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Which Is the Better Free Graphic Design Tool: Canva or Adobe Express?

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There´s a great battle going on in the graphic design world, between two tools that are leaving a lot of graphic designers out of work. We are talking about Canva and Adobe Express, two of the most famous examples of a great “fast and intuitive” design tools in the market, both with a “free version”, but also offering a much more complete experience if you pay a dozen dollars a year.

In fact, there are statistics that show that in some countries, including the US, these kind of software are creating a great sort of “Great Depression” scenario for many old school graphic designers, since now an influencer or even a small business owner can create their own content in a matter of minutes, even with the free version of these programs.

The intuitive part of both software allow people that have little to no idea in graphic design to create great communication pieces, both for creating flyers and print content, but also to design and publish social media content such as posts and stories for Instagram. This sort of revolution in graphic design has created this ongoing battle to capture this market, with a potential to absorb a great deal of clients, who find in these tools a great ally to improve their business.

The career of the future

This new way of creating content is so popular at the moment that a lot of enterprises are creating whole divisions to deal with the creation of official communication pieces, as well as business designs. This includes in some cases some old school graphic designers, by mostly the people working there have completed courses in Canva or Adobe Express, allowing them to perform greatly as a sort of “para-designer”, who will complete the job in the same manner and in some cases, even faster than a regular designer.

It´s clear that this new phenomena wasn´t really possible without these tools, which really simplify the job of a graphic designer by creating templates that allow you to find “predesigns” of pieces such as Instagram or Facebook stories, but also content for Twitter, Snapchat or even for TikTok. The possibility to add animation pieces, or even premade clips, make them a great tool for any social media platform, particularly those that require a lot of design pieces in a small gap of time.

In both Canva and Adobe Express, the variety and complexity of templates are one of the main attractions, even when some of them are locked behind a “pay wall”, many find the way to go over them, by adding their own designs instead of those you require to pay for. There´s a great array of stock graphics that can be used to replace those “premium” graphics to avoid paying for something you can get for free.

Effects and filters

There´s a lot to find in both of these programs, but another great attraction are the effects and filters that can be added to those communication pieces. In this regard, there´s a slight but significant advantage in favor of Adobe Express, since this powerful software is also connected with the rest of the Adobe Creative Suite software, you can create much more powerful filters and effects with tools like Adobe After Effects.

On the other hand, in the case of Canva, it has some support to create your own filters, but the process is complicated. You´ll have more luck trying with any of the online tools to create such effects, than trying to use what Canva has to offer. But not to worry if you have started to learn this program, they have a great selection of effects and filter to choose from, and unless you are working for a very complex business, the chances are that you might never need anything more than what is there to choose from.

Interface and ease of use

In this regard there´s a little advantage to Canva´s favor, since they have been perfecting their platform for some time now, improving it and making it much more simple to use. This means that a small business owner as well as a grandma trying to create a card for her grandsons, will be able to use it without any problems. There´s also a lot more than interface to tell about this program, they also allow you to save your designs so you can come back and work on them, to create something similar about another topic.

Adobe Express lacks a little in this regard, even when some people speculate that this software is a copy of Canva. Yet, their focus on multi program edition of a piece can be sometimes confusing and might require a better level of understanding of the rest of the programs to use it effectively. But in hindsight there´s much more power behind what you can create with this software, particularly if you are working for a more complex client, who might require more advanced communicational pieces, or even prefer to create richer templates to personalize the client experience.

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