Canva Review

Simplicity is addictive.


Canva review summary:

Canva Pro is a super easy-to-use online graphic design tool. It has everything you need to create designs for either your social media, website, blog, or birthday cards, making it perfect for big and small business, hobbyists, bloggers, and individuals. Canva pricing is affordable to anyone, but if you’re still unsure about the purchase there’s also a Canva free trial!

Pros
  • Free trial
  • Affordable subscription price
  • Free version
  • Super easy to use
  • Fantastic results
  • Huge built-in stock photo library
  • Built to encourage team-work

Cons
  • Weak at photo editing
  • No one-time purchase options
  • Free version is limited

Start Canva Free Trial Now

Are you looking for an awesome designing and photo editing tool that gives professional results with no experience for very little money? (Don’t worry there’s also a free version).

Not only that, Canva stock will also take care of all your needs for stock photography with it’s built-in huge stock library.

Stick until the “Create a design” heading of this Canva review, I will show you how to create an Instagram Story.

What is Canva?

Canva is an online design platform created specifically to allow users to easily create slick-looking social media graphics, graphs, posters, presentations, logos, and much more with its drag and drop editor.

It has an integrated stock photo library with 60 million+ images, videos, illustrations, fonts, music, and videos.

Canva is available as a web and mobile app, making it accessible to everyone; Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, to name a few.


Canva Interface

I love Canva’s interface. It’s simple to use with its minimalistic design, yet quick to navigate thanks to the well-thought-out menu arrangement.

In the top left corner, you’ll find the main menu options: Home, Template, Discover, and Learn.

In the top right corner, you’ll find settings, button to create a new design, and your profile.

From the left sidebar, you can quickly access your designs.

Most of the screen is taken by the search option, where you can find everything, from templates, designs, your designs, Instagram and Facebook posts, etc.

Canva review Main Interface
Canva’s main interface (Source: Canva review – screenshot of Canva.com)

Home

Home tab in the main menu will be your best friend when you’re just starting out with Canva Pro.

From here, you can easily navigate to your existing projects, create a new one, create a team, change your settings and profile information, and throw your projects to trash.

Recommended for you

I don’t even know if I have to explain the first two tabs of the sidebar since they are fully self-explanatory but let’s do it anyway for the sake of the completeness of this Canva review.

In the “Recommended for you” Canva tries its best to figure out what you’ll need based on your previous hits.

If it doesn’t do a great job at doing so, you can simply insert your search phrase in the search bar in the middle of the page.

All your designs

All you designs in one convenient location, so you can easily access them at any time.

Create a team

Canva is a big promotor of teamwork, and to prove that its developers created an easy-to-use system to invite team members to your project.

You, as an administrator, can manage your team by adding new members. You can do so by sending your team members an invite link, or by manually typing in their email addresses and sending them invitations.

Canva review - Create a team
How to invite team members (Source: Canva review – screenshot of Canva.com)

Adding new members to your team is not free, though. Each additional member will cost and extra $11.99 a month.

All your folders

To make your life easier, Canva has introduced folders.

There a few pre-created folders waiting for you: All your designs, Likes, Purchased, Shared with you, Uploads, Logos, and Trash, but you can always create new folders.

Make sure you make use of them, as keeping your content organized will become crucial once you create more designs and upload tens or hundreds of images.

Canva Templates

Canva Templates are a great starting point for any project, especially if you’re a beginner and you haven’t decided on a design yet.

You can just browse the templates to get some idea what you want your design to look at, or you can pick one and keep as it is.

Templates are sorted into several categories for a more convenient searching process.

By clicking “Templates” in the menu you’ll be redirected to the templates site, where you can search the template library with your keywords.

Canva Template menu
Canva’s Template menu (Source: Canva review – screenshot of Canva.com)

To use a template, simply click on it and press the “Use this template” button.

Discover

In the Discover tab, you can search elements that you can add to your designs such as photos, icons, and features.

Canva Discover menu
Canva’s Discover menu (Source: Canva review – screenshot of Canva.com)

Learn

If you’re new to Canva, and especially if you’re new to the online design platform, you should check the Learn tab.

You’ll find great tutorials that consist of short videos that will teach you everything from how to use Canva to how to successfully brand your business.

Give Canva’s blog a read to find some new ideas.

Canva Learn menu
Canva’s Learn menu (Source: Canva review – screenshot of Canva.com)

Canva Pricing

Canva pricing is very affordable for everyone.

There are 3 plans in total; Free, Pro, and Enterprise.

The Free plan is awesome if you’re just trying to test Canva to see if it fits your needs.

The Pro Plan is the best for individuals, small and medium businesses, and bloggers, who want to create graphics for social media, friends, and their websites or blogs.

The Enterprise plan is a lot more expensive and fits the best larger teams that can afford to spend a lot on designing software.

Here’s a quick comparison of Canva pricing plans:

Canva pricing cropped
Canva Pricing (Source: Screenshot of Canva pricing for Canva Review)


Canva Free Trial

Canva generously offers a 30-day trial with no commitments. You can cancel at any time.

What is more, with the 30-day trial you get access to all Canva Pro features; even to its huge stock photo library.

You can create several designs for free, which would otherwise cost you tens or even hundreds of dollars.

Start Canva Free Trial Now

Create a Canva design

You can create a design in Canva in one of two ways.

You can start fresh with a blank page, or you can use Canva’s preset dimensions (for example 1080 x 1920 px for an Instagram Story).

The second option is definitely easier if you’re just starting out, and even if you don’t, there are hundreds of templates to choose from, I’m sure you’ll find something that will fit your needs.

Create a new Canva design

Let’s make the first design together. For this example, I’ll create an Instagram Story for my new blog post. You can follow along step-by-step by creating your own design.

Click the “Create a design” button in the top right corner, type “Instagram Story” in the search bar, and select the first option.

Canva Creating a new design
Create Instagram Story in Canva (Source: Screenshot of Canva design options for Canva review)

Choose a template

Let’s pick a template first.

You can do so, clicking the “Template” in the top left corner and choosing from hundreds of templates.

Selecting the right one from so many designs can actually the most difficult part of creating a design in Canva Pro 😅.

I typed “blog post” into the search bar and chose the “Photography Digital Minimalism Instagram Story” template.

Canva new template
Canva’s Design interface (Source: Screenshot of Canva design interface for Canva review)

Design

I will create an Instagram Story promoting my new blog post on Best Photo Editors.

First, let’s change the background.

You can do so by choosing Photos from the left menu.

Canva Pro has 60 million+ built-in stock photos that you can use for your designs.

When you find the photo you like, simply drag and drop it within your workplace.

Next, we’ll change the text.

Just click in the text area and you’ll get an option to edit the text.

You can also click on Text in the left sidebar to add a heading, subheading, normal text, or even a stylized text.

I wanted to create a simple, minimalistic Instagram Story, so I did not add any elements.

If you want to create more engaging and colorful designs, you have plenty of options to choose from in the left sidebar, where you can find Shapes, Charts, Stickers, Frames, Gradients, Music, and even Videos.

Canva Instagram story - final
Canva Instagram story result (Source: Screenshot of Canva design interface for Canva review)

Export

The most popular option of exporting a design from Canva Pro is the Download option, but you can choose from many more.

Facebook Page, Facebook Group, Share link, and Twitter are the most popular ones, to name a few.


Canva Stock Photo

Canva stock is a nonstandard system when it comes to stock imagery.

You can find all photos if you navigate to Discover > Photos in from the main menu. Photos are separated into two categories, as Free and Premium.

As a free user of Canva, you can use a large collection of free images, videos, music, and other graphics.

For a wider range of choices, premium elements are available for purchase, although these will have a watermark on your design until purchased.

You can purchase premium elements by:

  • Subscribing to Canva Pro ($8.99) or Canva Enterprise,
  • Browse and purchase premium stock photos or icons,
  • Remove watermarks,
  • Download design to purchase premium elements.
Canva License Agreements
Canva’s license table (Source: Screenshot of Canva stock policy for Canva review)

Canva stock Free media*

You can download and use any media marked as “Free”, this includes images, graphics, music, and videos.

You don’t have to attribute authors or Canva, though it’s a nice gesture and is appreciated.

Remember, you are not allowed to redistribute or sell the downloaded media on other stock platforms.

Let’s go over the Do’s and Don’t’s of the free media on Canva. These are the summary of Canva’s free media license agreements.

Do’s

  • It can be used for free for commercial and noncommercial use,
  • If the media contains an identifiable person, place, logo, trademark, or other private or intellectual property, check the source or contact Canva about the legal issues,
  • Attribution is not required but it’s appreciated,
  • You can edit the media as you like.

Don’t’s

  • Don’t sell unchanged copies of the media
  • Don’t imply endorsement of your product by people of brands
  • Don’t redistribute or sell the stock media on other stock media platforms
  • Identifiable people may not appear in a bad light or in a way that’s offensive

Canva stock Premium media*

Premium media can be categorized into 4 subcategories.

One Design

One Design is applicable to everyone who’s working on a project solo and wants full resolution images and graphics, high-quality music, and high definition videos.

Prices apply to one Canva design and export per person, $1 for images and graphics, $3 for music, and $5 for videos.

Read more on One Design Use License Agreement by Canva.

Multi-use

A multi-use license is useful for teams because everyone can use the media without restrictions, for commercial and noncommercial projects.

The price, however, is higher: $10 per image or graphic.

Read more on Multi-use License Agreements by Canva.

Extended

Extended License allows for the uses of media in an unlimited number of Canva designs without any additional payments.

The price for images and graphics under the Extended License is $100.

Read more on Extended License Agreements by Canva.

Photos Unlimited

Photos Unlimited is an inexpensive recurring subscription that gives you the right to use all media as long as you pay the subscription fee.

After your subscription ends, you may continue to use the already downloaded media, but you can no longer use media for any existing designs created in the Canva editor.

Read more on Photos Unlimited Term of Use by Canva.


Canva Editor

Canva has a free photo editor everyone can use without even signing in.

Photo editing (as in post-processing) is where I, as a photographer, expected more from Canva.

Canva Free Editor

I understand that Canva is not meant to replace Luminar or Lightroom, yet I still think it lacks some important features.

And some features don’t work at all; at least I couldn’t make them work.

Upload

Canva claims to support the following formats in their photo editor: .tiff, .pjp, .jfif, .gif, .svg, .bmp, .png, .jpeg, .svgz, .jpg, .webp, .ico, .xbm, .dib, .tif, .pjpeg, .avif.

First, as I opened the Canva Editor from the Google search (and by directly typing in the link), I was not signed in Canva, although I have cookies enabled. Upon clicking Sign In I was automatically signed in my Canva account (that’s a good thing), yet I was redirected from the photo editor to the main Canva site, losing my project (that’s not a good thing).

Trying to navigate back to the photo editor from Canva is, to my knowledge, impossible. You can go back within your browser, but then you’re again logged out of your account.

I gave up on being signed in my account while editing photos, consequently, I also gave up the option of being able to save the image.

Next, I tried uploading my raw format images – I successfully uploaded a .tif format image, which Canva claims to support, but it didn’t work properly. The library recognized the image, but the image was not showing up.

.jpeg and other compressed formats worked well, however, applying edits to these introduced pixelations.

Editing features

Canva Editor is not feature-packed, but that’s for a reason; it’s not meant to be.

It has some basic adjustment slider, namely Brightness, Contrast, and Saturation.

What most users would be more interested in are filters. There are in total 15 filters in the free editor, which cover most of your needs.

The next tab is dedicated to image cropping and resizing. You can choose from several presets crop ratios, but you can also Resize, Rotate, and Flip images.

Lastly, you can add text and shapes, or create collages in just a few simple clicks.

Canva Pro Photo Editor

Now that I trashed Canva free photo editor, let’s take a look at its Pro counterpart.

You can access by creating a new design and either choosing a template or entering custom dimensions, which is preferable if you’re planning to only edit a photo.

As this is not meant to be a raw photo editor, upload formats are limited to: .heic, .heif, .gif, .jfif, .pjpeg, .jpeg, .pjp, .jpg, .png, .svgz, .svg, .m4v, .mp4, .mov, .gif, .mkv, and .webm.

To edit the image, click on it to get access to the editing menu, which is separated into 5 taps.

Effects

In the effects tab, you can perform various styling operations.

Probably the most useful of them all is the Background Remover, which does exactly as the name suggests.

Although it usually does a good job removing the background, it doesn’t always get it right. I wish there was a way to adjust this process, but there sadly isn’t. If the Background Remover screws it up, there’s nothing you can do.

There are also several other filters: Duotone, Bad TV, Color Mix, Liquify, Pixelate, Screen, and Slice.

Filter

Yep, you guessed it! You can find filters here.

There are 19 in total, ranging from retro to modern, and from warm to cold.

Adjust

In the Adjust tab, you’ll find a few (7, to be precise) adjustable sliders.

You can change Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Tint, Blur, X-Process; and add Vignette.

Canva Adjustment tab
Canva Adjustment tab (Source: Screenshots for Canva review)

These tools work as they should but because you work with a compressed image (i.e. .jpeg format) the results aren’t as good as with specialized photo editors such as Luminar 4, ON1, and Lightroom.

Crop and Flip

Crop and Flip tabs are 100% self-explanatory; in the Crop tab, you can crop your image and change it’s the aspect ratio, while in the Flip tab, you have the option to flip the image horizontally or vertically.


FAQ

How to create a team in Canva?

Navigate to the Home section by pressing the Home button on the top left, then pick the 4th item from the left sidebar which says “Create a team”.
You can then either get an invite link that you send to your team members, or you can manually type in their email addresses and send them invitations.
Note, that doing so will cost you an additional $11.99 per month.

Is Canva Pro worth it?

Considering the very affordable price of only $8.99/month and what it gets you, Canva has one of the best value to price ratios in the graphic design industry.

Canva Pro for nonprofits

Canva’s nonprofit program gives your team of up to 10 people access to Canva Pro’s features for free. Sign up here.

Canva Pro download

Canva isn’t exclusively an online platform. You can also download it for Windows.

Do professionals use Canva?

Mostly no. Canva is the best for amateurs who want an easy workflow. Although it has numerous handy features packed into its drag-and-drop editor, it lacks advanced functions, which professionals need.

How do I get Canva Pro for free?

You can start Canva Pro free trial here.

Is Canva free

Yes, there’s a free version of Canva which works great but it quite limited. You will only be able to download 3 designs per months and you won’t get access to some objects, fonts, and images within Canva. You can start Canva free trial here.


Conclusion |Canva review

Let me conclude this Canva review by leaving you with a piece of advice; If you’re looking for an easy-to-use drag-and-drop graphics tool, Canva is the perfect option for you.

Canva is like a swiss army knife of graphic designing tools. It offers preset dimensions perfect for every occasion, and with its countless presets you’ll never have to spend more than 5-10 minutes to create an awesome design.

What is more, Canva is a solid money-saver. For as little as $8.99 you get hundreds of templates, access to its huge free stock photo library, and a free photo editor.

Let’s do some math. The price of templates ranges from a few dollars to tens of dollars. It’s true that stock images can be bought for as low as $0.20/piece but it requires a subscription. Considering that you don’t subscribe and purchase only one image, the Canva pricing starts at $10. Lastly, photo editors cost $50+ or $10+/month.

This is a simplified version of Canva’s license policy, which was shortened for easier reading and understanding. Otterreviews and the author of this article do not guarantee complete accuracy of the provided license information and are not to be held responsible for any legal, or other issues caused by the potential misinformation provided in this article. Otterreviews and its author(s) try their best to keep any information as up to date as possible. If you spot a mistake, feel free to let me know via email at [email protected].

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