Can You Use Canva for Business?
You may find yourself asking: can you use Canva for business? Maybe you’re pursuing a fresh business idea but costs keep adding up and you’re trying to save money. Or maybe you just have faith in your design abilities (or a lack of faith in anyone else’s to bring your dream to life). It could just be that you don’t see the value in hiring a designer if you could “just do it yourself.”
Here’s the thing. You could use Canva. No one is stopping you. If you’re talented, no one may even notice, especially if you’re largely social media or internet based. If you’re using Canva for social media posts or it’s just not in the budget to spend $75/hr* for a flier, more power to you. However, we have several reasons why we don’t suggest Canva for business needs such as logos, T-shirt designs, business cards or letterhead, etc.
Why Isn’t Canva for Business the Best Option?
We have this conversation with our clients all the time, actually. Not because we’re talking them out of using Canva, though. Honestly we never need to. Every single time, they’re in our chair because they’ve been using Canva, sometimes for a long time, and it is no longer working for them.
You’ll often hear professional designers criticize at-home designers for incorrect file formatting. We see this most often with vector files, which is needed for any design to be embroidered. It is worth noting that, in Canva’s defense, you can actually get an SVG (Scalable Vector Graphic, sometimes called a Sharp Vector Graphic) from Canva if you are paying for their premium subscription. You’ll just need to have a blanket understanding of vector files and how they work to format your file correctly. Not only that, but you’ll need a basic understanding of design concepts (hair-thin lines do not make for strong embroidery, so you need to know how to balance them so they are visible without being too chunky) for it to turn out.
We get inquiries when a client who’s been using Canva for business has made a logo they like and try to get it put onto a shirt or hat, only to learn it’s not in the right file format or has design flaws that have made the embroidery turn out poorly. This leads them to our office to try and convert the file (which often leads to trying to duplicate the logo from scratch) to a usable format or having to redesign completely to correct the design flaws. The client always leaves us with something along the lines of, “If I had known this was a thing, I just would have hired you to begin with.”
Our Biggest Problem with Canva for Business
Our biggest problem with Canva isn’t that we feel ‘threatened’ by it. As stated above, people come in all the time who have been using Canva for business and now need help, so we don’t feel as though it’s taking business away from us. And, as also stated above, more power to you, if you’re able to do some things by yourself. We’re not here to bleed you dry (we’re feeding families too, and understand you do what you gotta’ do). Our biggest concern is the template mentality.
If you’ve ever been scrolling through social media and thought, “Huh. That logo looks almost exactly like this other business’ logo,” those businesses were probably using Canva or something similar. These companies provide beautiful templates where you can simply input your name or idea and the design elements are already all there. What it provides in convenience, though, it really lacks in personal touch.
We feel as though using a template for your unique design or business is like walking into a tattoo shop and getting a flash tattoo from their examples on the wall. It may be pretty. It may even be exactly what you had in mind. However, it’s likely there are hundreds of other people running around with that exact tattoo on their body. As a business that specializes in custom web and graphic design, we thrive on taking someone’s idea and completely customizing it into a unique and personalized product. And, as a business, you should frankly want something unique to you, too. No one is doing exactly what you’re doing, exactly how you are doing it. You should have a branding package that reflects how exceptional you are, not a drag and drop template exactly like 300 other businesses.
The Price Issue
The second issue our clients bring up is cost vs. value. It’s tempting to cut costs on things like marketing and design and try to wear a hat for every facet of your business. What you need to consider, however, is how much your time is worth. Say you are a lawyer who charges $250/hr and you’re starting the labor-intensive and expensive process of opening your own practice. It’s tempting to save the $75/hr (give or take, depending on your market) that a design agency would charge to do it yourself. But if you’re now spending 20 hours every week just trying to save $75/hr when you could be making $250 for each one of those hours, where is your time better spent? Especially if an agency could have taken that 20 hours every week you’re spending and turned it into a one-time project of 30 hours total.
Better yet, you’re still putting in 40 hours a week (or more) doing regular lawyer things. A DIY mentality can easily add 30 hours a week (or more) trying to manage social media, design your website, write content, balance your books, network, and handle all the other aspects of owning your own business. How much is peace of mind and time saved worth? That amount is more subjective than a price-per-hour example but it’s worth considering what that’s worth to you. Canva for business is a great money saver, but I don’t think anyone could say it’s going to save you time or energy.
The Bottom Line
So, can you use Canva for business? The answer is well, yeah, of course. The question you should be asking yourself is should you be using Canva for business based on the concerns above, and does it make sense for your business and your goals. We’re always here if and when you decide it’s not your best option.