As of 2022, 174,483 people were employed in the graphic design industry. While many graphic designers rely on powerful tools such as Adobe Photoshop to complete their work, many amateur and professional designers are relying on tools such as Canva and Figma.
If you need to design graphics, website and app designs, or prototypes and wireframes, Canva and Figma are two popular tools that you should know about. However, each of these tools won’t be right for every purpose, so you’ll need to understand the differences before choosing one to use.
Read on for a guide that will help you decide between Canva vs Figma and help you understand which is better for designing graphics.
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What Is Canva?
Canva is a web-based graphic design tool that works in the cloud, allowing users to access it from anywhere. The app has many different features that allow users to make great graphics for just about any purpose.
Canva has many different templates built in and offers easy-to-use drag-and-drop tools. Designers of all skill levels can use Canva to create graphics with ease thanks to Canva’s simple interface.
Many types of users rely on Canva to make great graphics including individuals, small businesses, non-profits, and more.
What Is Figma?
Figma is a powerful tool that is made for creating and editing vector graphics. It’s a prototyping tool that allows users to collaborate to create interface designs such as websites, apps, logos, and more.
Figma is a UX/UI tool rather than a graphic design tool like Canva, so its usage is a bit more sophisticated. While Canva provides a lot of easy-to-use features and comes with many templates built-in, Figma requires you to start from the ground up. This allows you to create designs and interfaces that are perfectly suited to your brand.
Comparing the Main Features
Although Canva and Figma are similar and are both used by designers, they have a lot of differences. Below we’ll compare some of the key pros and cons of Canva and Figma.
One of the main things to understand when choosing between Canva and Figma is what the software is used for.
Generally speaking, Canva is best used for social media graphics such as Facebook banners, Instagram Posts, Instagram Stories, and other social media graphics. However, Canva can be used for just about any type of graphic that you need to make, and there are templates for many different types of designs such as calendars, flyers, and stationery.
Figma, on the other hand, is intended for user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design. Keep in mind that Figma is typically used for interactive designs. Anyone that’s designing websites or apps, for example, will probably be better suited for using Figma.
Like Canva, however, Figma can serve other purposes such as creating Instagram stories as well.
Another thing to keep in mind when choosing one of these tools to use is how accessible they are. Fortunately, both of these tools are usable on a variety of different platforms.
Canva and Figma are both browser-based tools that can be used from anywhere on a variety of different devices. You can use Canva or Figma in a browser but can also get an app for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.
One difference to note, however, is that with Canva, you can save files locally. With Figma, you’ll need to have an internet connection in order to save your work.
Ease of Use
Another thing to consider when choosing a tool to use is the complexity of the interface and the ease of use.
In this category, Canva is a clear winner. Just about anyone can start using Canva and understand how it works immediately. Canva is very welcoming to graphic design beginners and the tools are very intuitive and easy to understand.
Additionally, there are also plenty of tutorials available and you can use the search function to easily find what you need at any given time.
Figma, on the other hand, is more difficult to get started with. While it’s not extremely hard to use compared to many tools and software that are out there, there’s a bit more of a learning curve compared to Canva. You’ll need to spend some time getting used to how everything works and will probably need to use the tutorials before you can start making good use of Figma.
One of the differences to think about between Canva and Figma is the number of drawing tools that are available.
Keep in mind that the drawing tools available on Canva are very limited and you won’t have many to choose from. You can find line and shape tools in Canva’s Elements menu, but there isn’t a pen tool to use. You can’t really draw anything freehand the way you can in other editing programs.
Figma, on the other hand, has more drawing tools and features. Figma features both a pen and pencil tool so that you can easily create and customize your drawings. There are also shape tools that you can use as well.
If you plan on doing some drawing within the app itself rather than importing from other programs, then using Figma is probably a bit of a better choice than Canva.
Image Editing Features
As far as image editing goes, neither program is quite as advanced as software such as Adobe Photoshop. However, there are some good editing features to use.
Canva has a bit more in the way of image editing than Figma. With Canva, you’ll find a lot of filters and toggles that you can use to edit images and you can do some basic cropping and image resizing as well. You can also do a bit more if you opt for Canva Pro rather than the free version.
Figma is pretty limited when it comes to editing tools but you can use blend modes, change opacity, and more. Figma isn’t really ideal for image editing, however, since it’s mostly used for UX/UI design rather than editing images.
Apps and Plugins
With either Canva or Figma, you won’t be left wanting when it comes to plug-ins and app integrations.
With Canva, you can easily use external elements in a couple of different ways. In the Elements panel, you can find many different graphics, illustrations, and audio and video files to add to your designs. You can also use Canva’s Apps tab to connect various apps such as Pexels and GIPHY.
Another great feature is that you can easily import to social media or post to social media directly from Canva.
With Figma, there are many different plugins available on the community page. Plugins can be created and added by anyone and you can download plugins at will. You can also make use of external apps with Figma for a variety of purposes.
You can use Unsplash to find stock images, for example, and can use external apps for wireframes, placeholder text, and more.
While both Canva and Figma allow for some collaboration with team members, Figma’s features are a little more advanced.
With Canva, you can have other team members work on your design with you and can send them your design via a direct link or email. You can work on projects in real-time and can leave comments for other team members on them.
Figma was made with collaboration and teamwork in mind, so you can easily see a project from beginning to end within the app. Almost every part of the app is optimized for collaboration.
You’ll be able to work together in real-time. You can also link to Slack and can call and communicate with your team easily.
Both Canva and Figma can be useful for a variety of different budgets and there are various plans to choose from. Both tools have free versions that allow you to do quite a bit.
With Canva, there’s also a pro version that costs $12.99 per month. There’s also an enterprise version that costs $30 per user and requires you to have 25 people minimum.
Figma offers a professional version for $12 a month, an organization plan for $45 per month, and an enterprise solution for $75 per month.
With so many different pricing options available with each tool, you’re likely to be able to use either one just fine no matter what your budget may be.
You should also consider the templates that are available when you choose a design program to use as well. There’s a clear split between Canva and Figma in this regard.
There are many Canva templates that you can use for a variety of different projects including social media posts, flyers, e-books, logos, and much more. You can easily access these templates and apply them to your designs with very little effort on your part.
While there are plenty of free Canva templates available, keep in mind that you’ll get a lot more if you upgrade to Canva Pro.
Figma, on the other hand, doesn’t have much to offer in the form of templates. Figma is better suited for starting a design completely from scratch and you’ll get a lot of freedom with the program.
While there are some templates in Figma, they won’t really add a lot to your design. The templates are very basic and just include the core structure of a design.
However, keep in mind you can visit the Figma community to find more templates that you can use for free.
When using either Canva or Figma, you should consider how the end result will turn out.
Typically, when using Canva, your designs will be a bit more cookie-cutter. They likely won’t have as much originality as when using a program such as Figma that forces you to start with a blank slate.
While you can create very original designs with either program, typically users who use Canva tend to rely on templates a lot more. They’ll end up using colors, fonts, and layouts that share a lot in common with other designers who are using the platform.
Because Figma has fewer templates and graphic design features available, you’ll end up creating more unique designs, although they’ll take more work.
Making Your Choice Between Canva Vs Figma
So should you use Canva or Figma when designing graphics? The answer to that questions will depend on exactly what type of graphics and designs you plan to make.
For creating graphics such as flyers, social media posts, infographics, and other types of shareable content, you’ll likely want to rely on Canva. Canva provides all of the easy-to-use features you need to create great graphics quickly and efficiently while relying on the many templates that are available. Canva is particularly great to use if you’re brand new to graphic design.
On the other hand, Figma is well worth using for certain purposes as well. Figma is a tool that is primarily intended for UX/UI design and allows you to create website and app designs, wireframes, prototypes, and more.
While it’s not quite as easy to use as Canva, Figma is still fairly easy to get the hang of. Be sure to consider Figma if you need more sophisticated features and don’t need to rely on the templates that Canva offers.
Getting the Most Out of These Graphic Design Tools
Remember that when choosing between Canva vs Figma, you don’t have to rush your decision. Because both tools have impressive free versions, you can test them out first.
Try each of the free versions first and then consider upgrading to a professional plan after you decide which tool you like the most.
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