Canva, PowerPoint, and Excel vs. Pro SoftwareFeb 02, 2023
I'm not a huge fan of Canva, PowerPoint, Excel and the like.
Low quality software like those programs are totally fine for:
- creating designs as a hobby
- creating freebies
- creating Pinterest pins
But if you are looking to SELL printables, you don't want to use those programs!
You want to create high-quality, professional, and unique designs using professional software like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, or Adobe InDesign.
Here's some of the main reasons why...
1) Customers won't come back
Many of your customers, unfortunately, have low-grade, basic printers and all your breathtakingly beautiful work will just come out blurry! E-gads!!!
Your customers will get mad at you, spread the word, and never come back. :(
Before you even get your store OFF THE GROUND, you fail because you shot yourself in the foot.
While you can get away with low-quality programs if you're giving printables away for free, if you're wanting to make some serious money on printables and really get your creations into the hands of a lot of people, your printables need to be HIGH-QUALITY and professional, no exceptions!
Believe me, your customers WILL notice:
They love your stuff, they come back! They tell their friends. They share your stuff. They talk and it's FREE marketing for your shop. :) You want that!!! <3
Canva is not REALLY the cheaper way to go...I wonder how many people actually realize that.
Currently, Canva is $12.95/month for the pro plan, which you'll need, because the free program is not really all that workable.
A program like Photoshop Elements is $99 (at most, it ranges from $50-$99 through-out the year), but worst case scenario is a one time cost of $99 on Amazon.
You don't have to worry about updates, because it automatically updates through out the years, so you never need to buy the program again. It's a ONE TIME cost. That's the beauty of it.
Now considering Canva is $12.95/month and your investment with pro software, Photoshop Elements, is $99, Photoshop Elements pays for itself in less than 8 months.
That means, in just 8 months, you will have already saved more money with Photoshop Elements than Canva. Use Canva for 3 years? You'll overpay by $367.20!
It's a lot of money.
Even if you went with something like Illustrator, you can get their 20+ apps plan for $20.99/month if you purchase on a sale like Black Friday and use their educators discount (any teacher or homeschooling mom qualifies!)
Let's say you just wanted Illustrator, it's $239.88/year on their yearly plan. Canva's yearly plan is $119.40. We're talking $120 difference here. It's not that much considering you'd make well more than that with better quality printables in sales. :)
3) Design tools & features
You want to be able to bring your beautiful visions to life, and that hinges on having the appropriate tools and features available on the program you choose to use.
Programs like Canva etc. have tools and features for beginners to create simple designs, especially if it's just for a hobby or for freebie printables. For example, with Canva there are ready-made templates, elements (ready-made shapes), graphics like images, illustrations & icons, and you can upload your own images as well.
However, you now are selling a printable or design everyone else is. With so much competition out there, why on EARTH would you want to do that? It seems crazy to me.
You have GOT TO be DIFFERENT in your printables or you won't get the attention you deserve.
You'll blend in with all the other samsies templates. You definitely don't want that!!!
When you move into SELLING printables, low-quality software like Canva or PowerPoint is what everyone else is using. Never do what everyone else is doing, no matter how "quick" it is.
Pro software will allow you to create custom, unique and high-quality designs to really stand out from the crowd. And trust me, I've tried both, Canva is no easier of a learning curve than say Photoshop Elements, especially if you have a course to walk you through it all!
Besides, you're not here to make a quick buck. You're here to invest in your future, build an empire, and have a better quality of life.
Plus, you can learn things as and when needed in my courses. I have one course for Illustrator and one course for Photoshop Elements. You don't need to overwhelm yourself with trying to learn everything at once. Even the greatest experts don't use or learn EVERY feature!
Pro software has so many extra capabilities like drawing and photo editing such as masking, filters, effect, layers and tons more!
It's absolutely a BLAST playing around in Illustrator (my favorite program). I am creating my own SVG's and graphics, patterns and backgrounds. While you definitely don't have to do that, it IS fun and makes your printables stand apart from the crowd!
If you want to create an empire selling printables, put in the time with pro software from the beginning and you'll be glad you did down the line! You'll get more sales, more customers will come back, it's funner, just...so many reasons. :)
4) Online vs. Desktop Platform
This is a really important point to consider. Canva is a web app and if you don't have an internet connection, you simply can't use it until you have one.
While it's great that all you have to do is sign up for a Canva account, then you can start using it, you can't use it offline. If you work remotely or travel, it can become a big deal.
Also, as for your designs created on Canva, they are stored on Canva’s servers, not on your computer. You can definitely download the designs to your computer, but all the design details (like layers) are not available.
In contrast, the types of Adobe pro software are standalone programs that you can download and install on your computer. You aren't constrained to working when you have an internet connection! You can work whenever and wherever creativity strikes, without having to consider or be hindered by your internet connection.
5) Creativity & uniqueness
You've poured your heart and soul into creating the designs that have been swirling around in your head, the last thing you want is for someone else to have a similar design because you both used a simple, low-quality program.
Although places like Canva include templates, more people use them, and more people recognize them as "Canva designs".
Urghh! That's certainly not great from a branding perspective! Instantly you become Canva's brand, not your OWN brand!
When that happens, you lose credibility and come across less professional in an instant. It's soul-destroying after all your time and effort.
With pro software, you definitely won't run into this problem. You can create super unique designs that are only limited by your imagination! My How to Create Printables courses include templates in them too, if you really wanna go that route. No problem. And you know that hundreds of thousands of other people won't be using them!
Even if others were working from the same template, the range of tools and capabilities are HUGE, that the end results would all be so different.
From a brand-building perspective, it's pointless to create designs that others can't differentiate from one brand to the next. Your reputation is ruined before you even begin, and impossible to make a name for yourself.
Start on the right foot and let your creativity and uniqueness shine from your designs using pro software!
6) Photo editing
You'll routinely want to use photos when creating your designs, so a design tool should offer some great photo editing capabilities to allow your designs to truly come alive.
If you’re a blogger or creating any sort of content online, the competition is only going to continue to get more fierce. To stand out, you really need a program that isn't going to limit what you can create.
Photo editing is HUGE when it comes to your blog, marketing, and branding!
With programs like Canva, you are limited when it comes to photo manipulation and this can prevent your designs from having a fresh and unique edge.
While you can do basic photo editing like cropping, adding effects and filters and some simple color adjusting (brightness, contrast, saturation etc.), it's nowhere near the level of customization pro software brings to the table.
If you want to retouch photos, use layer masking, correct color, remove blemishes, or stylize photos professionally and have stand-out branding and designs, then programs like Canva are not a good option.
With pro software, they have every feature you could possibly want to turn a photo into anything you envision. There are no limitations and using pro software is not as complicated as you might think. My courses make it a snap!
7) Photo Formats
If you don't want to hinder your creativity, then you want to use a program that allows you to import images in various formats.
With Canva, you are limited to importing JPG and PNG files (raster images) only. This can really stifle your design vision and what you can create.
On the other hand, pro software like Adobe Illustrator allows you to import vector images in addition to raster images. This is super helpful in allowing you to express your creativity as vector images are easily editable and rasters are not!
You can edit the image right inside the document by changing shapes, colors, etc. any time you want, which allows you to inject your personal style and flare to your designs and be seen as more of a leader in the printables field.
8) Bulky Files
One of the biggest things on my mind as I was searching around for JUST the *right* program was file sizes. I tried several different options and so many of the programs out there were really bulky file sizes. This is bad if you have a self-hosted blog where you end up having to pay extra for extra storage over time or if you're using a paid-for app in Shopify for your downloads delivery system.
Even if you're just uploading a file to your newsletter, if people can't download the file because it's too weighty, they will think it's a scam, mark it as spam and ruin your email list pretty quickly.
These are pretty big problems and you want to choose a program that has small file sizes.
From what I've personally seen, out of ALL the programs I've tried, InDesign and Illustrator create the SMALLEST file sizes possible.
InDesign creates them smaller than Illustrator, I'll be perfectly honest (but the program is like trying to learn to fly an airplane for the first time; super tough) and Illustrator is second (and MUCH easier to learn than InDesign!) In my course, where I teach all about Illustrator, I show you how to save your PDFs so that they are the smallest file sizes all while still keeping that clear, crisp viewability and printability. :)
To put it bluntly, it's a minefield when it comes to making designs for commercial use using programs like Canva.
What's worrying is many people probably don't even realize that they are using images illegally.
Just because an image is free, don't assume you can do anything you please with it!!!
As for designs you wish to trademark (a logo for you blog, for example), if you create a unique symbol on Canva using one of their shapes, then it is against their terms for you to be able to trademark it! It's crazy and certainly not something you'd think to consider.
For images/elements from Canva in designs you wish to sell, you need to make sure you are aware of the rules of each image and element used in your design, and the specific license you may need to purchase for use.
You certainly don't want to be worrying about whether you are violating any terms without knowing it. Legal fees can far outweigh the cost it would take to just buy and use pro software!
Plus, the terms on sites like that can change at the drop of a hat, so one minute you are OK then the next you are suddenly in violation.
If you aren't checking regularly to stay up-to-date on the latest terms (who even has the time to be adding yet another thing to their to-do list), then it's super risky! It's a massive headache that can result in you being sued! No thanks! NOOOOO thanks!!!
With pro software, you have tons more creative control over your designs, and if you create images/designs from complete scratch, you don't have to worry about license rights. In my courses, I show you the places to get super cost-effective designs that you HAVE commercial license rights to for LIFE! Some designs are as little as 50 cents!!!
Please note, if you buy and add any stock images, patterns or fonts to your pro software for your designs, you would obviously have to make sure you are aware of the licensing for those, but again, I have all the resources for those places within the course. :)
Hopefully I've given you a lot of information to consider making the best choice for you. Again, if you're doing something like a hobby, no problem, but if it's printables you are wanting to sell, I say stay far away from programs AND templates using those programs!