A STEAMY discussion from a graphic designers’ perspective…

There are lots of opinions going around on this so we thought we would chime in our two cents as professionally trained and experienced designers (not the same thing as being creative).

Canva is a great tool, but it has its place… and its limitations. We use the comparison of using a professional hair colorist vs trying DIY with box dye – some folks can get away with it and their hair looks great, other’s not so much. It is obvious that it was not professionally done, has room for improvement and won’t last in the long run. Most will have to get their box dyed hair corrected by a professional down the road because they will inevitably have issues, even if it looked ok at some point. Most will wish they had just made the investment in professional hair care from the start to avoid all of the problems and damage.

The same goes for designing, a lot of which is now done using Canva. We struggle with this issue DAILY with files we receive from clients. While we are proud of the attempt and love the creative outlet, the long term effects of using Canva for graphic design are just not worth it for a professional brand with a goal to grow.

This software creates files that just won’t work for the purpose intended, artwork that is not print ready or high-resolution, and layouts with LOTS of design flaws. Kerning, widows, white space, margins, bleed, alignment, hierarchy, grids and the rule of thirds – these are all things that only a trained eye can really navigate but that are crucial for maintaining a high quality brand.

Canva is not a vector-based program which means that the artwork it produces does not have a source file (editable file with layers) that can be exported. If you create artwork in Canva, it can ONLY be edited in Canva without a corruption of layers and elements that causes a huge time suck to get it into a useable state down the road. We DO charge for file correction and conversion.

Our least favorite “feature” of Canva? Templates. While this sounds great in theory, keep in mind that everyone has access to the same templates and fonts that you do – it is not unique and they do get overused.

Here is our unsolicited advice:

Canva is OK to use for:
– Artwork with a short life span (what we call quick and dirty) where small design flaws will likely be looked over
– Artwork to be used only digitally that does not require high resolution output (as long as your branding is well established and used correctly in the art)
– Artwork that you don’t mind being highly templated

Do NOT use Canva for:
– Artwork that will have a long shelf life (that needs to be flawless and professionally designed)
– Logo design
– Layout design (brochures, etc)
– Large format printing artwork
– Artwork that you will need someone else to edit or print

In conclusion, there are pros and cons to every DIY in business, but we know the impact a professional design can make for a brand and we want to see our clients succeed!

What are YOUR thoughts on Canva? We want to know!