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Canva: how good is it for marketers?

I’ve been using Canva recently on a couple of projects, and I thought it was worth a short review. Canva is an easy way for marketing people to make professional graphics, ideal when the budget, timescale or importance of a job doesn’t warrant using a professional designer. It’s an online app, so everything is saved on an account in the cloud.

I guess the key strength of Canva is how – rather than be a general purpose tool like Illustrator or Photoshop – it targets specific use cases such as presentations, thumbnails and logos. Its simplicity is a major draw, with many of the reviews I’ve looked at noting how quickly they were able to learn and start creating professional-quality designs. It comes with a huge library of templates and design elements, even in the free version. You do get a lot more in the $10 a month version, but it’s easy to begin with the free one and judge if the upgrade is worth it. There’s a mobile app version too if that’s of interest, although I’m not sure what the business use cases for that are.

Perhaps the main accepted drawback of Canva is that while its templates and pre-built elements are great, it lacks the flexibility for creating entirely unique design components from scratch. However, that’s what we use designers for, and it’s an excellent tool if we understand its target uses. I’ve never created anything in Canva that looks less than professional, and indeed, some of the YouTube thumbnails I’ve used it for recently have been better than anything I’ve done with more expensive tools.

If you’ve never used Canva, or it’s been a long time since you last took a look, I’d recommend giving it a try. Here’s a list of things I’ve heard about it being used for, although there are many more:

  • Presentation Slides
  • Invitations and one-off mailings
  • Flyers and Brochures
  • Business Cards
  • Video Thumbnails
  • Website Banners
  • Social Media Graphics
  • Email Marketing Banners
  • Infographics
  • Posters
  • Advert Creatives
  • Logos