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Canva vs Photoshop: which graphic design tool is best? Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a non-designer who is just getting started, or a creative lifelong learner who wants to learn new skills, you probably have one primary goal when it comes to graphic design: getting things done.
Maybe you want to create a quick business card, or perhaps you need a tool that will allow you to do infographics creation. For the most part, your graphic design needs will decide which tool will work best for you. Another consideration is the learning curve. Do you have time to dedicate to learning a more complex tool, or do you need to be able to hit the ground running? Let’s dive in with a concise overview and comparison of these two amazing tools.
What Is Photoshop?
Adobe Photoshop was Adobe Inc.’s first software product. Originally created in 1988, Photoshop has been the industry standard for digital art, graphic design with raster graphics, and photo manipulation.
These days, Photoshop is a part of Adobe’s design suite, Adobe Creative Cloud. You can access Photoshop on your computer and via an app on smartphones and tablets
Photoshop’s Unique Features
Here are some examples of Photoshop’s exclusive features.
- Basic layer adjustments
- Layer styles
- Blending modes
- Batch processing
- Photoshop Actions
- Integrates with Suitcase Fusion, Jira, Slack, and Microsoft Teams
What Can You Make with Photoshop?
- Editable mockups
- Infographics creation
- Poster creation
- Style guides
- Newsletter layouts
- Photo manipulation
Here are the primary advantages of Photoshop.
Advantage 1. Features and Tools
The most significant advantage to using Photoshop vs Canva is that Photoshop has every feature you could possibly need. In fact, you will probably never use all of the tools Photoshop puts at your disposal. Professional designers love having access to masking, layers, and brushes.
Moreover, many people opt for Photoshop so that they can have use of a professional photo editor.
Advantage 2: Plethora of Online Learning Resources
However, here’s another huge advantage to using Photoshop: If you want to use all of those tools or learn more about Photoshop editing, you will have no trouble finding online tutorials and videos that show you exactly how to use them. Since Photoshop has been around for so many years, there are tons of resources online for learning how to make the most of the powerful software.
Advantage 3: Integrations
In terms of integration, Photoshop users benefit from the fact that Photoshop integrates with all other Adobe software. This type of connectivity is a huge advantage if you’re using different apps to do various things.
Here are some of the disadvantages of Photoshop.
Disadvantage 1: Learning Curve
There is a steeper learning curve with Photoshop editing than there is with the Canva app. When you see the interface for the first time, it’s impossible to know where to start unless you’ve watched some tutorial videos.
Disadvantage 2: Computer Resource Usage
Since Photoshop isn’t cloud-based, it adds a lot of bloat to your computer’s hard drive. But it’s not just the size of the program that’s a problem. It uses tons of resources because it’s process-heavy software.
Disadvantage 3: Not Cloud-Based
Another huge disadvantage to using Photoshop is that there is a limit to the number of devices you can use it on. A Creative Cloud subscription allows you to install the apps on two devices, so if you want to use the software on your desktop computer and your laptop, you’re limited to that. Need to use Photoshop at work as well as at home? You’ll have to sign out of one of your other two devices. This can be a huge pain for a professional designer.
Cost of Photoshop
Unfortunately, Photoshop doesn’t offer a free version although they do offer a seven-day free trial. Here are Photoshop’s basic prices.
- Annual plan: $239.98/year
- Monthly plan: $20.99month
Another option is Adobe’s Photography plan, where you get Photoshop and Lightroom for only $9.99 per month. The limitation is that you have only 20GB of cloud storage with this plan.
While you can subscribe to Photoshop by itself, you may enjoy the value of subscribing to the entire Adobe Creative Cloud Suite, which costs $52.99 per month and gives you all of Adobe’s programs.
What Is Canva?
Canva is one of the most popular online graphic design tools for beginners and non-designers. With Canva, you can use an easy drag-and-drop interface to create all different types of visual graphics.
As one of the most accessible graphic design tools, Canva can be used on smartphones, tablets, laptops, and computers.
Canva’s Unique Features
Canva has plenty of its own unique features. Here are just a couple of the things that set Canva apart from more complicated tools like Photoshop.
- Huge selection of free graphic design templates
- Graphic design assets like illustrations, images, and icons
- Social media scheduling tool inside the editor
- Easy to use background remover tool
- Easy image resizing with Magic Resize
- Integrates with HubSpot, Slack, Google Drive, Giphy, Pexels, and Mailchimp
What Can You Make with the Canva App?
In addition to being able to create flyers online, here are some of the other graphics projects you can complete with Canva.
- eBook covers
- Social media graphics
- Restaurant menus
- Business cards
- Event invitations
- YouTube video art
- Blog headers
Here are the primary advantages of Canva.
Advantage 1: Cloud-Based
Perhaps most important, Canva web is a cloud-based program. If you’ve ever used the Adobe Creative Suite, you’ve probably experienced the pain of having to log out of your desktop computer so that you can use it on your laptop, for example. With Canva, you never have to worry about that because all of your work is in the cloud.
With Canva, you have 5GB of free cloud storage with the free plan and 100GB with the Canva Pro plan. Enterprise users get unlimited storage.
Advantage 2: Ease of Use
Another advantage of Canva is that it’s so easy to use. You don’t have to be a designer to learn to use Canva. The tool flows well and is completely intuitive.
Advantage 3: Template Library and Design Elements
Equally important to non-designers is Canva’s library of design elements and editable templates. With a Pro account, you can even add customized branding.
Here are some of the disadvantages of Canva.
Disadvantage 1: No Photo Manipulation
The biggest downside to using Canva is that you can’t do photo manipulation, which can be really important if you’re an entrepreneur. When you’re marketing your assets or building a website, photo editing can be huge. Canva isn’t the best online photo editor, so this is a definite downside.
Disadvantage 2: Lack of Tools and Features
Another disadvantage to Canva is that it lacks the important pen tool that allows you to draw custom shapes. Also, you have fairly limited options for design customization. For example, there is no transform tool that allows you to change an object’s overall shape and you can’t change a design asset’s color.
Disadvantage 2: Overused Templates
There is also an advantage that can be a disadvantage. Those helpful editable templates we mentioned are used by a lot of people, so you run the risk of looking like you’re using a cookie-cutter design template.
Cost of Canva
Canva has a free plan that has a lot of great features of its own. For even more access and features, you can subscribe to the Pro plan, and the Canva Pro price is $9.99 per month ($119.99 per year). When asking “Is Canva Pro worth it,” you can safely say that all of the features definitely make a Canva subscription a good investment.
Another option is the Enterprise plan, which costs $30/month per person.
Canva vs Photoshop: The Verdict
Who is the winner in the contest of Canva vs Photoshop? The answer is that it depends. What do you need to create? Your needs will dictate which tool you need to invest in and use. Other considerations will be your budget and the time you have to dedicate to the learning curve required for each tool. With Canva being more than half the cost of Photoshop, it’s definitely a winner in the price competition.
Canva is definitely the easier tool to use for amateurs and everyday users, but Photoshop offers robust features that can help you take your skillset to the next level when you have time to sit down and learn more. If you’re a professional graphic designer or plan to become one, Photoshop is the industry standard and go-to tool.
For more information on Canva Pro, you can check out our article on 7 Amazing Things You Can Do With Canva Pro