Graphic designers often learn their craft on tools such as Adobe Photoshop and GIMP. Schools focus on these software options as standard in the industry. However, there are some new tools available that may be ahead of the curve when it comes to implementing AI and offering a wide range of options in one location, such as Canva Pro.
Most designers use multiple tools when creating a new project. For example, they might use Photoshop to edit images they snapped for the client and then create an ad with something like Canva Pro. Although we love the versatility of this tool, it is just another one to add to your designer toolbox.
In December of 2022, Canva announced its AI assistant, which does everything from making suggestions on styles and graphics to fixing issues within photographs. The seamless integration of AI into the tool makes it stand out in the industry.
Whether you’re already using Canva Pro or you want to give it try, we’ll share our insights into what their is to love about the online software and how you can get the most out of it.
What Do You Gain With a Canva Pro Account?
If you’ve never tried Canva, you can sign up for a free account and get a 30-day free trial of the Pro upgrade before committing to a plan. If you do sign up for a single-user premium account, it only runs $12 per month. If you work with a team, you’ll pay $300 per year for up to five people.
If you’re paying for stock images, you may be able to stop those costs and use only the ones provided within Canva. One thing that stands out about Canva over some other stock sites is how they’re constantly changing what they offer and they’ll make similar suggestions that make sense for your search.
Did you snap a photo and someone photobombed your amazing shot? Use the background remover to isolate your subject. You can also tap into the Magic Eraser and take out just one element from an image.
Magic Edit is an interesting concept you’ll appreciate that’s built right into the photo editor. Although the technology is still in development, you can change a person’s hair color, add an element that isn’t there and many other tasks. As with all AI-generated or AI-assisted art, you will need to work on your prompts until you perfect your skills.
Here is an example of an AI tweak in action:
Start with the image of a building with a green door. Decide the door needs to be a different color so go to Edit Photo and then Magic Edit.
Brush over the area you want to edit. It doesn’t have to be perfect. As you can see, we had some areas where the brush went past the door frame.
Give Canva the command to change the door color and accept the result. Gorgeous red door!
One negative is that you are limited to the number of AI edits per day, even with the pro account. We’d like to see this shift to an unlimited model as it’s easy to use up your allotment as you play around with different concepts or try to perfect the look.
When you upgrade to Canva Pro you get the option of creating or editing premium video templates. Use some of their stock footage and add in photos or snippets of your own clips to make it unique.
You can also record directly from Canva should you wish to create a presentation.
Social Media Posts
Pro gives you the ability to schedule posts to sites such as Facebook and Instagram without having to save, exit and take additional steps. This feature alone saves you enough time to more than pay for the $12 per month fee.
One of the things to look for in a graphic design tool is the ability to share your work with others. With Canva, you can share an image, give a helper the ability to work on your design or add it to a group project. You can make your design public to seek feedback or keep it private to protect your best ideas.
Yet another time saver involves downloading files with a transparent background. The feature is particularly useful for things such as logos, where your client might wish to place them on a colored background.
Have you ever created a design for a client and then they wanted it in a different size? Resizing is simple in Canva Pro. You can create multiple versions of the same image. Make a cover for Facebook and then resize it for Instagram, TikTok and other social media without having to completely rework elements. Resizing is another huge time saver that makes this software pay for itself.
Gain Cloud Storage
Are you paying for storage for your designs? Canva Pro also comes with one tetrabyte of storage. You can upload images, finished designs and more. If you start to run out of space, you can always delete old files but it’s unlikely you will with ample room.
Create a Brand Kit
Canva allows you to create a brand kit that stores logos, color palette and style guide things such as fonts. You can create up to 100 of these, allowing you enough leeway to make kits for all your clients.
You’re likely starting to see why we at Designerly love Canva Pro as a graphic design tool. For a low rate, it is a powerful tool and always accessible no matter where you’re working.
Tips to Get the Most Out of Canva Pro
Spend some time poking around the site and seeing what Canva Pro has to offer. Your 30-day free trial is a great opportunity to see how well this tool might work for your needs and to make a decision before signing up.
We get that there are a lot of tools, subscriptions and fees when you’re working in graphic design. If you’re a freelancer, you may have more options than you can keep up with. The only way to know what will and won’t work is trying things out and selecting the programs that give you the help you need to do your best work.
If you do decide to try out this tool, we have a few ideas for how to get the most out of your 30 days and beyond.
1. Use the Templates
Canva Pro and Canva Free come with a ton of templates you can use to start a project. They’re professionally designed and can serve as a starting point or simply change the text and use them as is.
For example, if you design a Facebook ad, you might choose one of the templates because you like the layout. You replace the image with your own that you upload or a stock image available under “Elements.” You can then swap out colors, typography and even add in additional elements.
2. Organize With Folders
Under “Projects,” you can create folders. You can use this area to quickly find things later. So, you might choose to have a folder named “Clients” and within that folder, another folder for each of your customers.
There are many different ways you can organize your folders. Choose the method that makes it easy for you to find things later, but get in the habit of renaming your projects and saving them to the appropriate folder.
3. Learn the Icons
You don’t always have to go to “File” and search for where to download or save things. You can also click on the “Share” icon and then select download. Pay attention to the specifications, such as transparent background or file type. For complex images with layers, a PNG file might be best, even if you convert it later. Select the one that works best for you. You can also adjust the resolution based on where you’ll place the finished image.
4. Use Design Assistant
If you get stuck on a design, use the small question mark in the lower right corner of your Canva dashboard to ask a question. The design assistant can suggest colors or find resources on how to complete various tasks.
Canva Pro for Designers and Non-Designers
Canva Pro is so easy to use that even those without design experience can put together something that looks professional. Because of the templates and the stock photos being right at your fingertips, you’ll complete work in a fraction of the t