Canva pro is the paid version of the graphic design platform Canva, it used to be known as Canva for work. Like many free tools out there, there is a ‘lite’ version and a paid one, but is it worth paying for Canva Pro?
In today’s post, we will have a look inside, as always I will be checking the time-saving aspects as well as the functionality. Then you will be able to decide for yourself whether paying for Canva Pro is worth it for you.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, I will receive a percentage of the sale if you choose to buy something, at no cost to you!
WARNING! There are people out there selling “lifetime deals” and “free pro accounts” claiming that they have permission from Canva to do so. They DO NOT. Canva is working on shutting these illegal accounts down. If you sign up with them, you will lose your money and possibly your Canva account. Always go through the Canva site if you want to purchase either a subscription or assets.
When I started my online business, there wasn’t much in the way of decent graphics apps unless you could afford to pay for the big boys, by which I mean the Adobe family. Which not only came with a steep learning curve but also a heft price tag.
And then in 2013 this app called Canva popped up. Of course, I signed up straight away and had fun with it but to be honest, it drove me up the fricken wall.
It was glitchy and often I’d download a design only to find elements had shifted. So I stuck with what I was already using and only logged into Canva if I couldn’t find what I needed elsewhere.
Fast forward a few years and Canva has a HUGE leap in technology, the glitching disappeared and the oh-so-frustrating moving of elements issue was sorted. Not only that, they were adding new features faster than you can design a postcard and some of those features are BLOODY AWESOME.
Canva is a woman led company
Not only was Canva founded by Melanie Perkins but it is also one of the fastest SaaS businesses on the planet. In April 2021 is surpassed $500 million in annual sales, valued at $6 Billion, and has 55 million users!
They have also been certified as carbon neutral since 2020. Their head office in Australia is 100% powered by renewable energy and their plan is to have all their global operations 100% renewable by 2024. They also plant trees for every print order placed and even have bees living at their HQ.
It’s refreshing to see a woman-led company doing so much good with the money they are generating.
What’s the difference between Canva pro and free accounts?
With the free account, you can create plenty of designs but you have a limited amount of elements available for free. So if you want to use some of the templates, photos, stickers, etc you may have to pay for them. There are 250,000+ free templates and thousands of free photos and graphics.
If you look at the images below, the first is a free account. On the canvas (the image with the unicorn) you will see a watermark and on some of the templates, as your rollover with your mouse, you will see the word FREE pop up. For assets, there is a crown icon which means it is a paid asset.
If you have used paid assets when you are on a free account when you click to download you will be told how much you owe. You can pay the one-off fee or join Canva Pro.
For the design below there are two paid elements, that add up to ¥240 (I’m in Japan and so get billed in yen). That’s $2, so basically a dollar for each element.
If you are just doing one or two designs and rarely have a need for design work then you are better off using the free account and just paying for any elements you use. BUT if you need regular designs, run a business or blog then read on because Canva Pro has a LOT of tricks up its sleeve.
What does canva pro have that free canva doesn’t?
You get everything that a free account has plus…
- 100 million+ premium stock photos, videos, audio, and graphics.
- 600,000+ templates, new designs added daily
- Branding Kit <- major time saver!
- Remover image background
- Magic resize
- Save designs as templates <- another big time saver
- 100GB cloud storage
- Social media scheduler
Let’s take a look at a few of those in more detail…
Time Saving With the Canva Branding Kit
I do use the paid version (Canva Pro) and I can tell you right now, that the branding kit is worth every yen! As you know, I’m a HUGE fan of branding your content, and having an easy-to-access branding kit makes that so much easier.
So what does that look like?
As you can see, you can add your logo(s) and brand colours plus your fonts, it takes just a few minutes to set up. And you can add up to 100 branding kits, so if you run multiple blogs or you are a VA working with several clients, it is easy to set up specific branding kits for each client/blog.
I have mine all in one as I tend to use the same across the board.
Every time you create a new design, you simply click the element and apply your branding which is in the menu on the left.
Can you brand your designs without the branding kit?
Yes but it takes more time because you need to type in your hex code each and every time and then find your fonts.
If you are producing any decent amount of work for your business and it needs to be branded, the time saved with the branding kit makes the purchase of Canva pro worth it.
Why save designs as templates in Canva Pro
If you have been a reader in jojoebi-land for a while you will know about my obsession with templates because yes, they are another big-time saver!
Here’s an example, for the Wonder Mom Success Club, each month we have a workbook to go with the monthly masterclass. The style of the workbook is the same each month but obviously the content changes.
When it comes to making a new workbook, I copy the template then just go in and drop in the new images and text, download as a PDF, and done! I used to create these in Google Slides but Canva is so much quicker and efficient.
If I wasn’t happy about giving them my money for the branding kit, then this would the next reason to throw my credit card at them!
Using Folders on Canva Pro
Yet another reason to love it, folders! Keep your workplace organized and in folders and subfolders. Again saves you time because you are not ferreting around trying to find the file that you have misplaced.
This isn’t just a Canva Pro tip but any organizing of files. Have a system in place making it easy to sort things, for example, I have WMSC (Wonder Mom Success Club), CTC (Clear The Clutter), 193 (193mysteries), jojoebi, etc. and start each file name off with where that item belongs and then I name it something logical.
You can see here that all my Wonder Mom files and folders are names WMSC + whatever it is
Social Media Planning & Scheduling with Canva pro
This is a great example of Canva listening to its customer’s needs. It’s all good and well creating your social media content in Canva but then downloading and uploading to your scheduler can be a real-time suck!
Canva has sorted it so that:
A. You have a content planner, brilliant for seeing what is going out when invaluable during launches! But also great to have the rest of the time too.
B. You can schedule posts to go out to Facebook groups and pages, Instagram business accounts, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Slack and Tumbler. More to come apparently.
You need to connect your accounts then away you go, or better still, get your VA to do it for you!
I don’t use is the social media scheduler because I have everything set up Social Bee (I talk about saving time with Social Bee here) BUT Social Bee and Canva have integration so if you are creating your posts in Social Bee, you can click through, whip up a post image and it is all set to go. There are limitations of the types of posts but I expect in time they will be lifted.
Print On demand with Canva
One of Canva’s newer updates is the ability to Print On Demand. No more saving files and having to go and print it elsewhere. This is limited and depends on your location at the moment, for Japan, we can print paper goods
- Folded cards
- Rack cards
- Square cards
- Gift certificates
- Business cards
In some other locations, you can print mugs, t-shirts, stickers, photobooks… Hopefully, this will roll out to more places soon along with international shipping.
Remove background images with canva pro
It is possible to use free apps to remove the background on your image but they are often not very good or the resolution/image size is small unless you pay for the upgrade. I love that Canva Pro has this option as it again saves lots of time.
Why would your need to remove the background on an image?
I do it all the time as it is part of my branding, and I also use it in the Montessori files that I make. Another use would be product image if you make and sell products. You might want to showcase them on a white (or different coloured background).
In this example I just chose a random image of dragon fruit, I like the colour, it matches my branding hahaha. I had to touch up one of the leaves but apart from the Canva did a pretty good job and takes just a few seconds.
More To Come in Canva pro…
As of writing I currently have video editing, uploading PDFs to edit (I have a lot to say about this option, maybe for another post) and recording presentations (including showing the presenter on camera) are all marked in beta. I need to have more of a play with these and do another post or training on how to use them.
A Few FAQs
Can my VA or colleagues collaborate on work with me?
Yes, you can collaborate with friends or colleagues as you work on a project, which is fun and again a big time saver. The number of team members will depend on your plan.
I’ve never used design software before, is it easy to use?
I feel that it’s pretty intuitive and easy to pick up. Before paying for it, get on and have a play. They also have Canva University with lessons and tutorials on how to do different things with it.
Do they have a discount for educators?
If you are a K12 teacher you can get all of the pro access for free – whoop! You do need to apply and I haven’t been through the process, but it is worth keeping in mind if you are thinking of going pro.
Can I use the things I create to sell?
Mostly yes. You need to go through their Terms Of Service to see if what you want to create is OK but pretty much anything you create can be used in a commercial setting. What you can’t do is take their assets (images, templates, stickers etc) and sell them as your own unaltered or as a collection of stock for sale.
Another thing to keep in mind is that if you create a logo on Canva you can’t use that as a trademark.
The big question is do you need canva pro?
Canva Pro which is (at time of writing, September 2021) ¥12,000 billed annually or ¥1,500 billed monthly and with up to 5 people on your team. I pay annually and use YNAB (I explain that here) to budget the payments over the year.
For me, it is an absolute no-brainer to pay ¥1000 a month considering everything Canva Pro does. I don’t even utilize all of its functions.
All in all for being more productive and saving a shed load of time, and deleting the need for several other apps, Canva Pro wins hands down.
But if you only need to make something once in a blue moon for personal use, then it is better to use the free version and pay for the assets separately.
PS – that image below of the ipad… made in Canva!