30 Sep Why custom design trumps Canva every time
Free design creation sites like Crello, Visme and Canva have made it easy for just about anybody to create beautiful designs for free or at minimal cost. You may ask yourself why you need to hire a graphic designer if you can simply use these free options.
While free resources are easy to use and accessible to all, they have limitations that could hinder you and your brand. Let’s look at the most popular of free online design programmes, Canva, and why you may be better off using a professional graphic designer for the job.
Your design will lack identity
Millions of people across the world make use of Canva’s template-based designs, which means that your target audience has likely been exposed to many similar, if not identical, designs.
People may be so used to seeing these types of designs that they will struggle to differentiate your brand from others. Your content could start to blur together, or worse, your audience may skip past your content due to its familiarity. Your brand isn’t going to establish a unique identity and brand if its content looks like everything else on the internet.
File formats are limited
When downloading your Canva design, you have a limited range of option of formats and choices, and these are even more restricted if you are using the free version. Downloadable formats include only PNG, PDF, RGB and JPEG.
Canva designs can’t be fully integrated into any other design software
Limited file formats mean your creations can’t be integrated into other software and repurposed.
With industry standard design software such as Adobe, a design you’ve created in one programme can be imported into another programme and remain editable.
If you can integrate the design you made in one programme into other programmes, and have it remain editable, you save time and have more options in terms of how to use your design.
If, for instance, you would like to animate your creation, you will need to recreate your design from scratch with a different programme which can then be brought into animation software.
Canva is not vector based
If something is vector based it means it can be scaled without quality loss unlike raster-based images, which lose quality as it scales up. If you create a design in Canva, download it as a PNG to use in another programme, it will start to pixelate when you try to enlarge the image or design. While you could download it as a high-quality PDF, this limits how it can be integrated into other programmes and repurposed for other uses, as explained in the point above. This is especially important when it comes to illustrations and logos. Your business logo should always be designed as a vector file to optimise its compatibility and usefulness.
Canva designs are not printer friendly
Canva makes use of RGB colour space which essentially means it is optimised for digital screens and not for print. Programmes such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign allow you to choose between RGB or CMYK, which is the colour space optimised for print.
If your document is set to RGB and not CMYK before printing, the beautiful colour palette that you spent ages deciding on, will not look the same as it does on screen. The printed document or image will appear dull and muted. This is especially problematic if you have created pamphlets or business cards which were created specifically to be printed.
Logos created in Canva aren’t necessarily exclusive or able to be trademarked
If you make use of any premade elements and templates such as icons and images in Canva,you can’t trademark your logo. Only if you make use of fonts, shapes, lines and your own uploaded graphics, can you trademark it. However, with limited customizable features in Canva, your logo may come out looking bland and unexciting. So, if you are limited to using simple shapes and lines, you are much better off asking a professional to design a custom logo for you.
Canva doesn’t have rulers and guides that help you to align objects
Aligning your image, logo or other design elements to a specific measured point on your canvas is near impossible since you do not have a measurement ruler or guide that allows for pixel perfect alignment. This can be incredibly frustrating and lead to your designs looking a bit off and messy to the eye.
Should I use Canva or hire a graphic designer?
If you don’t have the budget or the expertise yourself to design on specialist design software, Canva may be a good option, and it can work for simple projects. But, inevitably as the need for content, printable material and so on grows, the limitations of Canva will hold you back. A professional designer will allow you to take your brand, business or project to the next level.
There are ways to deal with a low budget. Hire someone on a per-project basis or, at least, get a professional graphic designer to create your brand’s corporate identity. A corporate identity is a look and feel specific to your brand that you should use across any and all media to portray a consistent image and to foster brand recognition. This generally includes a specific font, colour pallette, logo, design elements and specific rules and guides for using them in online and printed material.
Once you have a corporate identity, you could use this in combination with Canva to create content that is slightly more customised. With a paid Canva account you can upload these elements, organise them in a useful way and share it with various team members. But if you are paying for Canva anyways, you might as well pay a designer.
Keep in mind that there are certain projects that simply can’t be tackled by a non-designer or will be a real headache to try and complete in Canva. If you need multipage documents and editorial designs, Canva doesn’t offer the features for the efficient and polished look you would want.
If you want your brand to stand out and get noticed you will need someone who is experienced and creative to take your ideas, concepts and goals and create something that stands out and achieves its purpose. There is no free, easy process to achieve it, even if Canva wants you to believe that there is. Ask us instead!