Can Canva replace graphic designers?

Written by Summit Creative – a new exhibitor at marketingSHOWCASE events

It’s a question we see asked a lot so we thought we would explore the topic and let you make up your own mind, we’re not taking sides here!

So what is Canva?

If you’re not familiar with Canva, Canva is a website where you can choose from a range of templates and edit the colours, images and text to create your own designs to export and use for whatever you choose. It is a preferred method of creating artwork for marketers because it’s so simple and easy to use, especially if it is being used for digital marketing. There are also a series of ready-made logos for use, simply add your text and you have a logo.

Templates vs Design

Templates are a great way to create designs quickly and easily. The ability to change text, colour and add your own images and logo is undoubtedly simpler than creating a design from scratch. This makes a great starting point for beginners or marketers with no design background to create artwork that is engaging.

However, not all templates are created with beginners in mind and a well trained design eye can often see where a design has been overloaded with text when it was intended for a few words. Or if the colours of a design have been changed and don’t quite work as well together. Often the biggest giveaway is a stretched or squashed image.

Not so print-ready

It’s the usual story; you don’t know what you don’t know. Canva seems to default to RGB colour space which is best used for digital. The ability to download your artwork in CMYK (which should be used for print) is a paid feature. If you’re a beginner or have no design background, the importance of using CMYK isn’t a widely known fact. When your print arrives with colours looking less vibrant or very different to the colours on screen, it can be a shock.

Whilst there is the ability to add crop and bleed in Canva’s export process, choosing crop and bleed to be added to artwork isn’t an immediately obvious choice, which is very important for print-ready artwork. Again as a beginner this might not be known, which would result in artwork with an unintended white line around the edge.


The ease of use of Canva to drag and drop elements onto an artboard makes designing artwork pretty simple. But designing from scratch can be daunting when you have little or no experience of design, which is why the templates feature is so appealing and makes the process less stressful. The only issue with this could be that your design isn’t original and there are plenty of other brands out there using the exact same artwork.

This is particularly problematic when it comes to your logo. A templated logo with the text changed to display your brand name is great if you need something quick and you’re starting out with little money to invest in a bespoke option. But what happens when your audience sees your same logo on another company and they mistake them for you?

A bespoke logo doesn’t have to cost the earth and always portrays who you are as a company better than an off-the-shelf option. After all, it has been designed in consultation with you so it contains who you are a brand.

Brand uses

Canva is great for collaboration, a team of marketers can work from the same brand-approved templates to create social graphics, presentations, ads etc. But these templates are usually first created by graphic designers so they use the correct colours for both web and print, the correct logos and follow the brand guidelines. Setting up your brand kit in Canva means all branded elements are together in one place. One drawback to this is that your brand’s font may not be included in Canva’s font book, or it could be a paid choice.

Canva is a versatile tool that can be really useful to marketers, but it can be elevated with the expertise a formally trained graphic designer can provide. So what do you think? Can Canva replace graphic designers?

Written by Summit Creative – a new exhibitor at marketingSHOWCASE events

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