Last Updated on January 13, 2021 by Michael Brockbank
Images are vastly important for just about anything online. From promoting products to sharing memes, visual content imagery encourages engagement. But what if you don’t have the money to subscribe to something like Photoshop? Perhaps Canva is a good alternative for you.
Today, I’ll show you a bit of what Canva can do and why you might consider using the tool.
Keep in mind this review is for the free version of the image editor. There is a lot more available if you pay to unlock more features.
What is Canva?
Canva online is a web-based image editing system that makes creating visuals incredibly easy. Providing a wide range of templates and themes, Canva lets you create the perfect sized graphic for a massive number of projects.
You can use templates that are perfectly aligned for each project or create your own from scratch.
Out of the many free systems I’ve tried in the past, Canva is probably one of the most versatile and feature-rich free image editors.
Whether you’re adding images to your blog, sharing something on Twitter, or creating your own eBook cover, Canva definitely has potential.
It’s easily among my favorite free blogging tools because of its overall functionality.
What Can You Expect from Canva?
As hard as I try, I’m really unable to find anything negative about the image editor. For what you get in the free platform, it has a lot of functionality and versatility.
If you’re inexperienced with creating your own graphics, Canva’s interface is quite self-explanatory and provides everything you need to make something stunning.
Aside from creating custom-sized graphics, Canva also provides an awesome range of tools and functions. Much more than I can list in a single blog post.
Vast Array of Templates and Themes
You can create just about any online visual using Canva templates. From slideshow presentations to customizable infographics, the list is simply mind-boggling.
YouTube thumbnails, Wattpad eBook covers, Instagram Stories, resumes, and even video content are available.
For a blogger who tries to stay active on social media as well as a YouTube channel, Canva makes the visual work a breeze.
Incredibly Easy Editing System
One thing that a lot of people love about this image editor is the creation engine itself. From the Canva dashboard, you simply select the template you want to create, add your images, slap on your text, or include music, all with a few clicks of the mouse.
Once you click to add something to your creation, you can then adjust its size, color, position, and rotation. You can even add charts and data points that will automatically adjust in your image.
In fact, I think I’m going to start creating my own infographics! It’s a hell of a lot cheaper than hiring a graphic designer.
A Plethora of Free Additions for Designs
Canva has a very, very long list of free images and options to use. Although you get about twice as much if you pay for a premium account, what is available for free is unmatched when compared to similar platforms.
And thanks to the ability to make visual adjustments with filters, resizing, and Elements, you can whip up something completely unique. Even if everyone else uses the same background, it’s easy to make enough adjustments to make yours stand out.
This is on top of being able to upload your own images to add.
Don’t Need to Sign In for Many Tools
Canva is so free that you don’t even need an account to save some of the images as PNGs to your computer. Though, you do need to at least set up a free account if you wish to share your creation directly on Twitter or Facebook.
I was able to go to the website and download an image for Instagram that I made without logging in.
Because there is so much you can do with Canva, I would suggest creating an account. I simply signed in with Google.
And once you create an account, you can easily connect various platforms to market your blog on social media.
Optimally Sized Images for Social Media
The system will already choose the perfect sizes for various needs. This is extremely helpful, especially if you want specific sizes for social media.
Twitter images, Facebook banners, YouTube video thumbnails, and other images perform better by adhering to specific dimensions. Canva calculates all that for you.
This way, you can be sure that all of your images are optimized for each individual platform without having to worry about resizing them manually.
Download as Common File Types
You can download most creations using PNG, JPG, PDF, GIF, or MP4 video in Canva. You can also save as a Sharp Vector Graphic, or SVG, if you decide to upgrade to a premium account.
Still, these are the most common file types for virtually anything on the Internet.
In reality, you can create your own animated GIFs to share on social. This is something I might try later on.
Integrations and Connections Galore!
Canva connects and integrates with a wide scope of online platforms. For instance, you can share on Twitter, a Facebook Page, Google Drive, Dropbox, Pinterest, use as an embed on your blog, and much more.
If you have images you want to use in Canva, you can upload them from your device, Facebook, Google Drive, Instagram, and Dropbox.
I can even push things I create to Slack!
Desktop and Mobile Apps
If you don’t want to use the web-based version, you can also install Canva on your computer or mobile device.
Personally, I use the computer version as I prefer to work on a 27-inch widescreen. But, if you prefer using your phone, the platform has you covered.
And it works just as well on your other devices as it does through something like Google Chrome.
Doesn’t Handle PSD Files
The only real negatives I can think of for Canva involve Photoshop. Since a lot of what I do for clients centers around PSDs, it’s a shame Canva doesn’t support the file type.
However, it wouldn’t take much to create new templates in Canva using a similar layout to what I have in Photoshop.
But that would mean recreating a lot of images from the tutorial templates all the way to YouTube thumbnails. I don’t know if I am that motivated.
More Expensive than Photoshop
Another drawback to Canva is the cost. The “Pro” version of the tool is $12.95 if you pay per month. If you pay for the year in advance, though, it’s slightly cheaper than Adobe.
But, you can have up to 5 people on your team from different computers and devices. Photoshop only gives you two installs.
Not to mention the wide range of additions, functions, templates, and stock images that come with the premium version of Canva.
Still, I thought I would point out that a monthly bill is nearly three dollars more than if you get Photoshop.
Would I Recommend the Image Editor?
Absolutely! I really tried to find something more negative about using Canva. But to be honest, I really can’t find anything outside the scope of what I do as a blogger and YouTube creator.
It’s an intuitive, feature-rich system that has an incredible amount of potential for just about any online project. Plus, you can print your creations directly from Canva…for a fee, of course.
I’ve been using Canva off and on since its early days. It has come a very long way over the past several years, and I’m often kicking myself for not using it more often.
Yes, I am still an avid Photoshop user. But, there are some things I’ll definitely take advantage of such as being able to add chart data to create infographics. That right there is enough reason for me to use the system.
And because there is so much available in the free image editor, I probably wouldn’t have to upgrade for a very long time.
Of course, this also depends on just how far I take the future of everything I do. It might wind up being a great system to upgrade, especially if I add more writers and developers in the coming months.
Don’t Underestimate the Power of Images
In reality, articles on the Internet with visual elements get 94% more views than those without. Graphics play a massive role in audience engagement regardless of what you create.
Using Canva can definitely expand what you provide to the audience while looking professional and clean.
Since it’s a free system, you really don’t have anything to lose but a few moments of your day. But, I bet you’ll fall in love with the tool once you explore what it can offer.
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