Any business function, especially digital marketing, is heavily reliant on graphic design.
Presentations, brochures, and social media graphics, all need to be designed fast and look good. But like most business owners, you may not be trained in design concepts and tools or afford to hire a designer.
Enter Canva, a graphic design platform with both free and paid options.
This is my honest review of the Canva Pro pricing to answer the question:
Is Canva Pro worth it for small businesses and solopreneurs with limited budgets?
Or is the free version enough?
What is Canva?
Canva is an online tool that allows you to create almost any kind of graphic design in minutes, with its simple user interface, drag-and-drop builder, and libraries of templates, fonts, and photos.
The basic features that are included in both free and paid versions of Canva are:
- Drag-and-drop editor
- Prebuilt templates for different design needs
- Image libraries: stock photos, graphic elements, backgrounds
- Audio and video libraries
- Integration with apps like Google Drive, Google Photos, Dropbox, Google Maps, Pexels, Pixabay, Hubspot, and many more
If you are familiar with the details of the free version, skip to Canva Pro Features. To decide if the Canva Pro pricing is worth it, there are 3 aspects that can be considered:
- Benefits of Canva Pro vs. Canva free
- How Canva Pro solves your small business challenges
- Canva Pro alternatives
How does Canva work? What can you do with Canva?
You can use Canva free or Canva Pro to create almost all kinds of graphic design, for business use (presentations, business cards, invoices, letterheads), or marketing (social media posts, ebooks, workbooks, ads).
These are the most basic elements that you can create, but there are also more. There are prebuilt templates for all kinds of designs.
You can use Canva to create any design for all your small business marketing needs.
Here is a snapshot of some of the designs that can be created.
How to use Canva?
You can create a design in Canva in two ways:
- Customize a template
- Start from scratch
1. Customize a template
- Create an account on Canva by signing up for a 30-day free trial.
- Choose a template from the template section or search for one in the search bar.
- Edit the colors, fonts, and text as you want.
2. Start from scratch
- Create an account on Canva by signing up for a 30-day free trial.
- Click on Create a Design.
- Choose the size of your image.
- Drag and drop elements from the left-hand panel to create your graphic. You can choose photos, illustrations, stickers, backgrounds, text, audio, and videos.
Download the image as a PNG or JPEG file. Check out this video tutorial if you have not used Canva before and want quick training on how to work with this software.
What is Canva Pro?
Canva Pro is the premium version of Canva which includes all of the features of the free version, plus more advanced features and tools.
With Canva Pro, you can get access to exclusive templates, use premium fonts and photos, and collaborate with team members.
You can create cohesive branding across all of your marketing materials, schedule your social media content, and create animations.
If you’re a business owner who needs to create high-quality visuals on a regular basis, Canva Pro is a great option.
Canva Pro was earlier called Canva for Work.
What is Canva for Teams?
Canva for Teams is Canva Pro access for more than one team member and is designed for businesses that need to collaborate on design projects.
It includes all the features of Canva Pro, plus additional features like branded templates and team management so multiple users can easily work on the same project. It has workflows and project management functions already integrated within the software, so working with others on your designs is smooth and efficient.
When you invite team members to your Canva Pro account, and the person accepts your invite, Canva Pro converts to Canva for Teams, which includes access for up to 5 team members.
Canva Free vs Pro – What are the Canva Pro Features?
Canva Pro offers tons of intuitive features that make graphic designing available for everyone, irrespective of their skill level or experience.
Check out all the Canva Pro features in detail here, or see below descriptions of the features that make Canva Pro particularly useful, and different from Canva free.
1. Canva Pro Premium Content
Undoubtedly, one of the best parts about Canva Pro is its extensive content library with access to premium templates, and millions of photos, videos, audio, graphics, and elements.
So for example, using Canva Pro means that you can get premium media for free, without using an additional premium stock media service.
Canva free offers 250K free pre-existing templates to choose from, whereas the Canva Pro pricing includes more than double that, at 610K.
Canva free offers 1+ million photos, audio, videos, and graphics that you can use in your designs. Canva Pro offers 100+ million.
Brand Kit Pro
Whichever template you decide to base your design on, you will have to customize the colors and fonts as per your brand’s look and feel.
The Canva Brand Kit Pro allows you to save your brand kit with all the brand attributes that you created from your brand story. You’ll be able to access and apply these easily every time you create a new design.
In the free version, you can only save one brand color palette with 3 colors. In Canva Pro, you can save unlimited palettes with unlimited colors.
You can also save and use your brand fonts, which you can’t do in the free version.
Plus, you can upload logos with a transparent background.
One-click magic resizing
In Canva free, to create different graphics for different needs (even for different social media posts), you would have to create two designs one by one by copying and pasting.
With Canva Pro’s Magic Resizing feature, you just do it with one click. Save time and create content for multiple platforms with minimum effort.
You can also do magic resizing for custom dimensions.
Sometimes you need just a part of an image and want the rest of it to disappear. For e.g., if you want to get a portrait style of a person and remove the background clutter.
Canva Pro’s Background Removes makes that really simple. You can remove backgrounds both from Canva library images and the ones that you upload.
It is especially handy for downloading logos with and without backgrounds.
This is perhaps one of the best tools that Canva Pro offers. The Content Planner will allow you to schedule your content through the graphics you create on Canva, to 8 different platforms.
You can automate your social media marketing so you can spend your valuable time actually running your business.
Plus, you save on the hassle and cost of having a dedicated tool for scheduling your social media. The social media platforms included are:
Canva Pro offers unlimited folders and subfolders to save and organize your designs.
You get only 2 free folders in Canva free, and your designs are saved in descending order of date. So to find an old design, you have to hunt through your folders and your dashboard.
If you have been sharing your business on social media, you would already have lots of visual media already created. Whether you are an organized person or not, I bet you would hate having to scroll through all of those to find the one you want.
I used to go nuts, trying to organize and then later find my designs in my Canva account.
I am so glad I moved to Canva Pro. Having the option to create unlimited folders in Canva Pro and save your designs in an organized way makes work really efficient.
With Canva Pro, you can create professional-looking videos quickly and easily. And yes, you can use pre-existing templates to design them as well, so you don’t have to start from scratch, and you don’t need any video editing experience as well.
Just select a template, add your content, and export your video. It’s that simple. Plus, with Canva Pro, you get access to millions of royalty-free images, videos, and audio files.
So you can really spice up your videos and make them stand out. You can also add your own branding, text, and logo to make your videos match your brand story, without spending a fortune.
You may want to animate some of your static images, especially for visually-heavy social media like Instagram and Pinterest.
You can use the animated feature of Canva Pro to create these animated images and GIFs.
Publish as a website
Let me start with a caveat by saying that I am not saying you can create a full-scale brand website with Canva. It is not there yet.
But you can create a few pages of designs, and publish that as a quick website. See the video below to see how.
If you are a small business owner with a co-founder or a small team, or even if you have friends/ family helping you with graphic design, the Canva Team templates feature may be helpful for you.
In Canva free, you can create teams and collaborate on projects in real-time, designing and sharing comments. But only in Canva for Teams (Canva Pro for 2+ people), not only are the team functions more enhanced, but you can also design custom templates for your brand and share them with your team.
200x more storage
Canva free has only 5Gb cloud storage. If you are using Canva to create almost all of your designs (which you obviously should), then 5Gb storage won’t last long. The Canva Pro pricing includes 1TB of cloud storage.
Earlier it was 100GB, and now for the same price, Canva Pro offers 10X more storage!
There are some font options available in Canva for free, but they are the regular ones. The Canva Pro pricing offers 3000 fonts, and also lets you upload your own brand font.
Being able to upload a font is especially helpful for brand consistency if you have a certain font you use for your brand and it’s not already available on Canva.
Canva free vs Canva Pro can then be summed up in the following graphic.
Canva Pro pricing – How much is Canva Pro?
Now that we have seen the differences between Canva free and Pro, it’s time to dive into the Canva Pro pricing and evaluate it.
The Canva Pro pricing comes in different tiers:
1. Canva Pro cost
A yearly plan with Canva Pro costs $119.99, which would be $9.99 a month. A monthly plan is slightly higher, at $12.99/ month.
The advantage of a monthly subscription, of course, is that you can cancel at any time.
2. Canva for Teams cost
The Canva for Teams pricing starts at $149.90 annually, or $12.49 per month if you sign up for an annual payment. It provides access to a maximum of 5 team members.
If you pay monthly, the price is $14.99 per month.
If you have a bigger business and need access for more than 5 team members, you pay additional charges depending on the number of team members.
3. Canva Pro free
This is a special option in the Canva Pro pricing, where you can get Canva Pro for free, forever.
Only nonprofit organizations and students can get Canva Pro for free.
Important Note on Canva Pro Pricing
Earlier, Canva had an Enterprise plan which started at $30 per month and gave access to a minimum of 25 people. It was not so relevant for small businesses.
The Canva Pro pricing was only applicable for a maximum of 5 team members who needed to use the design platform. As a small business, that is usually enough. If you needed to provide access to more than 5 team members, then the Canva Pro pricing also changed.
In mid-2022, given the prevalence of more remote teams, Canva made some changes.
- The Canva Enterprise plan was scrapped
- Canva Pro became available only for solo users
- Canva for Teams was launched for businesses with 2+ people.
Is Canva Pro worth it? Pros and cons of Canva Pro.
Canva Pro is worth it if you are a small business owner, freelancer, blogger, marketeer, or anyone who needs to create a lot of unique, high-quality designs, graphics, videos, and animations, for work, posting on social media, or personal projects.
However, if you are a professional designer or someone who relies on design tools for your livelihood, then Canva Pro may be a bit limited in comparison to more advanced tools such as those offered by Adobe.
Here’s a detailed look at the benefits of Canva Pro to help you decide if it’s right for you.
Pros of Canva Pro
1. Canva Pro offers high benefit-cost-ratio
For just $10 per month, you get access to millions of high-quality photos, illustrations, and templates.
2. Maintain brand consistency
You can upload your own brand kit, and create an unlimited number of designs. You can quickly resize designs, remove image backgrounds, and create animations and videos.
3. Save money and time
The ability to save designs as templates, create custom fonts, and access over 1 million high-quality images, have helped me save a lot of time and energy when creating designs.
Cons of Canva Pro
1. Image keyword search is not very intuitive
Looking for the perfect image for your design may need a bit of trial and error as the keyword search is not very optimized. You have to try different versions of the keyword to get the image you want.
2. Photo editing is limited
As mentioned earlier, Canva is not an image editing software like Photoshop. So while you can add some basic filters, crop, and resize images, you can’t do heavy-duty image editing in Canva.
But on the flip side, the Canva photo library is huge, so you have more chances of finding the perfect image which doesn’t need much work.
3. Canva Pro cannot be used offline
If you’re someone who likes to be able to work offline, then the answer is probably no.
Canva Pro doesn’t have an offline mode, so you’ll need to be connected to the internet in order to use it.
It’s a great tool for creating social media images, flyers, and even business cards. And since it’s online, you can access your designs from any computer or mobile device.
Is Canva Pro worth it for small businesses?
Canva Pro is definitely worth it for small businesses that need to create high-quality professional designs and marketing materials quickly, at a low cost, and almost zero design skills. With Canva Pro you can get millions of templates and premium media files to create exclusive images, videos, and animations often at the click of a button, and even post directly to social media platforms.
Let’s look at this in more detail.
If you need to be conservative about your business expenses, you might wonder if Canva Pro is a tool you really need.
That’s why to decide if the pricing is worth it, it’s relevant to look at the ways that Canva Pro can help your branding and marketing needs.
Some of the biggest challenges of small business owners that Canva addresses are:
- Limited budget (always, right!)
- Limited skills (not everyone has design skills!)
- Limited time (there is never enough!)
1. Canva Pro helps you create unlimited designs with limited budgets
Designing premium-looking, branded graphics, especially social media posts, would normally require the following resources:
1. An offline designing software like Adobe.
Price/ month: $21 (for individuals, for only one software. For businesses or multiple apps, the price is much higher). Or an online design software (more on this below in Canva Pro alternatives), which would also be a minimum of $8-$9/ month, to get similar features as Canva.
2. A library of premium images from a photo library like Shutterstock.
Price/ month: $29 (10 images only)
Of course, it’s possible to use free images from websites like pexels.com or unsplash.com. But millions of other businesses are also using the same free images, so would be difficult to differentiate your brand and positioning.
3. A social media scheduler like Buffer or Hootsuite.
Price/ month: $15
Total cost per month: $43 – $55.
Canva Pro is a one-stop solution for all the above needs. Canva Pro price per month is $9.95, and Canva for Teams is $12.49 per month.
It is safe to say that the Canva Pro pricing is quite affordable if you want to use Canva for your business.
2. Canva Pro can be used by anyone, even with limited skills
Even if you do have the software installed to create your own designs, you may not have the right skills or knowledge to actually do them yourself.
And if you have to hire an external designer to create your graphics as you are not familiar with designing software, then the cost is much higher, of course.
With Canva Pro, you don’t need any special skills. It doesn’t matter whether you can use other graphic designing tools or not.
You just open Canva Pro, and the onboard instructions will help you get through the basics. Plus, there are tons of tutorial videos online that’ll help you if you get stuck.
Because of Canva’s very simple interface, huge template library (social media templates being particularly helpful), and easy drag-and-drop builder, you can easily do the designs yourself.
Sometimes all you have to do is change the colors and fonts in a prebuilt template and your design is ready in a few minutes.
Very helpful when you have to create multiple social media posts. So economically, it makes a lot of sense to get Canva Pro. But only if you need to design lots of graphics, quickly and easily.
Not sure how it actually works?
3. Canva Pro helps you create designs even when you have limited time
While with Canva Pro you will have to shell out that extra $10/ month, in the end, you save so much time on creating your graphics, that it’s definitely worth it.
Even if you have a friend/ partner who is helping you to design the graphics, Canva Pro can help. I have a design background myself, I have Photoshop & Illustrator installed on my PC, and yet most of the designs on my website and social media are designed on Canva.
This is how Canva Pro saves me a HUGE amount of time:
1. Quick resizing of images
In Canva free, I would want to resize an image while working on it, but I couldn’t. I had to create a fresh design from start.
THAT was frustrating. I also had to look up the latest dimensions for each type of social media post first, and then create separate designs, one by one. I had to set aside at least a few days a month, for creating social media graphics!! Waste of my precious time.
Canva Pro’s Magic Resize option offers you the latest dimensions specifically for different social media platforms.
For example, you’ll find sizes labeled as ‘Facebook Post’, ‘Instagram Post’, ‘Facebook Cover Photo’. You can just choose the one you want, and it will instantly resize your design.
2. Organizational efficiency
Because I create so many images on Canva, having 3 folders was a bit limiting as my past designs would get lost somewhere and I would have to hunt for them. Now all my designs are neatly organized, and I can find any in a jiffy. Just like on my PC.
3. Social media posting
With the content planner, it is so handy to create my social media graphics and post them directly from the software! I don’t have to spend time downloading them on my laptop and then uploading them again on Hootsuite.
Who should use Canva?
The library of templates, photos, and fonts included in the Canva Pro pricing, as well as the ease of use, are unmatched by any other tool.Canva Pro is perfect for non-designers who want to create beautiful, branded, graphic designs easily and quickly. Hardly any design skills are required to use Canva, which makes it perfect for diy graphic design. Click To Tweet
You can just choose a template out of 610,000, change the font and colors, and you’re good to go! Here are some examples of people who can use Canva:
- Small businesses
- Academic professionals
Canva could be considered a very elementary tool for skilled designers, so I would recommend they go for more sophisticated design software, like those offered by Adobe.
Canva Pro alternatives
Of course, Canva is not the only design software you can consider. Among the online marketing design tools, the most popular ones are Picmonkey, Crello, Pictochart, and Adobe Spark.
Whereas for offline, Adobe tools like Photoshop and Illustrator are the key alternatives to Canva.
Canva vs Picmonkey
Picmonkey and Canva are both relatively easy to use. But Picmonkey is primarily a photo editing software, whereas Canva is most apt for graphic design. Some other differences are that unlike Picmonkey, Canva has thousands of free templates, and offers a free plan.
Picmonkey is like the online version of Photoshop, with much lesser features than Photoshop, a beginner-friendly interface, and an easier learning curve. It is, however, not as easy to use as Canva.
Canva vs Crello
Crello is also an online graphic design software. But neither does it have close to as many templates as Canva, nor the integrations with multiple third-party apps. Its libraries of photos, fonts, etc., are also much more limited than Canva’s.
Canva vs Piktochart
Like Canva, Piktochart is also an online graphic design tool, but it focuses more on infographics, reports, and presentations. Whereas on Canva you can create more than 50 types of designs. Piktochart’s free plan only gives you 40MB space, only 5 visuals to create.
This tool also does not offer a free trial for the Pro plan, and at $24/ month, is more expensive than Canva.
Canva vs Adobe Spark
Adobe Spark, like Canva, is also an online designing platform, and they share a similar price point ($9.99 compared to Canva’s $9.95). Spark, however, has only 26,000 templates compared to Canva’s 420K, and focuses on social media posts, videos, and web pages.
Canva, as we saw before, covers a huge range of categories for different business needs.
Canva vs Visme
Canva and Visme are both graphic design platforms that make designing all kinds of business, branding, and marketing graphics easy for non-experts.
Canva has better features for social media posting. So if you are looking for a design platform that makes it easy for you to create and share posts, you will find Canva Pro with its content planner more useful.
The Visme design tools are more sophisticated, but it comes at a price point of $25/ per month, which is almost double that of the Canva Pro pricing.
Canva vs Photoshop
Photoshop is one of the best photo editing tools ever created. There are barely any limits to how you can edit an image in Photoshop. Plus it has multiple options of brushes, textures, and effects that can really transform a picture. It is not technically a graphic design tool, though you can create graphics with it.
What differentiates Photoshop mostly from Canva is that Photoshop doesn’t come with pre-existing templates, you really have to be a designer/ artist to use it, it has a very steep learning curve.
Canva vs Illustrator
The biggest difference between Canva and Illustrator is that while Canva is mostly used for flat, image formats (PNG, JPEG) only, Illustrator can also be used for vector formats (icons, shapes, text). Illustrator is an advanced software for creating high-quality, scalable graphics and complex layouts that can also be printed in big sizes.
Like Photoshop, as it is used mainly by those with a moderate design background, it doesn’t provide prebuilt templates, and designs have to be created from scratch on a blank artwork.
How to get Canva Pro for free?
You can get all the features of Canva Pro free for 30 days.
1. Go to canva.com, and create a free account
2. Select the Pro plan, and click ‘Try for free’.
3: Enter your credit card details, and get started with your free Canva Pro account!
Don’t worry. Your card will only be charged after 30 days.
If you don’t think it helps you, then just cancel your trial and account at any time.
If you are a student or nonprofit entity, just enter the relevant details and the Canva Pro pricing won’t be relevant for you. You will get it for free.
Canva Pro for commercial use
As a small business owner, you may have the question: “Can I use Canva images and fonts for commercial use?”
You can use Canva Pro designs on your website and all marketing material. It is included in the Canva Pro pricing.
You can also sell templates that you create on Canva. But just be sure to check out the exact terms and conditions for each type of usage before you publish them.
Does Canva Pro have a lifetime subscription?Canva Pro and Canva for Teams offer annual subscriptions which allow you to save 30% on your payment amount, every year, forever. @canva #smallbusinessdesign Click To Tweet
Besides, you can also get free lifetime access to Canva Free as a regular user, or to Canva Pro if you are in the nonprofit or educational sector.
How to cancel Canva subscription?
You can cancel your Canva subscription at any time.
If you are using Canva free, of course, you don’t pay any fees.
If you have a monthly Canva Pro subscription, you can cancel your Canva subscription before the payment date of the next month. Your subscription will be valid till your next payment date.
If you have an annual subscription, you can of course also cancel your Canva Pro membership at any time before your next annual payment. Your subscription will be valid till your next annual payment date.
Can you get a refund when you cancel your Canva subscription?
The current Canva Pro pricing does not include any refunds on canceling a Canva Pro subscription. Instead, it offers you a free trial of Canva Pro for 30 days, so you can work with the tool and see if you would like to sign up for the added benefits of Canva Pro.
What is the Canva Pro app and how to use it?
Another feature I absolutely love about Canva is that the Canva Pro pricing includes the Canva app for mobiles and a desktop app, both for Mac and Windows.
Canva Pro mobile app
You can indeed create/ edit your designs on the go with Canva! It is available for both Android and iPhone users.
So even if you don’t have your laptop, with the Canva Pro app and the Canva content planner, you can create and schedule your social media posts, for example. All on your phone. That is flexibility, or what!
Canva Pro desktop app
If you have a large monitor or screen, working on the desktop version of Canva Pro can give you more space to work with than the web version.
Once you’re logged in, you’ll see all of the same features that are available on the web version of Canva Pro, including access to your saved designs, templates, and more.
However, Canva is a cloud software. So whether you use your Canva Pro app through a web browser or the desktop app, you still need to be connected to the internet to use your account.
Conclusion – My experience and honest review of whether Canva Pro is worth it
Canva Pro is an amazing design tool that has helped me create stunning designs for my blog and social media platforms.
First of all, I would definitely, emphatically, recommend every small business to use Canva, at least for your social media graphics (we know we always need a ton of them).
Now the question is whether Canva Pro is worth it. Earlier we talked about limited budgets and limited time.
These have definitely proven true for me, especially in saving time. I can use Photoshop and Illustrator easily, but I still prefer using Canva as it’s so much more convenient.
In a nutshell, if you want to occasionally create a few designs then Canva Free will be enough for you.
If you’re a photographer/ artist/ graphic designer, then you know already, Canva is not as powerful as the Adobe Creative suite.
But if you’re a business that needs to create a lot of high-quality designs, quickly, for example, for content promotion, then Canva Pro is definitely worth the investment.
Whether you get Canva Pro for just yourself or Canva for Teams for yourself plus your team members, virtual assistants, and other professionals you work with, Canva Pro would be the perfect way to create and post your small business designs.Pro Tip:
I wouldn’t recommend using Canva to create your logo. Your logo is not just a design, it is the identity of your brand, and should reflect your complete brand story.
For this, I would recommend hiring a graphic designer who can put real thought and professional experience into creating a perfect visual identity for you.
It is a one-time investment, so think about it.
For me, Canva has been a real game-changer. I save so much time on getting so much done, exactly how I want it for my brand! I really wouldn’t know what to do without it anymore.
Yes, I am an affiliate for Canva, but that is only because I adore it so much. If you haven’t done so yet, I really recommend that you give it a try.
Have you tried Canva Pro yet? What has your experience been? Do you think the Canva Pro pricing is worth it?
Did you continue with the paid Canva Pro account or stop after the free trial? Share in the comments below!
But before you go, do just check out all the FAQ related to Canva and if Canva Pro is worth it for small businesses.