Canva Pro is one of the few tools I can’t live without in my business. This easy-to-use design tool comes in handy for creating Pinterest pins, Facebook ads, Instagram stories, and a multitude of other promotional materials for my business.
A question that comes up often is whether to use the free version of Canva sufficient or upgrade to Canva Pro. In this Canva Pro review, I’ll talk about the pros, cons, and everything in between to help you decide if upgrading to Canva Pro would be a worthwhile investment for you.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links as explained in my disclosure policy.
What is Canva?
If you’re not familiar with Canva, I would describe it as a less complicated alternative to Adobe Photoshop with a massive collection of templates, stock photos, icons, elements, vectors, and other design features. It’s a drag-and-drop design tool that allows anyone, even those without any design experience, to create professional-quality graphics. From business cards to banners to posters, Canva has thousands of templates to create promotional content for your business. It is used by 15 million people in a range of industries, from business to nonprofits to education.
I’ve been using Canva for the past three years to create visual content for my businesses. I started with the free version and then upgraded to Canva Pro, also known as Canva For Work. Since I was using Canva nearly every day, I thought it made sense to unlock the premium features and make my workflow easier.
What is Canva Pro?
Canva Pro is one of the two premium plans available Canva, the other being Canva Enterprise. It is geared towards solopreneurs and small businesses that want more customization to manage their brands and increase productivity. It comes with more features, such as 400,000 free photos, 60,000 free templates, and a brand kit to save your logos, colors, and fonts. Take a look at this overview of what you can expect inside Canva Pro:
Let’s take a look at how Canva Pro compares to the two other plans available on Canva:
What’s the difference between Free Canva and Canva Pro?
We already know that Canva Pro comes with more features. But let’s take a closer look at the key differences between the free version of Canva and Canva Pro.
Hundreds of thousands of photos – you get access to thousands of free images and pay $1 each for premium images.
8,000 templates – Choose from 8,000 different templates to design social media posts, presentations, letters, and more. The caveat is that some of those templates may be restricted to premium Canva plans. I encountered this several times when I was using the Free Canva. I would click on a template and there would be a watermark that I could only remove by upgrading.
Two folders – You get two folders to store your logos, photos, and other assets within your Canva account.
1 GB storage – You get 1 GB of space to store any images or files you upload to Canva.
Collaboration – You can invite team members to access templates, folders, and other assets within your Canva account. The level of access depends on the role assigned to each member. There are three roles available:
- Owner (you)
60+ million premium stock photos – Access millions of premium stock photos to use in your designs for free.
4+ million icons and elements – Unlock 4+ million illustrations, icons, and elements to use in your designs. Think brush strokes, cartoons, and shapes.
60,000+ templates – Access over 60,000 templates to create 100+ different design types, such as social media posts, presentations, business cards, and more.
Unlimited folders – Create as many folders as you need to manage your photos, designs, and assets within your Canva account.
Priority Support – Get access to customer service
Brand Kit – Organize your all logos, colors, and fonts in one place to easily access them and create designs that are consistent with your brand.
3,000+ Fonts – Get access to 3,000+ fonts and upload your own to your brand kit.
500 premium fonts – Get access to 500 premium fonts
Collaboration – Invite your team members to access, templates, folders, and other assets with different levels of permissions. There are four roles available:
- Owner (You)
- Template Designer
Magic Resize – With one click, you can automatically modify the dimensions of any design.
Transparent Images – Download your design with a transparent background by checking a box. This comes in handy for images like logos.
Animations and Gifs – Enhance the creativity of your designs by adding animations. You can download them as a GIF or MP4 file.
Custom Templates – Design custom templates for your brand and share them with your team.
Content Planner – Plan your designs in advance and automatically publish them to social media using Canva’s built-in publisher.
Like what you’ve seen so far? Click here to try Canva Pro free for 30 days
My experience with Canva Pro
Canva Pro has been an integral part of running my business. Over the last three years, I’ve used this tool to create 1,000+ Pinterest pins, 100+ Instagram stories, 100+ Facebook posts, 50+ Facebook ads, 10+ infographics, three ebooks, and more. I used Canva Pro to make create a presentation for my first paid speaking engagement. I also used Canva Pro to create the logos for both this blog and my travel blog. Initially, I hired graphic designers on Fiverr to make my logos but wasn’t quite satisfied with the end result. So I took things into my own hands and created the logos myself using Canva Pro. This tool is so versatile that you can create virtually any type of design with it.
It’s rare for me to go a week without using Canva for some purpose. The things I like the most about Canva are the user-friendliness, the great variety of designs, the pre-made templates, and the unique icons and elements. Here are some of the designs I’ve made with Canva over the years.
Logos for my blogs
I created a promo for a holiday giveaway that nearly doubled my email list.
Pinnable image for Pinterest
This pin created for a post on my travel blog has been shared 70,000 times on Pinterest.
I created my first online course, a 100+ page ebook called Pinterest Traffic Takeoff, on Canva. I divided each chapter into a separate template and then merged all the downloads when they were completed. Below is one of the promotional banners for the course, which was also created on Canva Pro:
I promoted a joint webinar using an Instagram post template available on Canva Pro.
I used Canva to design the media kit for my travel blog, which I’ve used to land 50+ brand collaborations.
I used Canva to design the covers and contents of a resource library for my email subscribers.
I created this infographic to promote my post, 101 Things To Do in Barcelona. It has been shared 5k+ times on Pinterest.
Canva Pro vs. PicMonkey
Often, people who are considering Canva also look at PicMonkey, another drag-and-drop design tool. I also use PicMonkey mainly to design Pinterest pins so I can give you a comparison. I’ve been using PicMonkey for about two years.
The chart below compares the features of Canva and PicMonkey. It was created by the PicMonkey team so take it with a grain of salt. That said, I would agree that PicMonkey is a more advanced design tool with capabilities that Canva does not have.
Based on my experience using both Canva and PicMonkey, I would say that Canva is more user-friendly. PicMonkey uses layers in its interface, just like Photoshop. It also comes with a number of advanced features that are best suited for those with more design experience – like graphic designers and photographers. You may not need some of PicMonkey’s features, like photo editing, if your goal is to create banners and pins. While I’m also a big fan of PicMonkey, I wouldn’t recommend it to a design novice.
What sets PicMonkey apart from Canva is that it gives you more control over your designs. You can tweak the exact angle of the shadows on your text or remove blemishes from a face. In that way, it allows for more customization than Canva.
With PicMonkey, you have to create each design, like a Facebook ad, individually. If you duplicate the design, it opens as a new template. On the other hand, you can create multiple designs on one Canva template and export them either separately or as one download. There are some differences in functionality between Canva and PicMonkey. I don’t think one is necessarily better than the other. It all comes down to your personal preference and level of design experience.
Pros of Canva Pro
Easy to use
The best thing about Canva is how easy it is to use. The interface is intuitive, and the drag and drop feature makes designing graphics a breeze for people with all levels of design experience. Just click on the design you like and it appears on the editor. From there, you can modify it to your liking, You can create visual content for your business in a matter of minutes.
Canva Pro also makes it easy to organize your designs with folders and manage your work. You can share those folders with your team members by assigning roles to them via email. For instance, when I hired a Pinterest account manager, I shared my folders and designs with her. That way, she could access my existing designs, logos, and everything she needed to create new pins for me.
Canva Pro offers thousands of visually appealing templates for every type of design. There is an extensive list of designs you can create, which makes this tool so versatile. You can also create your own template from scratch by choosing a blank template with the dimensions you need. Don’t see the exact dimensions you’re looking for? You can create a design with custom dimensions.
The great variety of premium photos available on Canva Pro make it a great tool for creating designs like Pinterest pins and Facebook ads. You can access premium photos for virtually any destination, idea, or topic. You simply have to enter the keyword in the search bar provided. Type something specific like ‘feminine desk,’ ‘man on a laptop’ or ’New York City streets’ for best results.
The ability to manage all of your brand’s assets in one place is a feature that makes Canva Pro absolutely worth it. It is definitely my favorite feature of Canva Pro. Before upgrading to Canva Pro, I had to manually enter the HEX code for my brand colors and search for fonts every time I created a new design. Now I can just select my brand colors from the menu or insert my logo from the logos folder. It saves so much time and increases productivity.
Canva Pro offers hundreds of free articles, courses, and tutorials through its Design School. You can learn about topics like designing on Canva, branding your business, and social media market. When I was creating this blog, I read consulted the training from the Design School to help me with branding.
Cons of Canva Pro
The Canva Pro customer service isn’t the most responsive. While I have only had to contact them once or twice, I have found that they are rather slow to respond. Unless you have a specific issue to resolve, it’s easier to search Canva Pro’s help center for common questions and problems. Chances are that the answer to your question is there.
Canva has a mobile app that allows you to create your designs on the go. I’ve tried using this app a few times, and it left a lot to be desired. The drag-and-drop tool just isn’t as easy to use when you’re dragging your finger on a small phone screen. Simple actions like changing fonts or inserting a photo prove to be a challenge. I think the full benefits of Canva Pro are best accessed from a laptop or desktop.
Is Canva Pro Worth It?
After using Canva Pro for three years, I can say with confidence that the investment is worth it. Canva Pro has been an invaluable tool in my business, and I can’t recommend it enough. There are few design tools that offer the benefits that Canva Pro does. If you want to see whether Canva Pro is right for you, sign up for a 30-day free trial to experience the benefits for yourself.
How much is Canva Pro?
There are two pricing options for Canva Pro
- The Canva Pro monthly plan costs $12.95 per team member per month.
- The Canva Pro annual plan costs $9.95 per team member per month. If you choose this plan, you will be billed a one-time payment of $119.40.
I went with the annual plan because it saves about $35 a year. If you know that you want to use Canva Pro for the long-term, the annual plan is a better option.
How to sign up for Canva Pro
- Go to canva.com and click the banner to sign up for a 30-day free trial. You can use Facebook, Google, and email to create your account.
- Log into your account. Now, you can create your first design by choosing the ‘Create a Design’ button on the top right of the page. You can also search for the type of design you want to create in the search bar or choose one of the templates below the search bar.
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