I use Canva. I pay for it… for now.
Not too long ago it occurred to me that the easiest and fastest way to increase my net income was to get rid of unnecessary expenses.
I spent about one-week slashing expenses – canceling subscription software, lowering server costs, reducing outsourcing costs etc.
I canceled my Canva account as well but 2 days later I needed it for a website. I relente,d paid another month and continue to pay monthly.
But, my obsession with getting my business expenses as low as possible inspired me to check out some Canva alternatives – both free and paid options.
The good news is there are many free options and other paid options.
Will I switch?
I’m not sure yet. My problem is I’m comfortable with Canva and it’s not that expensive. I’ll have to see what I do. At the end of the day I like Canva, but there are other options.
Table of Contents
Free Canva Alterantives
Please note that some of the free options also have premium versions with more features that you need to pay for.
BeFunky app gives you three modes and control over your graphic design, photo editing, and collages. You can also use a desktop browser to build your images. Easily save your work to Dropbox, computer, Google Drive, or directly share them to your social media.
Social media templates: Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr, Etsy, and Pinterest
- Easy to navigate
- Supports major social media sites and templates
- Some completed images don’t require an account to download
- Free version is limited to 125 photo effects
If you’re familiar with Canva, Desygner’s interface won’t be difficult to grasp. You can use the app or the browser version to whip up images. Unlike other apps, this one supports multiple file types, including PPT and PSD. You can save them as PNG or JPG too.
Social media templates: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Etsy, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram
- Millions of free images and graphics
- Over a thousand templates to design cards, banners, invitations, logos, marketing campaigns, and more.
- No creation restrictions per month
- PDF import and export requires their paid service ($6.95/mo)
- Can’t use your own fonts without paying
The Stencil free version will allow you to quickly create 10 images a month from hundreds of social media sized templates. They don’t restrict your access to their 1 million royalty free photos, quote database, icons, Google fonts, or other helpful features. Most of their perks are social media focused, and they’re more about speed than graphic design.
Social media templates: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Instagram
- 10 images per month works for many small and personal businesses; also great for non-commercial use
- Upload your own fonts
- Covers major social media sites and various dimensions, including headers and posts
- Browser extensions
- Paid plans are flexible
- Limited to social media templates and sizes
- Free version limits access to photos and icons
4. Shutterstock image editor
If you use Shutterstock for stock images, it offers a built-in image editing platform. I find it’s slow and cumbersome, but it’s better than nothing. I only use it to adjust image sizes before downloading but it can definitely do more than that.
- Social media post presets
- Slow and cumbersome
Fotojet combines great features with practicality. You can use your own fonts too, which is ideal for businesses focusing on branding their content. The company offers plenty of templates that range from invitations to social media ads. They have two plans, but the free version will suit most personal use and small to medium businesses.
Social media templates: YouTube, Google+, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Tumblr
- Easy to use
- Provides tutorials for creating a multitude of products, including brochures, posters, and flyers
- Various templates for online and offline projects
- Save project is only available to paid subscribers
- Custom canvas sizes unavailable for free accounts
If social media images are your primary concerns, you might be interested in Pablo by Buffer. At first glance, the site might appear simplistic, but it’s an easy to navigate interface that will have you designing custom content in no time.
Social media templates: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram
- Contains premade quotes or supply your own.
- Can use their photos or your own
- Offers basic editing effects
- Limited to social media
- Desktop only application
Easil offers more than social media templates, so it’s a versatile tool that will allow you to create personal items in addition to business flyers, posters, and menus. For medium and small businesses, this allows you to easily cross brand in one place.
Social media templates: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest
- Upload your images or use their free stock
- Editable templates
- Free fonts
- Need to pay to access many of the useful features, such as transparent downloads
Polarr might be in a league of its own. Many users consider it an alternative to Photoshop; however, you can easily use the photo editor to design your social media banners, post images, and invitations. The free filters knock Instagram’s out of the park, and you can easily import and export right from the app to your social media.
While they do offer free and paid versions, the paid version would be better suited for more advanced users.
Social media templates: none included
- Phone/tablet app, online browser, or desktop app: you choose how to use it.
- Video editor
- Fully customizable
- Doesn’t come with stock images, fonts, or templates
Owned by Corel, Gravit offers three easy to use applications: Klex, Designer, and Cloud. Klex is the non-designer tool, making it perfect for anyone to use for a multitude of needs. Cloud might be the preferred choice if you’ve used Gravit before. Designer will be more suited toward users with graphic design skills. The best part is each one is free.
Social media templates: all social media, plus custom sizes
- Community support and tutorials
- Three apps to choose from
- Templates available in Klex
- Without digging, you might not know which app to use
Snappa is an all-purpose graphic design tool puts control in the user’s hands. It has features perfect for small to medium-sized businesses and organizations. You’re not limited in your design on the free version either, but if you need more than five images a month, you’ll need to upgrade to their paid version.
Social media templates: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, SoundCloud, Google+, email, and Twitter.
- No learning curve
- Offers over 5,000 templates
- Unlimited design options including eBook covers, infographics, social media headers, and more
- Limits on free accounts: downloads/per month, social media accounts, templates, users, and access to photos and graphics.
- No custom fonts on free version
At first glance, Fotor looks like a one-stop shop for your entire graphic and photo needs. That’s hard to argue with over 300 million users. Whether it’s an advertisement or personal invitations, they have you covered. You can choose between the free version and the pro package; you can break down their packages further into paid and free online and Windows versions of the app.
Social media templates: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, email, LinkedIn, and Etsy
- Templates and tutorials galore
- Built in photo editor, fonts, and stickers
- Multiple platform support
- Website can be misleading unless you dig through pages to find the pricing
- Distracting ads can interfere with creative flow on the free versions
The Aviary app brings many features of Photoshop onto your mobile device. Aviary by Adobe allows you to fine tune any image, manipulate, and create stunning images for business or personal use.
Social media templates: none
- Simple to use, unlike Photoshop
- Syncs to their Cloud
- No templates
- No stock photo access
Animated designs offer a fun approach to online social media and professional websites. You could spend hours in other programs and still not come out with an eye-catching design. With Crello, it’s a snap. Plus, they have all your other graphic design needs covered too.
Social media templates: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube
- Animated posts
- Royalty free stock images
- Like many apps, if you want the premium features, you have to pay for them.
- Watermarks without purchasing Pro
14. Mac Computer Image Editor
When I need to quickly resize/crop an image, add some basic text, shapes or arrows, I use the free image editor that came with my Mac.
- Fast: open image and the editor is immediately available.
- Free: I should say free if you have a Mac.
- Limited features: Can’t make collages, limited fonts, no icons. It’s a basic editor.
Paid Canva Alternatives
While it does have a free demo option, your images will contain watermarks. That might be fine if you’d prefer to try before you subscribe, but few users will want that on their finished design. For $25.00/month, you get full access to RelayThat’s template library, advanced editing tools, and they feature a Plan Instagram that allows you to envision or preplan posts.
Social media templates: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google AdSense
- No design skills needed
- Over 350,000 royalty free downloads from their library
- Over 2,000 SmartLayouts
- Other Canva alternatives deliver the same if not more for less money
- Limited to 5 projects at a time on the $25.00 plan
I never got into Photoshop. I bought an old license that came on disc. These days you can get Photoshop on the cloud but it will cost you monthly.
Photoshop is the top dog for editing images. The sky really is the limit but it’s also a complicated platform to use.
You could spend years learning this behemoth. However, you can create utterly amazing graphics with it.
Social media templates: none
- Ability to create custom and one-of-a-kind products
- Can easily create brushes and macros to streamline branding
- Plenty of Photoshop communities available offline and online to share tips, tutorials, and resources
- In order to use any templates, you’ll need to search and import them from a 3rd party
- Steep learning curve and confusing terminology for average and beginning users
- A pricey investment for a non-graphic designer
I had a Piktochart subscription for quite a while. I didn’t use it as much as I could have, because I don’t have much of an eye for graphic design. However, if you have a decent design eye, Piktochart is great for creating infographics and charts.
While you can experiment free, you really shouldn’t consider their free version unless your budget doesn’t allow for a paid subscription. Your choices will be otherwise limited, and your images will contain watermarks. Of course, if that doesn’t concern you, start with the free version.
Social media templates: none
- Create stunning infographics from premade templates or scratch
- Flexible pricing and student, non-profit, and teacher discounts
- Over 4,000 icons and images for free
- Free trial is available for their highest plan
- Your plan dictates your upload limit
- Watermark removal is in the middle tier plan, making little difference between the first tier paid and free version.
- Limited to only infographics
They used to be the go-to free resource, but if you’ve used PicMonkey in the past, you’ll need to pay or start their 7-day free trial. However, they’re still one of the least expensive companies when it comes to unlocking all their features. Plans start at $7.99/month, and they offer annual discounts and team subscriptions.
You can see their selection and quality of templates without an account, but they’re not entirely clear about what you receive access to with a paid subscription. Use the trial to see if it’s a fit for your needs before purchasing.
Social media templates: Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, and Pinterest
- Simple interface
- Photo customization and touch-up tools
- Templates, filters, and fonts
- Used frequently for creating beautiful collages, infographics, and more
- Mobile app or desktop access
- Nontransparent pricing compared to other sites
If you don’t like dealing with images no matter how easy the software, try DesignPickle.
I used DesignPickle for a few months and was reasonably pleased with the service. I suggest trying one or two graphic projects first and if it’s good, then sign up for the monthly service.
These days, I’ve simplified my graphics needs so I don’t need DesignPickle.
- Saves you time
- Decent quality
- Limited project scope
- Not world-class quality.
20. Limitless Designs
LimitlessDesigns is a flat fee, unlimited graphic design service. With its Unlimited Plan you get a dedicated designer who can fulfill unlimited designs and revisions each month for just $299.
Your dedicated designer will learn your preferences and can fulfill any small design requests you need. Examples of common design requests we receive from their clients are:
- Banner ads
- Social media graphics
- Social media profile cover photos
- T-shirt designs
- Cropping, resizing, & editing
- Business cards
Use the service to supplement your in-house designer so they can focus on high-level tasks or use the service while you scale up your business until you can hire an in-house designer.
You’re never locked into a contract so you can cancel at any time and they offer a 14 day satisfaction guarantee which means you can get a full refund within 14 days if you’re not satisfied with the service.
21. Design Wizard
Design Wizard is an excellent graphic design software which allows you to personalize high-quality images and videos in seconds. It has excellent features such as custom colour palette, free font library and free image storage. Don’t forget the resize button which allows you to change the size of an image quickly.
Social Media Templates: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Tumblr, Etsy and Pinterest.
- Over 1 million high-quality images
- Resize button
- Excellent integrations with Hubspot, Marketo, Buffer and Intercom
- Free mini-plan available.
What do I use?
Currently, I use Canva and the Mac image editor.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes.
Hyperbole? Maybe, but go check it out to see what some readers say.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.