Are you looking for Canva alternatives for your DIY Graphic Design? We've become more adept at using visual content tools to create our own marketing and social media images – often using more than one tool to do so. In this post I share a number of tools you might consider adding to your toolkit along with Canva.
I'll walk you through a desktop tools or apps that are alternatives to Canva. Try them – they might serve your visual content needs in new or different ways! There's no reason why you can't have a number of tools like Canva in your arsenal.
BY DONNA MORITZ | 20 AUGUST, 2018 | CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS
Before we start with the Canva alternatives, let's talk a little about why I love DIY graphic design tools so much for creating visual content.
We've come a long way from ClipArt!
My interest in visual content tools sparked in 2012 when introduced to a photo editing tool called Picmonkey. It was my first experience with a tool that allowed me to create visual content that looked more like a designer had created it and less like I'd used ClipArt (I shudder to think of ClipArt even being an option back then… or even Publisher… remember that? Yikes!)
Suffice to say, I was in heaven. I was able to create effects that attracted eyeballs to my visuals, and some of my earliest blog posts were about Picmonkey. Over time my arsenal of tools grew to include Canva when it first launched (I was the 200th-and-something user way back when it was in Beta) and other apps like Over, more DIY tools like Easil and video tools too, like Wave.
Canva changed things up for all of us, allowing us to to create visuals using templates. Resizing images for various platforms became my friend! And since then they've grown to have millions of users.
By the time I discovered Canva, my blog had already pivoted to focus almost entirely on visual content tools and visual platforms. Since then, I've had the opportunity to test and review dozens of visual tools (many of them Canva alternatives) – because a key focus of Socially Sorted is to show you what's out there so you can find the right DIY visual tools for your business.
I often get asked by my community about Canva alternatives, because you are looking for new and different features. Or maybe you're looking for additional tools like Canva because you love new tools! Or perhaps you're looking for something to complement Canva, because I know many of my audience love and use it.
So, it was time for me to write a post for you all! I've rounded up 7 Canva alternatives that all have different features you might like:
7 Best Canva Alternatives for DIY Graphic Design.
Here are 7 great Canva alternatives to play with. The focus is on desktop tools as that's how I like to design. I find it too fiddly using my thumbs on a phone unless I need to whip up a quick image. You might be different – but I wanted to be clear that I am not focusing on mobile apps (although of course some of these tools do have mobile versions).
Let's jump in:
Your DIY Design Secret Weapon – Easil is the Drag-and-Drop Design tool that helps you create Visual Content SO good it looks like a Pro designed it.
If you've been following my blog for a while, you'll have heard me talk about Easil. I discovered Easil in 2016 when I was sick of all the DIY templates starting to look a bit “same same”.
Easil stood out to me initially (and still does) because of the sheer quality of the templates. I started to use it more and more, and it's been my primary go-to visual design tool for well over a year now. I even joined their team recently as Chief Storyteller because I like what they are doing so much.
Easil recently changed the game for DIY Design Tools and it's my pick for the best Canva alternative, with their new team features including brand locking and brand kit (see below). You can design at a basic level OR take it up a notch and use designer-level features like Layers, Design Merge (merging elements of different designs) and Text Effects. So much so that many designers love designing in Easil but it's awesome for non-designers as it's so easy to get started.
Easil is always creating new templates and keeping ahead of social media trends – for instance they have a huge selection of Instagram Story templates. Match this up with the sheer professional quality of the templates, and it's a win for me.
Let's take a look at some of the other features that made me love Easil:
Easil has a lot of NEW game-changing features, including Teams, Brand Kits and Brand Locking that I am LOVING! Check them out:
- Brand Kit (upload your logo, fonts, colors and even images!)
- Brand Locking – Lock your brand with Brand Locking and Brand Permissions. Create templates for your entire team and be sure they won't mess them up!
- Teams – add team members to access your team assets and control how they can access, edit, share and create team assets.
- High Quality, Professional, Editable Templates – designed by professional designers so they are commercially ready and don't give you that “cookie cutter” feeling that you've seen them all before. Easil has no particular style so the templates are always edgy.
- Templates are All-Inclusive – All templates are inclusive so even if you're on a free subscription and you access a template, you don't pay extra for hidden elements. If the image or icon is in the template, it's included.
- Unique Editing Tools – It has a whole bunch of features that I can't find elsewhere like:
- Text Effects Tools – including neon/glow effect, drop shadow and text masking (adding images to text or shapes)
- Color Palette Generator – pulls in a selection of colors from your image to use in your design.
- Tables – you can use the Tables feature to create and write ebooks or create menus. So handy for laying out text!
- Transparent PNG – create designs with transparent backgrounds in just one click.
- Advanced Design Tools – including the ability to work in layers, group elements and merge design elements from other templates.
- Folders and Favourites – you can store your designs in folders as well as logos, illustrations, images and assets.
- GIF Maker – you can animate images, photos, text, icons and more for really unique GIF animations. Unlike Canva's GIFs where you can only really animate text or elements in a few set ways, you can get creative with Easil using photos, text, icons and text effects.
- EasilStock – This is Easil's exclusive series of stock images – included at no extra charge on ‘Plus’ and ‘Edge’ subscriptions. They are a breath of fresh air when it comes to stock images, prefect for industry or entrepreneurial content. And they add new ones all the time!
- Print Services – Australia-only at present but this may well expand to other countries. You can print flyers, business cards, posters or banners… straight from Easil!
- Great Support – Easil's graphic designers actually jump in on support when necessary, which is super useful when you are not a designer… to help you learn how to DIY effectively.
I also love that Easil is intuitive in that you just have to click on your image or text and the exact tool kit or “Action Bar” you need pops up in the dashboard area. It's slick!
For many reasons, I really struggle with how to compare Easil to Canva as I think it is closer to designer tools from Adobe than a DIY Design tool … Easil is kind of doing its own thing which is refreshing. It's definitely one of the best Canva alternatives available to us right now. Many members of my community actually use both of these awesome tools.
Here's how the pricing and features work:
Easil has a Free Plan, and two paid tiers (Easil Plus and Easil Edge).
- Free Plan – this gives you access to their Free range of Editable Templates, Stock Images and Graphic Elements as well as basic Text effects like Drop Shadow and Glow. You can also work in layers and groups and upload your own images.
- Plus Plan – is $7.50 USD per month. This gives you access to all of the features on the Free Plan as well as well as 5000+ more All-inclusive Templates, Transparent PNG images, animated GIFs, High-res PDF download, Design Merge, Store Designs in Folders and Brand Elements in Favorites, Resizing Tool, Text Masking, Uploading Your Own Fonts and Unlimited Free use of 1500+ Free EasilStock Images.
- Edge Plan – is $59 USD per month and includes everything in Plus as well as 10,000 Industry and Event specific templates + Priority Support.
Every plan on Easil gives you access to free stock images as well as a huge library of cost-effective pay-per-use stock images.
Watch this Space: I'm loving what Easil is doing in terms of their new Brand Kit, Teams and Brand Locking. I'll be sharing more about this with you soon!
You can try Easil here. It's just $7.50USD per month!
Ridiculously Simple image creation for social media marketers, bloggers and small businesses.
Stencil is a graphic design tool that is all about creating social media images easily and quickly (as well as ad images, marketing images and email images). It's designed to be a tool that you can access quickly in your browser to produce a quick image and post it, so I wanted to include it as one of the Canva alternatives.
One of the features I do like about Stencil is their huge library of quotes that you can use to quickly import into your image and create fresh content. I have used these many times before when trying to plan what to post for images. The quote section has a great search function too so you can search by the person saying the quote OR by quote keyword or phrase.
Stencil's template selection is much smaller than other tools on this list of Canva alternatives, but for quick, easy posts, it's a basic selection to get you started.
I also love that you can access so many fonts with their Google Web Font integration and it has a solid selection of images/photos and design icons. So, if you wanted to go beyond creating a quick image, you could get more creative.
- Stock photos – Stencil has 1.5 million stockphotos (Royalty Free, CCO)
- Template designs – use 650+ Templates to create images quickly and easily.
- Huge library over icons and Graphics – over 1 million of them!
- Large range of custom social media sizes – Stencil has 41 custom sizes including social media sizes, ready to go.
- Massive Quote Library – Stencil has 100,000 quotes you can use to instantly create quote images. Use the chrome extension to add quotes straight from the web, into a Stencil canvas to create images.
- 2,300 Google Web Fonts – never run out of font inspiration or upload your own.
- Share images to Social Platforms – create, preview and share images to a range of social platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Buffer and Bitly.
Stencil starts with a Free Plan where you can create 10 images per month (with access to limited photos and icons). You can then upgrade to:
- Pro Plan – for $9 USD per month and get access to all the features to create 50 images per month (including font uploads, access to photos and graphics, logo/watermarks, keep up to 100 favourites, 650+ templates, and premium support.
- Unlimited Plan – for $12 USD per month for everything in the Pro Plan plus unlimited images and favorites.
Easy-to-use design tool for creating stunning visuals.
Crello is a newer kid on the block and is the DIY design tool from the team at Depositphotos. At face value it reminds you of Canva with a similar tool kit so it definitely makes this list of Canva alternatives.
But it's different to Canva in the sense that you can go one step further and create animated visuals with the Animation Maker tool. Sure, you can create animated visuals in Canva, but as I said above, they are very restrictive (just text and elements flying in). Crello allows a lot more creative freedom with animation.
But let's take a look at the visual design features first (and why I've included it as one of the Canva alternatives).
Next to Easil, Crello is probably the best tool in this list for having a decent template library. Crello also has one of the best selections of illustration-style graphic elements I have seen anywhere. A large percentage of Crello's templates are “illustration” style vs just photo-based so it's a different kind of look, and one that can stand out on social media.
It's also one of the only tools in this list to have templates for Facebook Cover Videos. Using Crello's Animation Maker, you can create some pretty cool Facebook Cover Videos that catch the eye!
Here are the key features in Crello:
- Plenty of choice for design size and format – Crello has dozens of image and animated formats for resizing, including Facebook Cover Video.
- Templates – Crello has over 20,000 templates and 240 fonts to choose from. Templates can be searched under size or theme with a large number of themed template collections.
- Massive image library – millions of images can be accessed in Crello via Deposit Photos, a well respected stock photo library.
- Photo Editor – add photo effects like filters (ready-made or make-your-own), color effects, layers, transparency, cropping, blur effects.
- Design Tools – add text, stickers, animations and more using layers to make multi-level images.
- Animation Maker – this feature is the key difference to Crello and brings your designs to life. To access the full-featured Animation Maker suite you'll need the Pro plan (see below) but it includes a huge selection of “Animated” templates as well as thousands of free animated objects
Crello has three pricing levels – Forever Free, Advanced and Pro.
Forever Free gives you access to the features above for creating static images, flyers, posters, business cards etc – including free templates, photo editor and fonts. You can create limited animated images in that you are restricted to 1080 x 1080 animated posts from the template selection (you can't resize or add animated objects) and includes the Created in Crello branding on download.
Advanced is $79.99USD per year and lets you download all design formats and access all 20,000 templates and graphics, you can upload 5 images to use in illustrations in designs and one custom font, and access to 5 stock images per month. Videos created on this plan include a watermark.
Pro is Crello's best option at $16.67 USD per month, so it's more expensive than most of the tools listed here including Easil ($7.50 per month) and Canva ($12.95/month). With a Pro account you also get all the features of the Animation Maker including full access to all animated formats (Animated Posts, FB Video cover and Full HD Video), unlimited commercial usage on all animations (no watermarks or Crello branding) and thousands of free animated objects. With their collection of animations and video backgrounds, you have plenty of scope for creativity… or just use templates. You can also resize your animation designs and upload your own videos or images.
Photo editor. Design Maker. Idea Realizer.
Picmonkey began life as a photo editing tool but it can be so much more, which is why I have still included this on my list of Canva alternatives.
As I said above, Picmonkey was one of the first tools that I used where I could see the light in terms of DIY Graphic design. The tool (and their team) has always been cheeky and kinda loveable and they are always adding fun features and graphic elements. Here's a few of them:
- Basic and Advanced Photo editing tools – Cropping tool, exposure sliders, color tools for brightening/correcting/auto-correcting color, sharpen tool, rotate tool and resize tool for social media, print and web. Picmonkey also does transparent PNG which is handy.
- Photo Effects and Filters – Tried and true photo effect filters, Basic photo effects like softening/frosted edges, Black and White effects, Vintage camera effects, Paintbox color effects, Light effects, Artsy photo effects. You can also use Layers to erase or mix and mingle effects.
- Add Text to Photos – it's easy to use Picmonkey's text tool to add text, graphics and textures to your images. One feature they have that you don't see in many other tools is circular-shaped text (awesome!).
- Touch Up effects – change eye color, face features, whiten teeth or remove blemishes on photos.
- Collage Maker – a range of flexible customizable grid layouts/collage layouts for photos (in different combinations that you can easily edit or add text).
- Graphics – This was always one of my favourite things about Picmonkey. They have a huge selection of graphics, vectors, icons and effects that allow you to create custom images… literally thousands of free vector illustrations, labels, seasonal graphics and icons (it's a great place to come for Christmas or Halloween). You can scale all the images easily or layer them to create something cool.
- Templates – This is a newer feature for Picmonkey. They now have a basic collection of design templates for different social media and design projects.
It might not be an exact match for Canva, but it's a good tool to have in your tool kit and to consider as one of the Canva alternatives. Especially if you are not Photoshop savvy and want to be able to access cool photo editing features.
Picmonkey has a free trial where you can take it for a spin for 7 days (the previous Forever Free plan was discontinued).
After that, you can upgrade to the Basic Plan for $5.99 USD per month ($71.88 billed annually) or you can choose to pay $7.99 and be billed each month. This unlocks the entire Picmonkey workflow, so you can create images with effects, editing tools, templates, graphics, touch up tools, textures, frames, fonts and store images in the Hub.
The Pro Plan gives you the most Picmonkey features with everything included in the Basic Plan plus unlimited Hub Storage for your designs and PDF export. This plan is $9.99 USD per month, billed on an annual basis which means $119.88 per year. You can't pay monthly for Pro.
5. Adobe Spark
Adobe Spark Post is the fun, fast and easy way to create stunning graphics for all occasions.