The Designer’s Tool or the Designer’s Downfall?
Written by Anna Topfl
Since Canva's creation, it has sparked a debate within the design community about its suitability as a design tool. In one of my graphic design classes this semester the first thing visible on the class page “Thou shalt not use Canva in this course.” In the graphic design community, the expectation of good design traditionally leaned towards using Adobe software such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. Many designers have expressed concerns that Canva tends to produce designs that appear more like templates rather than unique creations. I have used Canva in the past and felt guilty when using it. It felt too easy and made me want to challenge myself on Adobe instead. But should I feel guilty for using an app that makes my job easier? Jon-Stephen Stansel's article highlights one of the key issues with Canva - the prevalence of similar-looking designs that struggle to stand out in a crowd of Canva-generated content. Canva, while accessible, lacks several advanced features found in Adobe's suite of tools.
One strong advantage of Canva is its affordability. Canva Premium is available at just $14.99 per month. But not only this, Canva also offers a free version of their site that includes many features that are also available in premium. This is considerably cheaper than Adobe's pricing, which starts at $19.99 for an individual app or $54.99 for the complete Creative Cloud package. Some designers have chosen to embrace Canva, viewing it as a useful tool in conjunction with Adobe. They use it as a starting point for inspiration and as a way to save time while designing. A LinkedIn article by Colleen Gratzer explains why designers shouldn’t be afraid of the increasing popularity of Canva. Gratzer points out that creating easy to use software does not make everyone a graphic designer. It just makes graphic design more accessible. She also says that if any potential clients belittle the work involved in graphic design or pretend that it is easy then they are not clients you would want to have anyways. However, Canva still is not offering the variety that a true graphic designer can provide. So, designers shouldn’t feel nervous about more brands opting for using Canva instead of hiring a designer.
While Canva can be a handy resource for creating templates and social media content, it may not offer the depth of options available to experienced graphic designers. The increasing popularity of Canva does dilute the design market and leads to more generic designs. This leads to a lack of diversity and originality within graphic design.