An Easy And FREE Alternative To Adobe InDesign

Downloaded a free trial of Adobe InDesign and stared at your screen as soon as you opened it? Now what do I do?? Maybe you’re on a budget and the subscription pricing prevented you from purchasing. If so, here is an online design platform for creating high-quality designs that is so simple to use and best of all, there’s an option to use it for free!

Adobe InDesign may not be for everyone. Maybe you don’t need to design newsletters or magazines with complex layouts. Maybe you don’t care to deal with “pica”. What the heck is pica??

Maybe you’re no graphic designer, but still want an easy way to create an eye-catching invitation for your child’s birthday party. Or create a YouTube thumbnail for your channel of videos smooshing your fingers in slime. (I still can’t believe that’s a thing).

Enter Canva.


Canva is a web-based design tool with a drag-and-drop interface to create:

  • Postcards
  • Posters
  • Business Cards
  • Letterheads
  • Invoices
  • Labels
  • Brochures
  • Menus
  • and more…


  • Facebook covers, posts, event covers
  • Instagram posts
  • Etsy cover photo and shop icon
  • LinkedIn banners
  • Google+ header
  • YouTube channel art
  • Pinterest graphics
  • and more…

The featured image for this post was created in Canva. The Canva logo and furry mascot with foam hand image are free. Cute, huh?

Canva is perfect if you want to create high-quality documents and images quickly and easily. You can create from scratch or choose from a huge selection of templates to be edited as well as photos and illustrations.

If you want to create from scratch, but have no design experience, you can go through the Graphic Design Tutorials. There are 30 short Canva tutorials and I was able to complete them all in a day. Following the tutorials will also help you become familiar with the basic Canva tools. When you complete all tutorials, you can collect a certificate of achievement.



There are 3 plans. They have a chart on their website, but I wanted to quickly recreate my own using Canva of course!

Note: It’s not listed on their pricing chart, but with Canva For Work, you get the option of having transparent backgrounds in your images when you download them.


When purchasing images there are 3 licenses available:

  • One-time use: For $1, remove watermark for 24 hours for a single design
  • Multi-use: For $10, remove watermark and use image in all your designs
  • Extended: For $100, remove watermark and use image in all your designs plus extended printing, resale and seat rights

Click on the links for each license to view the agreement. Canva keeps track of your designs and will close your account if you don’t follow the agreement.


There are 4 file types you can choose from when downloading your designs:

  • JPG
  • PNG (Canva recommends this)
  • PDF – Standard
  • PDF – Print


Canva can also print and deliver your designs within 7 days, even with a free account. These are the file types they can currently print:

  • Invitation – Portrait (5 in x 7 in)
  • Letterhead – US (8.5 in x 11 in)
  • Business Card – US (3.5 in x 2 in)
  • Postcard – US (5.5 in x 4.3 in)
  • Poster – US (18 in x 24 in)
  • Flyer (same dimension as Letterhead)

The current print options are:

  • Single or double-sided printing
  • Paper choices: Standard, Premium, Eco
  • Gloss or Silk finish
  • Quantity

Quantity of prints depends on which file type you want ordered. There is discounted pricing when you order a certain amount.

Shipping seems a little steep. A set of 50 business cards shipped to me is $10. I’m curious of their print quality and will order prints. I’ll share my first impressions  in a future post.


There is now a free Canva app for iPhone and iPad so you can design anywhere whenever you need to. Currently there is no Canva app for Android.


When going through the tutorials, I quickly realized one major con that drove me crazy. It can be frustrating to click on something you don’t want to click on and then accidentally move it. For this reason, a layers panel with the ability to lock any layers would be nice. There is an Arrange feature that allows you to move images forward or back, but I guess I’m just used to working with layers and having a layers panel. In this case, I would mostly use Canva for creating images only, but that’s just me. For projects in which I need to work with multiple layers, I prefer to use Adobe Illustrator or InDesign.

Do you use Canva? What do you use it for and what are your favorite features of using Canva?


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