Canva is one of the darlings in the graphic design sphere, thanks to its innovative take that brings everyone, professional or not, closer to the wonders of beautiful visuals with its user-friendly interface and powerful features. From social media posts such as Instagram images to posters to brand logo creation and everything in between, everybody loves to work with Canva to bring their visions to life.
But should you stick to Canva's free version, or is it worth it to upgrade to a Canva Pro account, their premium, paid service? What are the key differences between free Canva and the Pro version?
Our Canva Pro vs free comparison answers these questions to help you decide whether you should use a Canva free plan or pay for a Canva Pro subscription.
Let's get started!
In the —unlikely— case that you don't know, Canva is a graphic design tool for non-designers. Entirely web-based and accessible from computers as well as iOS and Android mobile devices, it provides a simple yet effective image editor with a drag-and-drop concept that makes it possible to create professional designs without having to learn complex methods or tools such as Photoshop or Illustrator and without having to be a graphic designer.
To use Canva, you need to sign up for an account. The free account gives you access to the editor, which lets you perform tasks such as adding text and graphic elements, changing colors, applying filters to images, crop and resize, and more. As well as additional resources to complete your designs, which are:
- 345K+ stock photos, graphics, videos, and audio tracks – To use freely in your designs
- 250K+ professionally designed, free templates – You can easily customize, and they have designs for everything: Social media platforms such as Instagram posts, Instagram stories, Facebook posts, Twitter images, YouTube thumbnails, banners, flyers, menus…
- 1700+ fonts – Add text to your designs in your preferred style
- 6 animations – Animated effects for an extra touch of creativity
- A basic brand kit – Set a color palette from 3 available to automatically apply to all your designs and keep your brand's visual identity consistent
- 5 GB storage – To save your projects on the platform and access them anywhere
- Two folders – Organize your designs at your discretion
- Canva for Teams – Add up to 3000 members to your team account, all with access to the free features of Canva
And yes, all this impressive list without paying a dime! It's not without reason that this is one of the best graphic design tools!
Now, the Canva Pro version of this graphic design software is geared toward those creatives who need more extensive resources and functionality for their projects. Upgrading to a premium subscription (monthly or annual) to Canva Pro gets you access to the image editor plus these EXCLUSIVE, key features:
Pro Brand Kits – Keep all your designs perfectly on-brand with this advanced branding tool. Set up your whole brand identity: color palettes, logos, fonts, and more, and store them in Canva to automatically apply to all your visuals. The Pro Brand Kits –yes, you can have more than one in Pro– include team collaboration and even custom templates to create your own reusable, editable designs!
One-Click Magic Resize – The Magic Resize tool lets you design for multiple social media standard sizes and even custom dimensions all at once and automatically. Design once and publish everywhere, saving lots of time!
Instant Background Remover – Erase an image's background with just one click.
Content Planner – Schedule your graphics to be published across 8 social media channels from your Canva account. Edit scheduled designs, and all changes will be synced and updated on Content Planner!
Pro Video Editor – Access Canva's user-friendly video editing tool with templates and more resources to create awesome clips without previous editing knowledge.
Animator Pro – Create animations in GIF or MP4 format with 14 animation styles
Transparent backgrounds – Download images with transparent background instantaneously
Custom Templates – Save your designs as a template for recurrent use
Version History and Retrieval – Review and track changes made to your designs, and restore previous versions at your will.
Custom Fonts – Upload your own fonts to use in your visuals
High-quality download – Download your designs in any resolution
SVG download – Canva is perfect for creating vector graphics. Get your visual in vector format (in addition to JPEG and PNG formats available)
Canva Teams Pro – The new Canva for Teams plan comes with an unlimited number of members, access to exclusive Canva Pro features, admin controls to manage who accesses what in your account, and new features like Design Approvals, Single Sign-On, and Brand Controls.
As if that wasn't enough, Canva Pro also upgrades every offer from the free version as the following:
- 100+ Million high-res stock images, videos, and audio tracks – Yes, that's right: millions!
- 420K+ Pro Canva templates – From social media graphics to presentations, and everything imaginable (that's 15x more professionally designed templates than the free version!)
- 3000+ fonts – A various selection of styles
- 100 GB storage – Plenty of space to save lots of designs on the cloud (and that's 20x more storage than Canva Free)
- Unlimited folders – Keep your workspace neatly organized in folders and subfolders, as many as you wish (versus only two folders available in the free plan)
- Unlimited team access and real-time collaboration – Invite team members via email and work on a design simultaneously
Also worth mentioning is that all media downloaded with this plan comes with the Canva Pro license for commercial use, which is a lot more comprehensive and legally safe for marketing, advertising, and more.
Whew! That's a lot of value in one service!
For more details on Canva Pro's features, check our dedicated Canva Pro review.
But if you're after forever access to this service, check the alternatives for a Canva Pro lifetime plan!
We also have a full Canva stats report with all the relevant numbers for the company!
Exclusive: Free Trial for Canva Pro
Right now, you have the chance to access Canva Pro for free for 30 days, thanks to the Canva pro free trial.
This is a special deal, that gives you free access for two more weeks than the regular trial that Canva offers on its website! This way you can test the waters and see all that you can do with the paid version, for a month and a half, completely free, and later decide whether you want to pay for the membership, or cancel (risk-free).
For more info, check out the details of the Canva free trial here.
You can do almost everything in graphic design and visual marketing-related with Canva:
- Social media graphics
- Landing pages
- Print materials
- And much more!
Did you know that children can use Canva to learn and have fun? Here is a list of 20 fun Canva projects for kids!
Based on what we just saw, here's a quick comparative table of Canva's free and paid versions.
|Feature||Canva Free||Canva Pro (Paid)|
|Stock images, graphics, videos, audio tracks||345,000+||100 Million+|
|Cloud Storage||5 GB||100 GB|
|Team access||Via link||Up to 5 members for the same price (up to 50 users at additional cost), real-time collaboration|
|Background removal tool||No||Yes|
|Transparent backgrounds downloads||No||Yes|
|Upload your own fonts||No||Yes|
|Create custom brand templates||No||Yes|
|Download in vector format (SVG)||No||Yes|
What does paid mean on Canva? Basically, it means paying for a subscription. Canva Pro pricing is very simple; you can choose to pay month-to-month or annually.
- Monthly plan: $12.99 a month
- Annual plan: $119.99 a year
Logically, if you pay for the year upfront you get a significant discount from the monthly price, but they're both very affordable considering just how much you can do with the service, and that you get unlimited access and downloads.
For more info, check out our Canva Pro pricing breakdown.
Canva Free Trial for Pro (exclusive SPS deal)
(Coupon temporarily unavailable – come back later!)
Canva Print is the platform's own printing service. It's not available in every country, so you need to check for availability, and the prices vary according to the type of print, material, and region.
Canva Enterprise is a paid membership oriented to big companies with large creative teams, as it offers better functionality for this specific case. Enterprise plans start at $150 per month for up to 5 members.
As you likely guessed at this point, whether it makes sense to shell out the $12.99 a month or $119.99 a year of a Canva Pro membership depends on how much the premium features can do for you.
If you only use Canva to design for personal, passion projects or as a hobby, you're probably fine with the free version, which includes free photos and templates, but you may also pay for premium stock photos individually if needed.
If you are starting with or have a small business that you want to boost, marketing-wise, then Canva Pro is certainly worth considering. Due to its price and simplicity of use, it can save you a lot of money and time and gives you quality visuals to promote your brand.
We highly recommend you take advantage of the free trial for Canva Pro to really test how much the service can assist you, before spending money on it.
Annual or Monthly Subscription?
Again, this depends on your particular needs. If you already are in for the long run with your business, the yearly membership saves you money and gives you long-term access to all the tools.
If you are only getting started and a bit uncertain of how things will go with your brand, it might be wiser to start with a monthly membership. You can renew it as many times as you want, you can cancel at any point, as well as upgrade it to the annual plan whenever you want, too.
Do keep in mind the Canva Pro trial is tied to the annual membership: once the first 30 days of free access are up, the account will automatically upgrade to the yearly subscription. If you do not want this, you can just cancel before the 30-day trial is up, and you won't be charged a dime.
Let's answer some of the most common questions about Canva.
What is the difference between free Canva and paid Canva?
Free Canva is free for all and forever, but comes with limitations: you get access to a smaller selection of design elements and functions. Canva team functionality is also less useful as it's not real-time.
Paid Canva has more features, particularly AI-powered features, bigger-sized offers in the features that are common to free and pro versions (more images, more templates, etc.), advanced analytics, unlimited downloads, and the more encompassing Canva Pro license for all stock media.
Is the free version of Canva any good?
Indeed, Canva is very good, even in the limited, free version. It has everything you need to create anything from personal cards to marketing materials and it doesn't cost a penny.
How easy is it to use Canva?
Very, very easy. The site and the editor layout both have a very intuitive design, where everything is easily found, and the functionality is straightforward: click here, drag and drop there, select from here, apply there, etc. The learning curve to use Canva is almost a flat line.
Is Canva compatible with PC? How about mobile phones and tablets?
Yes, yes, and yes. Canva is web-based, so you can access it via browser from any PC, as it supports Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. On each platform, you may also find dedicated Canva apps to download and install for free.
Does Canva work offline?
No, as of today Canva requires an Internet connection in order to work with it (auto-save, save, download, etc.)
Is Canva better than Photoshop?
This question doesn't have a single answer. Adobe Photoshop is the undeniable top standard in professional image editing and is incredibly powerful, but also very difficult to master. Canva is a much less complex tool, yet capable of producing beautiful images, and much more user-friendly.
Can I use Canva for commercial projects?
Absolutely, the images, templates, and other graphic resources available on Canva are Royalty-free and cleared for commercial use.
What is the key downside of using free Canva?
The restricted access to its vast stock media library and the absence of its more useful and advanced features.
Can I cancel the Canva Pro plan?
Yes, you can. Whenever you want. Depending on when you do it, cancellation fees may apply.
Can I cancel the Canva free trial?
Yes, and if you cancel before the trial period expires, you will not be charged a dime and you would have effective used Canva pro for free.
How long is the Canva free trial?
The free trial offered by Canva on their website is for 30 days.
Let's see some positives and negatives of using this tool:
- As user-friendly as it gets, you won't need to learn complicated skills to be able to design
- Has all the design elements you need, all in one place
- It integrates with social media platforms, cloud storage services, and more, which really eases your workflow
- It lets you collaborate in real-time with other creatives in your team, making the design process more productive
- They have a cool design school for those who want to learn more about graphic design, image editing, and visual marketing
- You need an Internet connection to use it
- The mobile apps aren't as easy to use
- The free version has limited functionality, the best features are in the paid, Canva Pro
It is clear why Canva is a fan favorite when it comes to designing visuals. It's a robust, effective, yet super simple tool that makes it possible for everyone to create beautiful graphics quickly and easily.
But in the Canva free vs Canva paid debate, which one is best? For us, there is no doubt that Canva Pro offers an insane amount of value and useful features for its low price. For small business owners, solo professionals, and design beginners, it's a smart choice to get a Canva Pro subscription and solve all their visual marketing needs at once.
That doesn't mean Canva free doesn't have its value, though! For those who only need to make a graphic now and then, for hobbyists who dab in visual content creation occasionally, or even those who run a small business or are impulsing a new business and can't quite spend on a Pro plan just now, the free version of Canva is still very useful.
However, there are no excuses not to try Canva Pro when you have our exclusive, extended Canva Pro free trial right at your fingertips!