Designing sophisticated marketing graphics like video or photo ads can require complicated tools like Adobe Photoshop and a wealth of expertise.
But, Canva offers entrepreneurs and business owners a new, easier, cheaper way to make all the content they need.
Canva is an online media creation and publishing platform aiming to provide users with the easiest possible way to create a range of different digital media.
Canva is long past the startup stage; the company now employs over 600 staff and has offices in Sydney, Australia, Manilla Philippines and Beijing, China. Since starting in 2012, the company has helped users generate over 1Bn designs, and their services are accessible in 190 countries worldwide.
Canva differs from other media creation platforms like InVideo and Promo because it offers a massive range of different media, from leaflets and posters to Instagram stories and YouTube adverts.
Suppose you're a freelancer or a small business owner looking to boost your media presence with some engaging, great looking content without forking out for several freelancers.
If that’s the case, Canva could be right for you.
Canva has built a world-class platform helping people unskilled in graphics design to create all the media content they need for their businesses. The whole platform uses a drag and drop style editor, which we cover in detail below.
Canva is similar to many other media creation companies in that it offers a vast array of templates for users to choose from and then edit to create their media.
The platform also has various paid subscriptions available, each with different features available and a free option for new users to explore the app and try out multiple editors. The company also has an opportunity for schools and nonprofits to use the Canva pro version for free.
*We built this in Canva and it took us about 5 minutes.
You can access Canva through your web browser, the mobile app or a desktop app that works on Windows or Mac operating systems. It's worth noting that you can't edit offline no matter how you access the Canva platform, as the autosave feature can't link to Canva’s cloud-based storage.
To help you get started, Canva has a range of free courses, tutorials and blog posts. These are incredibly helpful, particularly for novice graphic designers and video editors.
Signing up for an account is free and takes no time at all. Once you're signed up, Canva will ask you about what you want to use the platform for, which industry you work in and a few other questions to help tailor their services to benefit you.
After that, you're free to browse through the millions of templates Canva offers, although some of the templates are only available through the paid plans. If you wish to use a paid template while on the free plan, you can buy individual templates for a one-off fee (usually between $1and $5).
Once you're finished creating your media, you can click the download button and share your media to any platform you work on.
To say that Canva lets you create loads of different media types is an understatement. The platform has options for posters, logos, invites, websites, invoices and newsletters, to name a few - the total supported media types is over a hundred.
Canva has one editing suite for all the mediums you can create, although the video editor is slightly different, as it has an integrated video clip library.
Other than that, all the same features like text, logos, images, backgrounds and other graphical media are available no matter what kind of content you are creating.
You start by finding a template that suits your needs. You can click on the 'Templates' tab at the top of the site, which will show you a drop-down menu breaking down all the different categories of templates.
You can choose a template based on what you need the media for, the type of media you want to create, or you can choose based on style alone.
Once you've selected a template, Canva takes you through to the editor. If it's your first time using the editor, the platform helpfully guides you to find the different features like backgrounds and images.
On the left-hand side is a tool menu. The first tab shows you all the templates, so if you change your mind, you don't have to leave the editor.
If you select a different template, your media such as text and images should move to the new template. We found this doesn't happen 100% of the time, and when it does, the text doesn't always end up in the right place but this is a feature that is rarely found on other online editors.
Further down the menu are the photos, video and music tabs. All three tabs have a search bar to help you navigate Canva's vast media library. If you want to upload original media, there's a separate tab called 'Uploads', where you can drag and drop your clips or photos.
The 'Elements' tab has loads of animations, charts, objects and other graphics to help bring your media to life. There is a huge array of animated figures like doctors and nurses, plants, zodiac symbols and other cartoon-style graphics to accompany your media, many of which are animated for videos.
The royalty-free media selection available on Canva is one of the platform’s biggest selling points. Despite the company reserving the best samples for paying customers, there are a plethora of useful resources to make a great looking ad for social media for free.
Canva offers three different payment plans: free, pro and enterprise.
The free plan is probably the most generous free version of any media editor online today. You can use up to 250,000 templates for over one hundred different media types, you get 5GB of cloud storage and hundreds of thousands of stock video clips, images and graphics.
You’re also able to use the collaborate feature on the free plan, which lets you and a few other people edit the media together in real-time.
While the free plan is a great way to try out the platform without putting any money down, you miss some pretty vital commercial features like custom templates preloaded with your logo, fonts and colour scheme. You also can't publish directly to social media using the free plan or access the premium templates for free.
The Pro plan is Canva's first paid plan, and it features everything on the free plan with loads of extras that anyone creating more than a modest amount of media will need.
On the Pro plan, you get more than 420,000 templates (Canva add more every day), a selection of 75 million stock photos, videos, music clips and graphics and over 100GB of cloud storage for your creations.
You can also create a brand kit on the Pro plan, where you store your brand's logo, fonts, colours, and digital media. You can easily share any of it with anyone you want, like employees and business partners. Creating a brand kit for your business ensures every bit of marketing will be perfectly on-brand.
If paid yearly, the pro plan costs £8.33 per month for one person and £4.99 per month for extra team members. If paid monthly, the pro plan costs £11.99 for one person and £5.99 per month for additional team members.
The Enterprise plan has everything the Pro and Free plans have, with extra features to scale up your digital marketing and content production or manage multiple brand's marketing media all from one app.
This plan is primarily for businesses like design agencies or companies requiring daily visual media for their websites or social media accounts.
You can also build workflows into your Enterprise Canva account that let you control which team members can edit certain elements of your templates and media.
The enterprise plan also comes with unlimited storage.
The Canva Pro plan is available free for anyone working in education or for a nonprofit (you have to apply, but it doesn't take long for Canva to accept the application), so teachers and charity workers can make educational or promotional media like posters and videos for free. Here a the Business Tech Service we are a big fan of this so well done Canva!
Overall, Canva is a great web-based editor that would benefit any small to medium-sized business looking to create aesthetic, engaging media to post on their website and social media channels.
The editor is incredibly easy to use. The templates are attractive and professional-looking, and the vast library of royalty-free media makes Canva one of the easiest, cheapest ways to bring more content to your website and social media channels for a small outlay.
Have a go yourself, try Canva for free now