What is Canva?
Canva is a free, online-based design resource that is growing in popularity. It has a simple drag and drop, template-based interface for those DIY-ers to create anything from logos, social media posts, slide decks and more.
Is it a replacement for professional graphic designers?
Professional graphic designers most likely have some formal education where they studied art and design history which gives them the knowledge to appropriately apply design principles including selecting fonts, colors, imagery, and styling to effectively get your message across. They know how to use these tools – as well as design theory - to direct people’s attention to the most important information first; consuming the information in the way it is meant to be consumed.
Canva’s answer is to use templates.
Sure, templates help bridge some of the knowledge gap on design how-to’s and are certainly a quick-fix, but the templates are available to everyone and quickly growing in popularity due to their ease of use. That means your business will look like every other business using Canva. Your business will not have a custom design look and feel that separates you from your competition. Instead, you will all appear very similar with the “Canva” look. If you look the same as everyone else with the “Canva” look, what does that say about the uniqueness of your business?
The technical side of graphic design.
There is more than just aesthetics when it comes to creating design pieces. When a designer works on a design piece they need to know if the final product is going to be displayed on screen, in print, or both because that affects how the file should be built. Canva is more screen-friendly and does not make it easy to build files in other formats. Setting up color format is different for each type of file, as well. Screen-based files need to be built in RGB color format where print-based files need to be built in CMYK for ink setup. There is also the difference in file size resolution. Screen files need to be set up at approximately 72 dpi while print files need to be set up at 300 dpi, otherwise your piece will print pixelated and blurry. Another consideration for print files is whether you need the color to bleed to the edge of the printed piece. Canva does not offer bleed setup so you will not have the option to bleed and trim to size, leaving white border around your pieces.
You also need to be mindful of file formats for download as Canva only offers a limited number of file formats for download. Professionals usually offer logo packages with every file type that your company could possibly need now and into the future. If you use Canva and end up needing a file type that they do not offer, you risk costing yourself more down the road to have your logo rebuilt to accommodate the needed format. For example, Canva works in screen-based formats. If you need a vector (scalable) print file format, you will be out of luck.
Bottomline, if you do not understand the technical components to design, you could be putting yourself in a bind when choosing to use Canva instead of an experienced designer.
Logo design with Canva.
Similar to their design templates, Canva gives everyone access to the same graphics and there’s no copyright protection associated with the images. This puts you at risk of having a similar logo to another business. When working with a professional designer, you can count on a custom designed logo that is unique to your business.
Royalties and Licensing
If you add photographs, video or audio elements into your Canva template, you will have to navigate image rights and royalties on your own. This can be tough if you are not familiar in doing so.
Professional designers are experienced with the nuances of image rights and royalties. They can even create custom assets that are completely tailored for you to use and own.
Pros of using Canva
Although there are a lot of challenges with using Canva, there are appropriate uses for it, as well. With content-marketing being incredibly fast-paced, requiring the immediate need for graphics, you can create quick, budget-friendly, short-term graphics for your social media pages, emails, or blogs using Canva. (That’s not to say that your professional designer can’t turn these graphics around for you just as quickly. We often do just that.)