Graphic designer vs Canva

Graphic designer vs Canva

Graphic designer vs Canva 

“I don’t need a designer, I can use Canva for free”… Well yes you can, but it will cost you more in the long run in terms of time, resource and most importantly, brand perception. 

The explosion of Canva onto the design scene has led to a slew of people harnessing their inner creativity. Sometimes with not-so-great consequences.  

As we discussed in a previous article – ‘Keep creativity in design’, we like to think that everyone has an element of creativity within them but how it is executed is the real challenge. After all, aving a microwave doesn’t make you a chef.  

What is Canva? 

If you’ve not heard of Canva, let us explain. Canva is a simple design tool that’s available online. Easy to use, you can opt for the free version or upgrade for small monthly fee to the Pro version.  

Both creative professionals and hobbyists use Canva for its accessible social media templates, its graphic design features and a wealth of other design features. So, does or should Canva replace the need for graphic designers? Well, here are our thoughts on the graphic designer vs Canva debate. 

First impressions count 

As we mentioned at the start, brand perception is key. Your brand is the face of your business and you need to make the right impression with customers. Experienced graphic designers will work with you to create a brand and design your brand collateral that allows you to make that all important good first impression.  Think business cards to leaflets and posters. Each one needs crafted by a designer that understands what your brand is and where you want it to go. Without this individual touch that a graphic designer provides, your brand is at risk of becoming another faceless log in amongst the sea of Canva designs. 

Standing out in the crowd 

Each and every business knows they need to stand out in an increasingly noisy, busy marketplace. The downside of using a program like Canva is that you risk looking similar to other brands that use Canva. This isn’t such a disaster with a social media post but can be a real issue when you’re wanting to showcase long-term brand collateral.  

Clients will often have great ideas that are a starting point for a campaign, but a designer’s job is to make that idea come to life in a way that makes them stand out from the competition. Which, let’s face it, is exactly the competitive edge they are looking for. 

By sticking to a more “generic” design platform such as Canva, you risk blending in with the others instead of rising above the crowd. 

No internet, no design 

As we mentioned, Canva is an online tool. If, for any reason, your internet goes down or you can’t get online, you can’t design. Designers use tools that can be used offline thereby can continue designing (and saving!) creative without the worry that a system will go down and leave them helpless.  

Which file format? 

Different marketing collateral requires different file formats so depending on what you’re creating, you want to ensure you’re using the right format. You can select the file in canva but if you don’t have the knowledge regarding the correct file format, you can end up with a less than effective result.  For example, printing a flyer without properly adjusting the file for CMYK printing can produce not so great colour results.  Incorrectly configuring the margins on an image for print could cause issues with sizing, stretching or chop off areas of graphics or text.  

It sounds like a small issue and is one that could be solved with a bit of research and education, but why risk it? A graphic designer will always ensure your poster, logo or flyer is saved in the file format most suited for its intended purpose. 

The positives of Canva 

We appreciate that we’re sounding very anti-Canva. But that’s not the picture we want to paint.  As designers we want the absolute best for your business. Your brand identity from logo to colour, collateral to strategy should always be managed by a designer. However, we do understand that once this is in place, using brand guidelines, a business should have the freedom to be able to create a quick graphic. We all know how fast social media, for example, can move so if you need a graphic in minutes, then using a free design tool such as Canva to do this is a simple and effective solution. Used in conjunction with professionally designed graphic assets, it will keep costs low and brand recognition high.  

Ultimately, Canva does have a place within brand identity and graphic design, and used in the right manner alongside a great design team, will help your business on its road to success.