Marketing is an essential part of business operation and includes using quality visual elements or graphics to drive optimal results. Although there are tons of tools out there, Canva and Figma are two top design tools available to individuals and small-scale businesses. Both tools are excellent for different kinds of designs, prototyping, team collaboration, and more. Small business owners, content marketers, SEO writers, and anyone who works with graphics will find both tools useful.
This is an indepth comparison of both design tools to help you choose the most suitable for your specific design needs.
Canva is a drag-and-drop graphic design platform with built-in templates to help you create visually appealing content, such as flyers, social media graphics, logos, and presentations. It is the go-to platform for quick and simple design projects.
Besides the various graphic design features Canva offers, it allows you to do much more. You can edit photos, buy domain names, design websites, and collaborate with team members on a project.
Canva’s simple and user-friendly interface makes it a favorite design platform for both graphic design beginners and professionals and small business owners with absolutely zero design experience.
Who is Canva best suited for?
Anyone can use Canva, from graphic designers to small business owners, students, photo editors, etc. It’s an essential tool for getting any graphic or photo editing work done quickly and with minimal effort.
Businesses use Canva for their branding; it helps them build a strong and consistent brand image.
Read more about Canva basics in my post: What is Canva?
Figma is a cloud-based vector editing and prototyping tool widely used by UI/UX (user interface and user experience) designers, product managers, developers, etc. It’s used to create, collaborate, and share digital designs and prototypes for websites, mobile apps, and other digital products and experiences.
Figma offers real-time collaboration, vector editing, cloud access, prototyping, version history, etc. There’s also the FigJam, which is a Figma product that offers a digital collaborative whiteboard for teams to discover, explore, and execute ideas.
Figma has a simple, intuitive interface, making it easy for anyone to create on the platform, no matter their experience level. You can easily access Figma’s pre-made assets (templates) to get ideas for your project or make a few tweaks to get exactly what you want.
Who is Figma best suited for?
Figma best suits UX/UI designers, product managers, developers, design educators, and students. It’s also a valuable tool for small businesses with limited budgets, as it provides awesome design and collaboration features they can leverage for improved productivity.
Canva vs Figma: Comparison Summarized
Canva and Figma are popular design tools that serve different purposes and have distinct features. Both platforms offer simple and intuitive user interfaces and are suitable for teams with a great need for collaboration.
But how do they compare? And which one will be more suitable for your business design needs?
If you want a simple tool for making quick and visually appealing graphic designs, such as flyers, logos, social media graphics, etc., Canva is your best bet. However, if you’re looking for a more sophisticated design and prototyping tool best suited for creating graphics from scratch and designing websites, mobile apps, and other digital interfaces, Figma is the tool.
Canva and Figma offer similar features, from graphic and web design to photo editing, prototyping, collaboration, cloud access, and more. They also have distinct features that make them more suitable for specific kinds of design projects.
Therefore, the choice between Canva and Figma depends on your design needs, level of expertise, and the level of collaboration you need.
A more detailed comparison of both platforms will help you make an informed decision.
Canva vs Figma: Detailed Comparison
Canva and Figma offer many features that enable you to create simple and sophisticated designs, get input or assistance from team members, and create designs that mirror your thought process.
Let’s look at how their features compare and help you figure out which tool is more suitable for your specific design needs.
Design Tools and Functionality
Canva has a suite of design tools you can use to develop simple graphic and web designs in no time. With Canva’s vast template library of over 250,000 templates, you can make over 100 different designs, including flyers, social media posts, letters, presentations, and more. There’s also a wide range of shapes, icons, stickers, backgrounds, effects, and filters you can use to customize your designs.
You can also upload and manipulate images on Canva and access a library of stock photos and illustrations. Canva’s layer management is one of the key design functions the tool offers, as it enables you to arrange elements in front or behind other objects in your design.
While Canva offers drag-and-drop features with thousands of templates to help you make designs faster, Figma presents you with tools that give you design autonomy. The Figma design tools include frames, pens, pencils, and other elements you need to design from scratch.
Figma has a wider range of drawing and design tools than Canva, making it more suitable for professionals who love creating their designs from scratch and watching their ideas shape into products through prototypes.
Collaboration and Sharing
Collaboration is a vital feature of both Canva and Figma. You can create designs on either of the platforms and have your team members view, make, or suggest changes in real-time, ensuring the seamless and timely execution of tasks.
The Canva collaboration feature is available on the Canva for Teams plan. You can create designs and invite team members to make contributions, giving them access to view, comment on, or edit the designs. You can equally assign tasks to your team members right there in your design document.
Figma has a more sophisticated collaboration feature than Canva. In addition to offering all the collaboration features Canva offers, Figma offers audio conversations among teams and more dedicated and sophisticated design handoff features.
Instead of commenting on design sheets, collaborators can use the audio chat feature to discuss the progress of a project and make changes in real-time. Once a project is completed, the Figma design handoff features ensure a seamless handover to the project developers without compromising any design aspect.
User Interface and Usability
Both Canva and Figma offer simple, intuitive user interfaces, making it easy for beginners to navigate the platforms.
Canva’s interface is simple and beginner-friendly. Once you land on the home page, you can easily locate the key features you need for your designs.
On the left side of the screen is a navigation menu that displays the design categories available on Canva. When you click on one, it brings up more options. For example, when you click on “templates,” it expands into categories like business, social media, education, video, print products, marketing, and many more. The side menu also shows Canva Magic Studio, which is a new feature on the platform that enables you to leverage AI-powered tools to make your designs better. There’s also a search bar at the top of the home page to search for specific templates, elements, or design assets within the Canva library.
Similarly, Figma has an intuitive interface. Logging into Figma takes you to the dashboard, where you can access shared projects, drafts, and recent files by the left bar and design templates at the center of the home screen. At the top of the screen, there’s a toolbar that provides you access to key functions on the Figma platform, such as the Figma Design file and FigJam board features.
Plugins and Apps
Plugins are external tools or programs embedded into software to help users improve their productivity. Both Canva and Figma have a suite of plugins that can enhance your design skills, making it easier to create designs that represent your brand and resonate with your target audience.
Canva offers a great selection of plugins that enhance the design experience. The plugin suite covers various tools you’d need for an effective design process, from design essentials to productivity, sharing, publishing, and even AI-powered tools.
Here are some of the key Canva plugins:
- Imagen: Enables you to turn your texts into photorealistic AI images.
- Murf AI: Helps you add voiceovers to your designs.
- Google Drive: Add your Google Drive photos to your designs.
- Embed: Add video, music, and other online media to your designs.
- Mockups: Create product mockups for your projects.
- Pexels: Add free photos from Pexels to your designs.
- FlippingBook: Create dynamic flipbooks from your designs.
- CreatEcards: Create invitation cards and send them as an e-card.
Figma also has a large plugin library you can leverage to make your designs on the platform stand out. It’s a much more robust library than Canva’s because anyone on Figma can create a plugin and make it accessible to others through the Figma community.
Here are some of the plugins available to you on Figma:
- Themer: Create and switch themes between published styles from your team library.
- Content Reel: Design layouts by pulling text strings, images, and icons from one palette.
- Map Maker: Create and insert a customized map into any shape layer
- Figmotion: Enables you to animate objects within a frame
- Iconify: Add icons and emojis to your designs.
- Unsplash: Add beautiful stock photos from Unsplash to your designs.
- Remove BG: This enables you to remove the background of images with just a single click.
- Figma to Code: Convert your Figma designs into codes for production or prototyping.
- Autoflow: Draw flows, diagrams, and graphics with ease.
From the detailed assessment, you can already see that Figma is a much more sophisticated tool than Canva. However, they also have distinct use cases and can be used interchangeably.
But if you must settle for one, other information like their pros and cons, pricing, and alternatives will be helpful.
Before we get to that, here are other posts you might find useful:
Canva vs Figma: Pros and Cons
Canva’s pros and cons
- Offers over 250,000 templates.
- A vast library of stock photos, illustrations, and other visual elements.
- User-friendly and intuitive interface.
- Enhances collaboration among teams.
- Offers a variety of plugins and apps.
- Limited design customization features.
- Key features aren’t available in the free version.
- Not ideal for complex designs.
Figma’s pros and cons
- Real-time collaboration.
- Robust vector-based tools suitable for complex designs.
- A vast library of plugins and apps.
- Version control.
- Cloud storage.
- Steep learning curve.
- Limited templates compared to Canva.
- Limited free plan.
Canva vs Figma: Pricing
Pricing is another important comparison factor between Canva and Figma. Here are the pricing plans for both platforms:
Canva has three pricing plans:
- Canva Free: Available for free, forever.
- Canva Pro: Costs $14.99 per month and $119.99 per year.
- Canva for Teams: Costs $149.90 for the first five persons.
Figma has four pricing plans:
- Starter: Available for free, forever
- Professional: Costs $15 per editor per month and an extra $5 per editor per month for FigJam.
- Organization: Costs $45 per editor per month and an extra $5 per editor per month for FigJam. It’s only available for yearly billing.
- Enterprise: Costs $75 per editor per month and an extra $5 per editor per month for FigJam. It’s also only available for yearly billing.
Figma also offers a 30-day free trial on all its paid plans.
Alternatives to Canva and Figma
Here are some notable alternatives to Canva and Figma:
1. Adobe Creative Cloud
Adobe Creative Cloud is one of the best Canva and Figma alternatives. It includes a suite of design tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Adobe XD that you can use to create different kinds of designs, from graphics to UI/UX and prototyping.
The vast template library and super intuitive and beginner-friendly interface it offers make it ideal for small business owners looking to save on the cost of hiring professional designers.
Here’s a detailed Canva vs Adobe Express article you’d find resourceful.
This is another creative design suite worthy of mention alongside Canva and Figma. CorelDRAW is suitable for editing vector graphics, illustrations, and other kinds of designs. It offers similar customization features as Figma and may not be ideal for someone without design experience.
Sketch is a macOS and web-based application suitable for UI/UX designs, interface prototyping, and vector-based graphic design. It’s an ideal Canva and Figma alternative as it offers design, collaboration, prototyping, and handoff features. The offline Sketch application is only available to macOS users. However, it also has a web app that works across all major operating systems.
Read these posts on Canva vs other design tools:
What are the similarities between Canva and Figma?
Canva and Figma are built for different kinds of design work; however, they have a lot of similarities. Here are some of them:
- Both are web-based applications.
- Supports vector graphics.
- Integrates seamlessly with other tools.
- Supports collaboration among teams.
- Have vast template libraries.
- Offer basic image editing features.
Which is suitable for non-designers: Canva or Figma?
Canva is more suitable for non-designers. Its vast template library, illustrations, and elements enable people without prior design experience to create simple designs.
That also makes Canva a more suitable design tool for small businesses lacking the resources to hire professional designers.
Which is better, Canva or Figma? – Conclusion
Canva and Figma are top-level design tools suitable for all forms of design work. They’re also excellent prototyping, collaboration, and branding tools. However, deciding which is better depends on your specific design needs and budget.
If you’re a small business owner, you probably don’t need advanced customizable designs, and as such, Canva looks to be a better fit for you.
Similarly, if you’re a blogger, content marketer, SEO writer, or agency, your design needs aren’t too complex and can easily be handled on Canva, and perfectly too.
Figma is more of a design tool for large enterprises with dedicated media teams working with complex brand kits.
However, if you aren’t sure which one to choose, you can take advantage of the 30-day free trial offered by both tools and then decide afterward.