How I Feel About Canva As A Designer
By now, I'm sure that most of you have heard about Canva. But, just in case you haven't, take a moment to to check out Canva. It's an online source where you can go to make your own images. A lot of people would compare it to Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, but free (sort of). It is a internet based web app, as well as iPad, iPhone, and Android.
While I am an avid Adobe Illustrator user, I have definitely toyed around in the platform. Heck, I even made today’s post images using Canva just to show you. I just feel like I really need to come out and tell you how I feel about it from a designer's perspective, as well as from a blogger, in terms of using it to create a great cohesive brand.
First off, let me start by saying that I do think it is a great website to have an account with. It gives people who either cannot afford or don't want to pay monthly for Adobe software, or take the time to learn how to use said software. It's a place to go to create beautifully branded images such as Instagram photos, Facebook banners, and even blog post images! It has pre-made templates, but also gives you the freedom of using their elements to create your own. If the free version has your fonts, then that is great, and more power to you! As a side note to keep in mind, that any good brand has no more than three (3) fonts that they ALWAYS use. You will typically never see a random font thrown in there.
When making images in Canva it is important to still use your fonts. If you're not seeing any fonts that go with your brand, then there is a paid version! In the paid version you can upload your own fonts, so, they are always there for you to use. Color is another thing to keep in mind! It allows you to enter color codes for items, so keep your pallet consistent, as it is very important in brand recognition. You can actually save templates and use them repeatedly, which is something I do for my brands in Adobe Illustrator. There are businesses that successfully run using nothing but the paid Canva service, and they are thriving. That is so thrilling to me! I love seeing the importance of design acknowledged, and people striving for that consistency using Canva.
The BUT... There is always a BUT...
Now, while I can talk about how great Canva is, and how I love seeing people kick butt in their businesses using it! Heck, even I use it! BUT, I do not think that it should be used to make your entire brand! For example, you should NEVER use Canva to make images such as your logo! It saves a low resolution file that you can never size up without pixelation! Also, you can't customize it the way that you need to in Canva. Items you print have a tendency to come out fuzzy and unprofessional from using Canva as well. No matter how good the printer, if your source image quality is low, the print will be as well. Even if you are printing small business cards, or stickers. Also, one thing that was brought to my attention is the terms and conditions of Canva. If you use any of the design elements Canva provides, Canva or their 3rd parties technically have legal rights to your design. Therefor, if you decide to use the design for your business, or for a client, you must obtain a licence for use of YOUR DESIGN through Canva.
Want my advice?
Have your biggest brand elements designed and developed on another platform (Links Below). Whether you hire a designer to build a custom brand, or you purchase something pre-made. Just have it done outside of Canva, and make sure it's a vector image. Go through your brand discovery and get your elements established, like your fonts, colors, logos, embellishments, etc.. This way you can get them designed in vector format so that they can be sized up or down for any instances that you may need them. Then, when you have those individual elements established, you can always use Canva to build your other items. Just remember, have them saved as a .png format. This way they have a transparent background, and you can layer them to create what you need.
Do you remember me saying printed items seem to come out fuzzy? I would have the designer that does your branding also do your business cards, because, different printers may require different file formats. I have seen too many people saying they built the business card image in Canva, took it to the printer, and it came back looking like garbage! It's saved at such a low quality that it's just not a good idea. You can feel free to do PDFs in Canva, if you are comfortable with it. Just know that if you print them, it can turn out bad.
Wrap it up...
Over all, I think Canva is great! It's a great resource for my DIY loving business friends! It's even great for certain social media business types to use primarily. But, it has a time and a place, and limitations. Just remember, when you are building the most crucial points of your brand, it is not the time to use Canva.
Here are some links to great vector graphic design applications to try out, if you want. They have a learning curve of course, but, GIMP and Inkscape are FREE! They also work with Mac, Windows, and Linux. And one more that we feel is great for only $50 is Affinity Designer.
Don't be afraid to DIY.
What do you think? Do you agree? Are you a tried and true Canva fan? Message me in the comments below!