Canva: The Designers newset tool
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Canva has quickly become an industry standard for social media, marketing, and print based designs. The easy to use graphic design application is great for beginners and professionals alike, allowing every business big or small to benefit with its extensive free tools and pre-made library.
However Canva alone doesn’t always fulfill the needs of your design project. For example if you’re designing for a huge surface like a billboard, it can be super tricky to make a large enough design in Canva!
Learning how and when to use new tools is a essential skill in our field, so let’s talk openly about some of the best features Canva has to be implemented into your workflow, and some of the drawbacks of using it for designing.
What does Canva Excel at?
Canva has so many benefits, but first and foremost the best part about it is how simple it is. Because Canva is quick and easy to learn, it can be a great way to get your clients involved in the design process by allowing them to personally edit the copywriting or colors on a design. The program’s library of pre-made templates, graphics, and stock video or photos is huge, making sure that you won’t have to take long to make a quick advertisement or social media post.
Its use can go much farther than social media though- Canva has simple video editing & animation tools, and can export to many file formats, including vector files! Canva also has started up their printing business, allowing a seamless workflow for making business cards, t-shirts, and more.
While Canva is a great tool, there are some projects that are best kept in professional grade software. Overall the biggest downside of Canva is what makes it so popular- its ease of use!
The software cuts out many of the difficult parts of professional software like the Adobe suite, but it also drastically cuts out how many tools you have to edit your design. You can’t fully edit shapes, you’re limited in how you can warp your text, and you can’t layer designs on top of each other, then merge the layers together. These cuts also include some of our favorite editing tricks such as blend modes, overlays, and drop shadows.
Exporting can also sometimes be a hassle in Canva. Larger designs will need to be made elsewhere because the editor’s export size does max out. Additionally their vector formatted export can be finicky, with the design coming out looking slightly different than when in Canva. This means there will sometimes be another step in the design process after getting your file out of Canva.
The Legalities of Canva
Overall though, the biggest downside is that you mostly can’t copyright designs made within Canva. Because Canva hosts a huge design and stock image library for its users, users are not allowed to use these elements for a copyrighted design. This would infringe on all other client’s use of the free elements after all!
We say mostly at the starting statement though because there is an exception to the non-copyright rule. If you create a design using elements from the “lines & shapes” section, or from their font library, you are free to copyright the design. But because of the limitations of Canva’s editing software, if you want a copyright, you are much better off getting full control of your logo by using more professional editors!
As a note, whenever you download a design you made in Canva, you agree to their usage terms.
While their terms are very liberal, check out their Content License Agreement to make sure you’re up to date!
Many people are under the impression that graphic designer’s are worried about the rise in Canva’s popularity. With more and more people testing graphic design out themselves, the industry could definitely shift slightly!
However the need for professional graphic designers still stands. On our end, all of our client’s logos are still made in more advanced programs like Adobe Illustrator & Photoshop. Unfortunately Canva can’t yet match the ultimate control more professional applications have. But that doesn’t mean the editor isn’t useful! We occasionally use Canva for quick graphics, especially for social media or small prints.
Canva is a great tool added to any designer’s repertoire if used correctly. Just keep in mind Canva’s strengths (speed, pre-made assets, ease of use), and its weaknesses (limits on editing, limited exporting, limited copyright).
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