Thoughts on Canva?

Hello, I had no specific questions, just a general discussion.

Curious, what are everyone’s thoughts on Canva if you’ve used it. I would imagine some people here might but not sure.

It seems great from what I’ve seen but I haven’t actually used it for anything. It seems like it can be used for personal use but then the legality of it seems so grey. For example, it seems like it can be used for creating a small business logo, or a flyer for social media about a fundraiser that is going to take place and have money donated etc. but then when you read the terms and conditions, etc. it starts to get grey. Which is a huge reason why I stay away from it.

To me, I find there terms of use, content license agreement, etc. all a super grey area and that annoys me because it never seems clear cut.

Like any tool. If you don’t know how to use it you will make a mess.

Any Canva files I’ve received for printing have been a disaster and I send files throughout the world - so every printer I ever used with a Canva made PDF I now reject, because they do not perform well in industrial print settings due to the bad PDF format.

All files are rejected either as the PDF is unprintable and supply a new version not made in Canva - or a reproduction fee.

Either or - I don’t care.

Like anyone that uses Adobe or Affinity software - if you don’t know how to prepare files correctly for digital, print, web, epubs

It’s all the same.

I find Canva is aimed at amateurs - so that’s a right mess there as it is.
DIY graphic design - YGWYPF (you get what you pay for)
WYSWINWYG (what you see is NOT what you get)

GIGO (garbage in garbage out)

In summary - it might be very good
But professionals use Adobe mostly and have no need to venture into a world of Canva or other software.

Some people here use Affinity - which has combined with Canva, have no idea if it’s good or bad.


My grandson is excited about Canva. He is going into the second grade. That pretty much tells me everything I need to know.


The licensing seems pretty straightforward to me. It’s no different really from any other stock website (and if designers actually read the legal language in a stock photo license, they’d never buy another photo online! LOL!)
Here’s a quick overview

I do print output. Can’t say I’ve seen a canva file, or a PDF made from them. Though I have suspected some files being re-cast in Illustrator from canva. Errors that shouldn’t be happening with regards to masks and transparencies.

I wouldn’t say I would never use it. I use whatever outside vendor my clients tell me to use if it’s in the contract to do so. If they’d rather have stuff done thru canva, whatEVer. I’d never use it to create files to print outside of canva’s closed system. If you want their product, use their input interface.


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Canva’s core business is providing online tools to manipulate templates that enable amateurs to make various kinds of graphics that they wouldn’t be able to design on their own.

For example, if a club needs a one-time logo and social media graphics to promote its fundraiser, it can work great — especially if the club doesn’t have the budget or need to hire a designer to build something from scratch.

On the other hand, that logo (if it’s based on a template) can’t be trademarked, meaning others could easily use Canva to create a similar logo. And if that social media graphic needs to be turned into a matching printed brochure, that’s a much messier problem.

When I was managing a creative team, our social media person used Canva to create various graphics. They looked OK, worked well, and were easy for her to make without tying up a designer’s time making a constant stream of social media graphics that only had a shelf life of a day or two.

There’s a place for Canva, but I don’t see it as a viable option for professional designers to use in place of better and more versatile tools, such as Adobe CC or the Affinity suite.


I use Canva to create reels and Meta ads, and it’s pretty fun for that. But I use Creative Suite to create the graphics, lol

And? What’s your point?
Loads of ways to do it.

I’ve had conversations with 3 clients about Canva. They all had Adobe subs with multiple seat licenses. Their complaint was that Adobe was very expensive and difficult to use for novices, and it required too much training time. Canva is free, some templates are free, it doesn’t require software installation, and their employees think it’s easier to use. They all jumped to Canva and dumped Adobe, and have been using whatever free templates they can grab. Of course, these templates don’t fit their established identity, but they don’t care. The exact conversation has been “you charge 10x what we pay the receptionist. It’s cheaper to have her make some things using Canva. Give us templates that she can use over and over again.” Until I do that, they’ll keep using graphics that don’t match their identity, and damage their brand. And I’ve been dragging my heals, for obvious reasons.

The other thing that has come up is that they really really dislike employees and interns doing nothing, or screwing around, or burying their heads in their phone. There isn’t always 40 hours of work for every employee. So Canva is kind of like in school when the teacher would pass out busy work. They can tell employees to make social graphics or flyers. This is why they don’t care about identity and branding. It’s much more important to them to not have idle employees. Enter Canva and its templates.

I’m a solo designer. It’s like being a personal chef. Client emails me a couple times a month and asks me to make some customized meals for them. But now they want something that is more like a food kit service, like Blue Apron. They want my recipe, and for me to supply the ingredients, and for me to pre-assemble, and then give that to them, and then they can quickly customize and finish and reuse in perpetuity.

To that I might say,

And if they don’t like the price of a custom, perpetual-use template “license” then custom and on-brand truly means nothing to them.

Ditch the idle employees and put the wages towards a professional designer.

If they don’t care about their own identity and have too many employees doing nothing they won’t last long

Complaining a service is too expensive when they are selling or providing a service is an oxymoron.

Canva = Crap

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Billion dollar crap.

Obviously a market for it.

Let them at it.

Ive no obligation to accept from potential customers.

There’s a market. I’m not in the cheap end.


Ah, I never new it was a disaster for printing, thats good to know.

Thank you for the link! I came across everything else on there site except for that.

Good info and I agree. I am def an amateur, I asked about Canva because I know some people who use it for social media marketing for businesses. So there whole job is social media posts for businesses and they just go to canva and input the customers info or pictures and post it to there social sites.
Which is great but I also find it odd too that there isn’t some legality behind that, which is what brought the whole question up about Canva anyway. They had mentioned they used canva and said I should use it for the non-profit I do the flyers for once a quarter and I thought about it but I also like the fact that as crappy as my work is, its my own work, I am not taking something someone else created and using it as ‘my own’ like I created it. That is one reason why I don’t want to use it, would prefer to stay away from it.

Really valid and good points!! Especially the identity and damaging the brand.

I just finished reading through Canva’s terms of use and didn’t see anything worrisome about it. The agreement is lengthy, full of attorney jargon, and weighted heavily in Canva’s favor in case a dispute of any kind arises.

However, it’s much the same as using any other software or online service.

You seem to imply there are some sketchy, borderline concerns about the legality of what they’re selling. Maybe I’m misinterpreting what you wrote, but I see no problems along those lines.

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That being said - it’s been a while since I’ve seen a PDF from Canva submitted for print.
I don’t go in those circles anymore.

I got out of dealing with crap clients a long time ago and only deal with companies and clients where we are aligned in values and things like that.

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which is 50% off right now


Always has a discount.

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