Is Canva A Threat To Graphic Designers?

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This week, tech sites have been buzzing with news about Canva, a brand new graphic design platform. The new site is aimed at non-designers, so it could have some implications for professionals who serve small business clients. Canva says it’s working to include graphic design professionals in its plans. But do designers have anything to fear in the meantime? And should designers fear the new site?

What is Canva?

Canva is a cloud tool that allows anyone to create pretty graphics using pre-set tools and fonts. The Australian company behind the site says that it’s currently in beta but will open to the public soon.

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By accessing Canva through a web browser, users can create their own graphics and logos. They buy stock photos and graphics from Canva, then use them to build a design. When the user wants to add a new element, they simply search for something in the Canva database. That means everything is legal, licensed and above board, and the components for an image cost a few bucks each.

To make the creation process really easy, Canva has an introductory user guide in the form of a 25 second video. It’s clearly not a site that’s difficult to use.

Once a design is finished, the Canva user can export it for web or print. It’s hosted in the cloud for easy access, and the user has to pay Canva before they can access their finished creation.

The site has been in development for around a year and has been funded by bigwigs from Facebook and Google. Its core selling point is that it will help non-designers get things done without having to hire professionals to do the job for them.

Naturally, that could be a worry for anyone working in graphic design.

Will Canva Kill Graphic Design Jobs?

Many graphic designers make a living from serving the same audience that Canva is hoping to attract. It’s logical that some designers view the platform as a threat, particularly to juniors and freelancers who can make decent money from low-key logo and poster design jobs.

Canva could cut off some of these smaller jobs, from Facebook page design to basic one-off birthday cards.

Canva says that it’ll open up its toolkit to designers so they can create and sell their own work. But for now, it’s strictly a platform for creation. Photographers can sell stock photos to the site, but there’s no other way for a pro to get involved, short of offering to do the Canva work for their client. There’s a feature in the software that allows a designer to send a preview link to a client, but you’d expect many of the clients to cut out the middleman and simply build the design themselves.

Remember: users can only buy the photos and images that Canva offers. In theory, that means it’s a limited and closed system, and we may eventually see ‘samey’, copycat Canva designs cropping up all over the place.

More About Canva

Canva is still in beta and will launch in the USA and Australia first. Until it’s open to the public, it’s difficult for anyone to gauge what its impact will be on graphic designers’ jobs.