the rising star of the graphics design industry. It is a free website that lets you create personalized images or social media posts. It comes with preset backgrounds and photos to build visually rich infographics, marketing materials, books, event planners, or scrapbooks. It offers a huge collection of in-built templates. Its design options transform any ordinary outline into brochures, flyers, business cards, resumes, presentations, invitations, logos, and posters. It gets you social media ready in a jiffy.

Think of it as a 3-in-1 graphics tool, photo editor and desktop publishing program

How does it work?

Create your new account or log in using Google or Facebook Profiles. You can start working right away.For example, to edit your selfie, upload it, and drag to fit into a selected layout. Next, pick a font and set up its size, color, and spacing.

You can also insert shapes and stickers into it and adjust as you like. Check out how it looks with different filters. A finished design or a photo can be downloaded, printed, shared, or saved to your accounts in different formats.

Canva helps novices build eye-catching designs. Its colossal catalog of theme-based templates and images allows a newbie to work with ease. You can straighten, trim, sharpen or blur out photos and use a grid for reference. Have fun with icons, illustrations, stickers, charts, and frames if you use Canva for pleasure. You can change the texture of a flat image to give it more depth or create a washed-out look. If you hit a snag, click on the Help tab at the bottom right of your dashboard.

Serious designers too love Canva as it brings together like-minded collaborators.

Key Features

Canva is feature-rich” is the understatement of the century. As you browse through the pages, picking up design tools, resources, and courses, you begin to truly see its full potential and what you can achieve with it.  Here are its key features:

  • Design School
  • Graphics Design
  • Photo Editing
  • Printing
  • App integration
  • Logo Maker
  • Design Size Guide

Service Features & Technical Details

  • Graphs Maker- Create, embed and share visual data with more than 20 ready-made graphs and charts
  • Photo Editing – Apply Crop, Adjust, Straighten, Filters and Effects or add a speech bubble in a few easy steps
  • Printing – Get color-rich designs in matte, gloss or uncoated finishes delivered to your location
  • Mobile and Desktop versions

Requirements

Every software has some device and operating system requirements that must be fulfilled. To run Canva, you need to have these resources:

  • Android Jellybean/ 4.1 or more recent version
  • iOS 10 or later editions with available storage of 150 MB and above.
  • Chrome, Safari and Microsoft Edge and Mozilla with enabled JavaScript

Features

In this section, we take a thorough look at some of the commonly used features.

1. Design School:

Canva Review: Designing Tool For Beginners and ProfessionalsDesign School is Canva for the classroom. The site and its features are introduced by the Canva design expert. There are 06 lessons and these cover everything from Design A-B-Cs to creating posters, lesson plans, presentations, and graphics organizers.

Canva Review: Designing Tool For Beginners and Professionals

It is an eye-opener of sorts for project-based learning, setting up the classroom with harmonious colors, attractive poster-making, linking worksheets, video lessons or podcasts to your class plan, building higher order thinking, and giving students lots of practice in individual, pair or group presentation.

Just click on Design School on the left of your screen to open it and select tutorials from the Lesson Menu on the right.

2. Graph Maker

Canva Review: Designing Tool For Beginners and Professionals

Create 6 types of graphs in five simple steps using Canva Graph Maker. Edit, save, share, or download them.

Canva Review: Designing Tool For Beginners and Professionals

Learn about graph types and where to use them. Not just students, anyone with an eye for visual imaging of data is set to benefit from this feature.

3. Printing

Canva Review: Designing Tool For Beginners and Professionals

Get high-quality prints of your designs through Canva Print feature. Choose any design and work on it to suit your needs – conference meet templates, for instance.

After you are done with the changes, click on the download icon to display print options and setting.

Choose your paper (standard, premium or deluxe), finish (glossy, matte or uncoated) and the number of copies. Rearrange the design as per print suggestions, fill in your delivery address, pay and have them delivered right at your address. You have the option to download a copy of the proof before ordering prints.

4. Photo Editor

Canva Review: Designing Tool For Beginners and Professionals

Edit your images in 5 easy steps:

Upload – Crop – Filter – Adjust-Download

The Photo Editor is a simple tool with easy-to-use features. A basic drag-and-drop is all you need to alter the image. Canva filters help you look as chirpy or gloomy as you would. Plus now you can change some of the fundamental image parameters like brightness/contrast, and saturation.

Canva also offers photo collage templates that you can customize.

Adjust it the way you fancy. Aaaaand you’re done.  Save, download, share, or print. Just go ahead.

5. App

Open your account and click on the Apps link on the left. As the Apps page opens, click on an icon and follow the instructions.

Canva Plans & Pricing

Canva is free to use. However, many of its features are only meant for paying members. They come in two packages – 9.95 USD and 30 USD. Billed features are available for a free trial for a limited time.

The 3 plans – Free, Pro, and Enterprise have their benefits and drawbacks.

Canva(Free)

This Free mode is, well, free of charge and offers over eight thousand open, customizable templates and thousands of images to choose from.

  • Pros: It is the go-to plan for a quick, painless design. This pack is meant for ready-to-use layouts that help you meet deadlines. 2 GB of storage space stretched over 2 folders.
  • Cons: One drawback is you still carry the watermark on premium templates. Images are not free. You have to use your shots or buy the license if you apply someone else’s photos to your designs.Limited to a 10-member account. Another drawback is you only rely on yourself for troubleshooting, not a happy to help customer care.
  • Price: $0 for all time for all users

Canva Pro

It comes with greater customization choices. There are whopping 60,000 templates along with a gallery that boasts of one million photos. Plus, Pro users also get to access videos and graphics for their designs.

  • Pros: If you are bored with the same few thousand templates, go ahead and upload some of your own. Same with fonts. Plus, more collaboration and a cool brand kit. A team of 30 members gets to use the group account. 100 GB storage.
  • Cons: Consider investing in a monthly subscription if you are a frequent user. Although it’s a value-for-money tool, you would not want to keep the bill rising if you just like to dabble in it every 2 years.
  • Price: $9.55 per user per month

Canva for Enterprise

Join hands with designers in your industry with the enterprise plan. This pricing level offers you a degree of control on your designs, especially in a team setting.

  • Pros: Enjoy all Canva Pro features in addition to Multiple Brand Kits. A Design lock option protects your ideas from the onslaught of team edits. For the watch? No thanks. Access control, team dashboard and workflow approval guard your brand identity by letting you agree or check what gets uploaded. Unlimited storage and unlimited folder count. 24 x 7 customer support.
  • Cons: Pricey at $30 per month for each user, especially for the print quality delivered.

Customer Support

Users can reach out to the customer support team directly from their account. There are separate tabs for Paid users (Pro and Enterprise).Business accounts get priority support. It is available on Android and iOS for phone users too.

It is a pretty detailed section and most commonly occurring issues are resolved here. Just click on the Help button at the bottom right of your Canva screen to navigate to the Support page. Common fixes are neatly listed on the troubleshooting section.

Let’s say you are unable to upload an image to your design. So you go to the help page and click on the Uploading icon. A list of issues is displayed and you select the relevant one. Canva suggests the size and format of the image file, and the steps needed to make your photos compatible with Canva settings.

This is the place where you find out how to create your account and secure it, make your first design, print it, and get billed.

Contributors too can check out the technical details, for example, how to embed metadata on their designs here. Sometimes, a few features may break down in certain locations. Canva provides a link that lets users find out the status of the site in their area.

Besides the troubleshooting desk, Canva responds to user queries through phone and email – 24 hours customer support…on weekdays (Mon – Fri) and up to 48 hours on the weekend. The first response window is claimed to be 1-4 hours. Subsequent responses may take more time if the issue is trickier or needs to be escalated.

Canva Pros & Cons

By this time it’s clear that Canva is more than a graphics designing tool. It is useful for design novices on one hand and pros on the others. You can spin around thousands of templates to create instant art. You can also focus on carving out a unique business logo that exudes class and professionalism. But there are a few downsides, like limited usability for free version users.

Let’s take a moment to draw up the pros and cons and see how the site fares against itself.

Pros 

Templates, templates everywhere …50,000 free ones

If the site is synonymous with anything it’s the sheer magnitude of open, ready-to-use templates. 6 themes – Social Media, Personal, Trending, Business, Marketing, and Education – cover thousands of preset formats. Design anything you want – Facebook posts, Insta stories, Tweets, Thumbnails for videos, web ads, banners, announcements, desktop backgrounds, screen saver, brochures, presentations, tee shirts, recipe cards, tickets, class routine, mind maps, report cards, invitations, infographic, flyers, resume, books and DVD covers and everything else in between.

Ease of Use

Another thing going for Canva is its user-friendliness. Designing is simple here.Just smile and wave. It’s like the design site for dummies.  There’s a lot of handholding.Canva comes up with detailed suggestions from time to time. It is a source of instant inspiration. High-resolution images, transparent backgrounds, and a lot of creative freedom set it apart.  So, a 5/5 for ease of use.

Save your work

When you’ve taken the trouble to create your account and share your email, it pays to have your designs saved. All your designs remain on your dashboard even after you log out and forget to return. Everything will be stored should you need to rework them in the future.

Cons

Despite the amazing positives, there are some limitations of this design website. Let’s take a quick look at its less-than-amazing sides

Limited usability

Not everything is free. Neither should it be. That’s not why we’re grumbling. It’s just that most of its stunning templates, hordes of images and stickers, colors, and print options are zealously guarded by a pay-wall. Most features that make Canva great are only meant for paying users.

So you can unlock the whole magic of the template wishing well only by buying the Pro or Enterprise plan. And the cost is a slight mismatch for the more infrequent user.

Also, its organization is not quickly understood. Also, the Help button is not visible on all pages, so navigating this huge site takes practice and patience

Incomplete Photo Editor

For a photo editing tool, it is somewhat shortsighted. There are just 9 Effects, 20 Filters, and 8 Adjustments, something any mediocre photo editing app or online tool has as default.

Despite the bumps and scratches you get along the way, Canva is suited for a broad range of everyday designing. It is, after all, used extensively by large teams in expanding business houses.

Top 5 Canva Alternatives

Canva is one of the high-performing design sites online. There are similar, if not superior, sites that promise much. We take a look at the top 5 alternatives that you can use for all your design needs.

1. Fotor

For a full range photo editing tool, try Fotor. It is geared towards touching up your images with smart filters that improve the original photo setting. For example, it can help you correct the exposure or artificial light parameters. It also offers different frames and borders, and 13 different backgrounds to change the appearance of the image. Besides Portrait and Landscape orientations, Fotor comes with a third one, Theatre.

The basic version is free but the Pro mode naturally has more features. One of the downsides is it leans towards photo editing more than anything else but even here, creating an image is not as exciting.

2. Adobe Connect

Any Adobe product inspires high levels of expectation and the Adobe Connect is no different. It is a reliable collaboration tool and offers both online and offline editing and presenting. You can use audio-visual content on your designs. Its screen sharing feature makes for real-time collaborations.

Adobe Connect does not come with customizable templates. But it is easy to use and is stocked with detailed tutorials. Users speak highly of its effectiveness as a tool for webinars and online education. It does prick holes in the pocket but the brand assures of performance and trust.

3. Emaze

Emaze is one of those tools that make use of HTML5 editor to build websites. Users can create animations, 3D art, slideshows, and audio-visual content.

You can change template images and texts and orientation to suit your needs. Emaze is suitable for both personal and professional use. Business houses can connect instantly to increase productivity. It is also recommended for being feature-rich at affordable rates.

It does not have a media store or screen sharing options.

4. Zoho Show

High on collaboration tools and editable template, Zoho Show is a no-nonsense tool for startups and nonprofits. It has a chrome extension that makes perfect sense for on-the-go designers. Another feature is the option of live presenting that connected users can comment on.

User satisfaction about this site mostly stems from the presentation option it comes with.Not just changeable templates, audio-visual files, and choice of fonts, Zoho Show also enables users to just play with colors.

The result? A fast slide builder for quick presentations. One thing that users report is the site needs to perk up its template stock and come up with lighter versions. The current one tends to lag a bit and used a lot of device resources.

5. Focusky Presentations

As a Canva alternative, Focusky offers users editable templates, animation, and video uploads. It is suitable for businesses of all sizes. Offline editing and presenting are enabled.

Cloud storage makes it possible for users to access their designs from multiple devices. A ‘hover’ feature allows you to zoon into the template for details.

On the flip side, the menu reads differently than standard slide makers and it may take some time to get used to the tabs and functions.

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy

Any website will have certain Terms and Conditions for use as well as privacy policies. Before sharing or uploading your designs/fonts/images, it pays to take at least a cursory look at this section.

A few terms and conditions and privacy settings for the Canva user are listed below (but not in legal jargon. You’re welcome!)

  • You need to be at least 13 to have legal accounts.
  • Password protect it and set up a safe setting to prevent unknown logins.
  • You should play fair and avoid stealing other people’s work. Copyright infringement is highly discouraged.
  • Canva can use public designs uploaded by you to the media library. Uploaded content must be your original work and not authored by someone else.
  • There are no refunds.
  • You must ensure that the uploaded content does not incite violence, or is profane or offensive.
  • Don’t spam others.
  • Your personal information is accessed by Canva as per its terms of use. Designs are encrypted and the site asks for in-app permissions. SSA and FMA for additional security.
  • Outbound links from your account are your own risks. Any privacy issue that comes up due to this is your heartburn.
  • Please contact Canva if you have any questions regarding any of the T&C and Privacy.

Canva Resources and Tips

The site is heavy with tips for users who are in the initial phases of a designing career. Even those who can’t design to save their lives find often find these tips useful. Here are 17 tips and resources to help you get started.

Plan

Take a moment to collect your content. A rough sketch of how you want the final design to look like will likely keep you on the right track.

Keep it simple

Oft repeated and hardly followed, designs benefit from their simplicity. Some of the most popular designs are also some of the simplest – no complicated font or layout and certainly not an overwhelming color scheme.

Pleasing proportions

Arrange or position your design elements in a way that’s easy on the eyes. Too large icons or too small ones packed away in the corner don’t work.

Alignment

Grids are born for a reason. They help you place images, texts, or white space in the right spot. If you’re using templates, you will see boxes are placed just so.

Spacing

All parts of your design have the right to be represented equally. Many designers follow the golden ratio to divide space appropriately.

Font Selection

Fonts convey your message in actual terms. With Canva you can explore different font sets, scale, and color or change them in alignment. You can rotate, displace, and adjust their spacing. Adding comments to images is also enabled.  Find the font features below:

Restricted Lettering

Choose fonts that look good together. You can refer to the Font Combination feature to generate harmonious combinations. Toomanyscriptstogether are strenuous to read.

Font Families

Members of the same tribe look good together. If you simply have to bring in variations, just add effects like Bold, Italics, and Underlined. Grow or reduce them as needed.

Match the Lettering to the Design spirit

What do you want the viewer to feel? Retro, modern, rock n roll? Serif fonts look professional while letters with a blunt edge are more warm and welcoming.

Font Mates

Fonts tend to be quite discreet and they are highly selective about who they’re seen with.  For a design to properly speak to your audience, pair matching fonts together. For example, Proxima Nova with Sanchez or League Gothic, or Open Sans with Minion Pro.

Color Selection

Colors add interest to your designs. They can also strain the eye. Colors can be a great mood maker or a deal breaker. Go explore colors with the Canva color range and combination options:

Color Palette

Whatever color family you decide to work on, make sure it is consistent. On single page designs and multi-page ones. You can generate tonal palettes that suggest colors and relative hues. For example, Sea Green, Pale Grey, and Pale Slate go well together. Bright or Dark palette? Give your design an arresting look by going bold. Both Bright and dark color palettes are widely used by designers. Make use of the palette generator.

Contrast and Blocking

Are you a pro at creating exceptionally drab designs? Canva color wheel to the rescue! Shades, tints, triads, contrasts, and complimentary – everything you always wanted to know about colors.

Keep it on Paper

Be inspiration-ready at all times. If something pops up, take great pains to note it in your design diary.

Experiment

Expert designers say the most important part of the creative process is having fun. So get out of your spot and look for insight everywhere. Play around with template features. Be the rebel (preferably without a lost cause).

For instance, to design a logo, put in everything you know and adjust things as they should be. Creating a brand-perfect logo starts with selecting the right logo template. Add the brand name and other details. Next, select colors for a custom look. Add filters. Finally, save your work. For best clarity, logos are usually saved as PNG files. There are no watermarks so your logo is custom-made.

Use them in your brochures, presentation, or resume.

Try and Fail. Try Better. Fail Better. Don’t Give Up.

If you don’t quite hit it the first time you have some learning to fall back to. All good things come to those who sweat.

Develop your signature style

If you love what you’re doing, soon you’ll have a style everyone remembers. Unique styles and a one-of-a-kind composition is possible with design tips on the site. Embrace the learning curve.

FAQs

We’ve seen how Canva means business when it comes to graphics designing. Its overabundance of templates, images, and useful tools make it a rich site for all designers. Here’s a set of FAQs on Canva to refresh your memory before we give our verdict on the site.

What is Canva?

It is a design studio for all visual content. Make posters, flyers, banners, presentations, charts, resume, invitations, calendars, social media posts, and whatnot.

How to use Canva?

To access Canva features, create an account on the site and select user plans – Free, Pro and Enterprise

Is Canva available on Mobile?

Yes, both free and paid versions can be used on Android and iOS. S

What all can I do on Canva?

Anything design based. Create or modify designs, upload to the library, change the background, do page set up, lock design elements from accidental changes, connect to your DropBox or LinkedIn profiles, save all your work in different folders, publish your art and get professional-grade print delivered to your doorstep.

Is Canva free?

Yes. There are also paid versions – Pro and Enterprise.

What resources are available to designers?

Apart from a neatly set troubleshooting section and helpful links, Canva users can connect with a growing community of designers. Design School runs several courses and workshops to familiarize you with the Hows and Wheres. When you connect to them, you get to learn from their experience and thus upgrade your designs. There is also a robust customer support team that will solve your issues if you run into any trouble.

The Final Words

Canva can give any photo editing software a run for their money. A user-friendly interface coupled with unbeatable features makes it a favorite with various domains like education, nonprofits, small businesses, and many more.  Its competitive edge lies in the creative liberty offered to designers in affordable packages. Not only do you craft designs from scratch but also modify existing media to suit your purposes.

A staple of your design diet, Canva means different things to beginner and expert designers. It is a one-stop graphics designing site that has a fresh stock of templates and images to set you up for your next magnum opus.

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