Canva Pro: Worth it?
Updated: Oct 12, 2020
Another day, another business review on my book review site. Le sigh...
I use Canva Pro almost daily. So if you're looking for a review of how it works and if it's worth it, read on. I have opinions.
Note: All graphics included will be ones I designed on Canva. I remind you all that art is subjective, and graphic design is an art form. You may hate what I make but find your aesthetic on here too.
What is Canva?
Canva is a graphic design platform that allows users to create visual content. Canva has anything a beginner might need when making their own graphic designs. This includes fonts, stock photos, pre-made layouts, the ability to download your own photos, filters, and more. It's a privately owned company that was founded in 2012 in Australia. For some reason I assumed that it would be a big publicly listed company from the USA (maybe because all of their pricing is in USD). I think being privately owned is what has kept so many of Canva's main features free for so long.
What do I use Canva for?
Doin' it for the 'gram
I mainly use Canva for Instagram posts. All of them. It has a handy preset size for Instagram posts. Why do I use it for every post? Because of the type of content I make for Instagram. My Instagram is kind of it's own thing niche to my website and Facebook. I mainly post poetry on Instagram. I'm still trying to get my aesthetic sorted, but here's a shot of what my instagram page looks like on a desktop. Apart from the picture of Helen Reddy (RIP Feminist Queen) and the mockingjay, all other graphics are from Canva Pro. I actually use the filter they have to unsee free images so they are less likely to be used. I try and post daily on my Instagram, and have a few images lined up so I have something in reserve. A cool part of "Poetry Instagram" is that people post prompts for you to write poetry from. This is great for me if I'm in a creative rut, as it give me a starting point. It also gives you the opportunity to be featured on bigger poet's pages, which gets your poetry out there. Because let's be honest, you don't post poetry online for nobody to read!
Another major thing I use Canva for is blog banners for my book reviews. Because of fair use, I could just slap the book cover on the banner and be done with it. But I like making my own graphics. It's kind of like designing your own book cover for a book you're reviewing. I can't say mine are amazing, but here's one I quite like.
It's pretty bright, but I use a bit of red in my Instagram (as seen above) and I think it picks out the themes of the book I enjoy most (time and PTSD from literally being in a bombing). Also, I love that title font (it's called waterlily). As a writer and a theatre major I see myself as quite artistic, so having the option to do my own graphic designs is really cool.
Do the kids these days still say lit? I don't know. But I have used Canva to make memes when the memes I have wanted haven't been invented (maybe because they're not funny, I don't know). It's pretty easy to just grab an image and put the Open Sans standard font over it in white and voila, meme!
I made my logo on Canva and my services list. Otherwise, most of my images on my website (besides in the blogs) are stock footage from Wix. Wix also has thousands of stock photos, and I've found I prefer using these on the main pages of my website as they fit its aesthetic (minimalist, black and white).I also designed and got Canva to print my business cards. I ordered them seven days ago and they've just cleared customs (where they were stuck for four days). So I should get them by the end of the week. They were printed and shipped the day I ordered them, so I'm pretty happy with their service (we won't talk about Customs). Please note: I live in New Zealand, so shipping times may vary depending on where you live. Because of Covid-19, I would probably recommend anyone not in New Zealand or Australia to send their design to a local printer. Something I ordered from Florida in June is in Japan right now, and I don't know when I'll see it.
What do you get with free Canva?
Actually, quite a lot. All of the above for starters (although you will have to pay to use pro images). They have a free app that you can use to make designs if you're on the go or don't have access to a laptop. The app is great for designing Instagram posts when I can't be arsed getting my laptop out. It's a bit harder to use than the desktop version, but what app that converts a desktop site to a mobile app isn't (looking at you Facebook Pages 😒).
They also have some classes on their website (a la Masterclass) on graphic design basics, branding, and social media. I haven't watched any, online classes aren't really my thing. It might me to my detriment, but I'm more of a figure it out on your own person. Masterclass has lost a lot of ad revenue through their YouTube ads shown to me.
What do you get with Canva Pro?
Everything you get for free (obviously) plus:
The ability to store your brand's logos, colours and fonts in a "Brand Kit".
One-click design resize (this is honestly so handy for making my blog banners Instagram posts!)
Over 100,000 free templates (compared to 8,000 with the free version)
60+ million premium stock images, photos, videos and graphics. It's actually overwhelming how many images and graphics they have.
Pro fonts. I think all of my brand kit uses free fonts, but I do change up my fonts on Instagram.
I haven't used these features, but it also includes:
The ability to upload your own fonts and logos
Custom templates (maybe I have used this? It's just a really generic term).
One-click photo background remover (handy if your site has a background colour other than white I guess?). Note that if you use Wix, their photo editor also has this feature.
Is Pro it worth it?
For me, absolutely. As someone who uses it daily, the price point of $12.95NZD is very reasonable. The fact that they have so many images you can use for free without any watermarks or need to source Canva is amazing (note I do source them in some posts). If you're just starting out and want to make some cool social media posts, definitely give the free version a go. For lots of small time bloggers or individuals, standard Canva is a great design tool.
If you're wanting to start a business, then Canva Pro is for you. You can save your brand colours and fonts, and you can make something that doesn't look like your bog standard DIY logo. If you're not the artistic type, but you have some ideas, then I would probably recommend hiring a professional graphic designer. There are plenty out there who can help make your ideas come to fruition!
Thanks for reading!