© 2022 - aleteo.co
If you want to make money as a blogger or online business owner, design and marketing assets are essential to your success.
The best Graphic Design Software is a solution that can handle your company’s specific needs. You can find which solution is best suited for your industry if you examine different products before you decide which one is the best. For instance, Adobe InDesign CC and Canva are scored at 9.5 and 9.4, respectively, for total quality and performance.
The majority of my web traffic is generated through Pinterest, where I share optimize blog post graphics.
Behind the scenes, I often reference my brand guidelines, send a pricing guide to potential clients, welcome new affiliates with a promotional pack... the list goes on.
And then there are my email subscribers, who opted in to my e-mail list in exchange for a free resource that I designed.
Since I'm a designer, I use Adobe software to create all of my marketing assets. But what if you're a creative online business owner and you're NOT a designer? I have good news for you...
You don’t need to invest in pricey (and complex) design software or hire a graphic designer to get this stuff done. You can do it all yourself using a free web-based design platform called Canva.
|💰 Price🖥 Features✅ Efficiency⚙️ Web & Print Quality||⚡️ Speed📂 Accessibility👍 Best used for...👩🏻💻 Conclusion|
The $0 price tag is by far the biggest pro when it comes to using Canva. However, there is also an option to pay $12.95/month for Canva Pro, which includes access to a few additional features. Since my entire business is built on selling customizable Canva templates, I opted to upgrade to Pro, but you can do all of the important stuff – like create custom graphics from scratch, upload your own images, and build multi-page documents – using the free version.
Photoshop (paired with Lightroom, which is a whole other can of worms) will cost you $9.99/month, but there's one condition: you’re locked into an annual plan. This means you will be charged a hefty cancellation fee – 50% of the remainder of your contract, to be exact – should you choose to cancel the service.
Both InDesign and Illustrator are better options for designing social media graphics, worksheets, and the types of design and marketing assets that are necessary to run an online business (more on this later). But the $20.99/month price tag, combined with a pretty steep learning curve, make them a lot less attractive to solopreneurs.
The verdict: You get a better bang for your buck with Canva.
All of the basic features that you need to create professional-looking visuals are included in both the free and paid versions of Canva. As someone who spends 99% of her work day in Adobe InDesign, I gotta say, the updates that Canva are making to their platform rival professional design software. My guess is, Canva's mission is to replace professional design software for non-professionals, and IMO, they're doing a great job.
There are, however, a few key things you can't do with Canva, including:
Draw custom shapes or textures
Retouch or edit photos in detail
Blend, mask or manage layers
Write text on a path
Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator are all loaded with additional design features – but if you're running a blog or an online business, you wouldn't use 75% of them. Plus, Adobe software tends to overwhelm beginners due to the sheer quantity of buttons and tools available on the screen.
With that said, the team at Canva have designed their platform with a few really unique features that don't exist, and can't really be replicated by Adobe software. More on that next...
The verdict: Adobe has a lot of features, whereas Canva keeps it simple.
There are a few things that make Canva really efficient for solopreneurs, specifically in how you're able to access your designs, photos, fonts and other brand assets. Since the entire Canva platform is web-based, everything you need to create your designs is contained remotely on your Canva account, rather than locally on your computer.
This means it's super easy to reference or repurpose an old design, drag and drop a photo into a placeholder frame, or reference a color swatch or font setting to keep your brand looking consistent. Upgrading to Canva Pro gives you even more bandwidth with additional folders, and the ability to save unlimited brand colors, custom fonts and logos in the Brand Kit.
Like Canva, you can save and reference your brand elements across Adobe software with the Library feature. Unlike Canva, Adobe doesn't offer in-app file management. Built-in font selections are included with purchase of their entire software suite (but they're not copyright-free), and there are no drag-and-drop features.
Generally speaking, efficiency within InDesign or Illustrator is determined by how comfortable you are working with the software – there are few, if any, shortcuts.
Batching social media graphics, working with large amounts of text, or creating anything with multiple pages is going to take forever in Photoshop because you can only work with one canvas. If you care at all about efficiency and you need to create graphics, worksheets or documents of any kind, don't use it.
The verdict: If you want a commitment, try InDesign or Illustrator. If you want a head-start, Canva is the way to go.
The download settings in Canva are simplified, and limited to just the essential file types. This is fine for social media graphics, worksheets, eBooks and presentation decks, but if you're using Canva to design something for print, well... don't.
Canva documents are created and exported in RGB format (RGB represents the colours that are displayed by a screen). When you send a document to print, it gets translated into CMYK format (CYMK represents the colours that are transferred by printer ink on paper). Without the ability to specify the exact CMYK colour code within Canva, the printer is likely to produce a colour that doesn’t quite match your brand standards.
For small projects, this is nothing to worry about – but for professional print projects, like posters, banners, business cards or letterheads, even subtle differences have the potential to produce poor results.
Canva also exports images at 96DPI – just slightly better than web quality, which is 72DPI. Plus, text gets rasterized, even in a PDF, which exports at 300DPI. This means that if you ever need to scale your design up, even just a little bit, it's going to be pixelated. If you've got Canva Pro, you can 'fake it' by increasing the overall dimensions of your design to mimic a better resolution, but this doesn't replace true print quality.
In Photoshop, you have complete control over the quality and colour settings of your design. But since Photoshop is raster-based, you risk losing a lot of quality with text in particular.
Both InDesign and Illustrator are vector-based, which means you can scale the dimensions of your design as much as you want without losing any quality – but beware, if you plan to incorproate photos in your design, they need to be fairly large, high-quaility files.
Note: In Adobe Illustrator, if your project has photos in it, your file size will increase.
The verdict: Canva is ideal for social media graphics and digital resources, but if you're printing anything, don't use it.
Since Canva is a web-based platform, your internet connection will determine how fast or slow you can move within the app. And just like any other website, dozens of pages with images and intricate details will slow it down.
In cases where you're creating an extra large or extra detailed design, I would recommend dissecting your design and combining all of the pieces together post-export with a tool like pdfmerge.com.
Since Photoshop is located on your computer, there's no need to be concerned about the speed of your internet. However it's not very efficient (see above).
InDesign was built for multi-page documents and long-form text (like books and magazines), so creating workbooks or slide decks with this software is a breeze. Social media graphics are pretty simple, too.
Embedding photos into your projects might slow you down, and managing long-form text, ultra-detailed designs and more than a dozen or so pages (like a workbook or eBook) can be tricky.
The verdict: With a good internet connection, Canva does just fine.
One of the best things about Canva is that since it's web-based, you can access your designs from any device, as long as you have an internet connection. There's even a mobile app, so if you're on a budget or your laptop crashes, you can still get things done with your phone or a tablet on-the-go.
This does, however, mean that you can't download or save working files to your computer – which is why saving a backup copy of your most important design assets it so important.
With Adobe, storing your designs in the cloud makes it super simple to transition between devices. The downside? Since Adobe software must be installed on a computer, you can't access your work from another device unless it has the same version of the software installed, which may require paying for an additional license.
There is also a Lightroom app, so you can do photo retouching on the go.
Same as Photoshop, but without the app.
The verdict: Both are super accessible, but Canva even more so on mobile.
Social media graphics, worksheets, eBooks, and generally anything that's intended for web use only.
Photo editing and drawing.
Social media graphics, worksheets, eBooks, print projects like brochures and posters, and especially long-form, text-heavy projects like manuscripts.
Social media graphics or anything with minimal text, drawing and illustration, custom shapes and icons.
Assuming you'll be creating only graphics and freebies, and that you have no interest in becoming a professional graphic designer, I would highly recommend starting with Canva.
You might be wondering... Why would a professional designer recommend Canva over Photoshop? That's a great question! Here's why:
It's just as easy, if not easier, to learn Canva as it is to learn Photoshop from scratch.
You can do everything you need to do in the free version of Canva, and even if you do choose to upgrade, you're not locked into a year-long contract. Full disclosure: I myself have suffered the consequences of cancelling a contract with Adobe, so I may be holding just a little bit of a grudge.
Some of my favourite features in Canva, like the colour palette and alignment tools, happen to function very similarly to Adobe software.
While it's frustrating to be limited to specific image frames in order to utilize the drag and drop feature, the very existence of this feature speaks volumes as to what Canva is all about: empowering the world to design.
Oh, and one last thing... Did you know that Photoshop was not created for, and professionally speaking shouldn't really be used for, creating graphics and printables? People love to 'make it work' with Photoshop because it is the most readily available and least expensive Adobe software, but it was developed for drawing and editing pixel-based images – that's it. So, when designers give their clients the side-eye for using Canva (ahem... guilty), it’s important to remember that the next best alternative still isn't quote-on-quote professionally acceptable.
If you're still anti-Canva, I would recommend that you trial Abobe Illustrator or InDesign instead of Photoshop. They're a couple bucks pricier, but for the same learning curve, you'll get much better results.