Within the Design department at GEL Studios, we've been noticing more and more businesses are turning to the likes of Canva to meet their graphic design needs.
With the software being simple to use and giving users access to hundreds of pre-built and pre-designed templates, it may appear easy for a business to create the items they need within a few clicks of a button. But is using software like Canva best for the business in the long term?
Below I've taken a look at Canva, evaluated its pros and cons and explored whether it beats placing your brand in the hands of a professional, knowledgeable graphic designer.
Think of it this way. If you use your phone to take photos, does that make you a professional photographer? The answer is no, which is similar to using Canva for your graphic design needs.
What is Canva?
Canva has become one of the world's most popular online graphic design tools with over 30 million users.
It allows people with little to no creative skill to be able to design materials including social graphics, business cards and brochures with a few clicks of a button. It's best suited to small businesses with smaller budgets which don't have the resources to use professional software such as Photoshop or Illustrator. Canva does have a free version which allows users to create 10-15 designs per month, also including 8000+ templates as well as access to free stock images and ready-made graphics.
Pros of Canva:
- The software allows anyone to put their hand to something creative, even if they have no previous creative knowledge.
- The interface is simple to use.
- There are hundreds of pre-designed templates.
- You can import photos/videos and graphics from sources such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Youtube and Instagram.
- The software has inbuilt subtle animation capabilities allowing you to animate graphics in a simple manner.
- The software integrates with your social media channels allowing you to post directly to your chosen profile.
- The paid version allows you to add and collaborate with other team members making this option a massive benefit to small business owners.
- Canva allows pro users to create a brand kit which ensures consistency in brand fonts, colours and logos.
Cons of Canva:
- Designs begin to lack originality due to the photos and templates being generic and from stock libraries. After a while of using these, you may find that your engagement rates fall due to the visual market becoming saturated with the same type of graphics being used everywhere.
- The mobile app is extremely difficult to use on the go compared with the UI of the Canva desktop version.
- If you add photos, videos or audio elements from the Canva stock library, then you'll need to navigate image rights and royalties on your own. This can be a difficult task for those unfamiliar with these processes and could land you in hot water regarding copyright ownership.
Pros of working with a professional graphic designer:
- The work created will be specifically for your business needs. A graphic designer not only creates visual content and communicates your message, they know how to create an emotional connection between the business and your audience.
- The assets your graphic designer produces will be unique instead of something that's used by the masses and identifiable as a template.
- Although Canva seemingly has many creative tools to hand, the software actually confines you to use the tools within the software. A graphic designer will have all of the industry standard programs suitable for any creative outcome. In need of custom-designed infographics? A designer will more than likely use Illustrator. After some photo manipulation and editing, Photoshop or Lightroom would be the place to go. A designer will be able to make the call and will have the best tools at their disposal.
- Canva isn't a vector-based programme, meaning if you wanted your logo printed, you would need a professional designer. This may be something you could initially bodge and export from Canva as a high-res pdf, but this will only get you so far. The second you need to scale the logo up or down, you will wish you had worked with a designer instead.
- It can never really replace the intuition, experience, knowledge and personality of a designer who can really get to know you and your business requirements.
Cons of working with a professional graphic designer:
- Professional graphic designers can take longer than template methods because they're so detail-oriented and want everything to be perfect.
- With a professional graphic designer, you'll receive top-notch designs, which can naturally come with added cost. However, it really is a case of getting what you pay for, so try and think of the longer-term value.
So graphic designer or Canva - who do you choose?
While both options can create similar outcomes on a screen, there are massive differences between both choices. The factors below may just help point you in the right direction.
- Custom design: Canva cannot match the level of individuality that a designer can give you, who will understand the message you are trying to convey and use the best approach.
- Pricing: This is a common deciding factor, but you should consider the final quality and overall value of your business. Quite often, the cheapest isn't always the best - especially when it comes to something as important as your brand visuals and impression.
- Design type: Canva can work for certain projects, but not for others, whereas a designer will have the best tools for the job and be able to make the appropriate decision.
- Time efficiency: As a small business owner it's important to consider where your time is best spent. A lot of people may not have the time or resources to even learn the basics of Canva, so hiring a graphic designer can free up valuable minutes to focus on generating income for the business.
We're experts in all things graphic design.
At GEL Studios, we provide top-quality graphic design solutions. Our diverse team of talented in-house graphic designers are experts at all things aesthetically pleasing. They're always ready to exceed your creative needs, no matter how ambitious you may be.
All of our graphic design solutions are exactly tailored to your business needs, whether that be social media graphics, brochures, leaflets and even custom illustrations. So give us a ring and find out how we can help you realise your vision.