What is Canva Pro?

If you are reading this article, you are likely an existing or past user of the free version of Canva or, at least, are aware of the existence of this innovative online graphic design program.

With absolutely no prior experience in graphic design, and desperately in need of help with the images on my website, I started using the free version of Canva nearly twelve months ago.  I was so impressed with the program that I quickly switched to the paid version, now known as Canva Pro, and I have to say it is one of the best decisions I have ever made in connection with my online business.  But what exactly is Canva Pro and how does it differ from the free version of Canva?  Let’s see.

What is Canva Pro?

First, what is Canva?  Per  Wikipedia

“Canva is a simplified graphic-design tool, founded in 2012. It uses a drag-and-drop format and provides access to photographs, vector images, graphics, and fonts. It is used by non-designers as well as professionals. The tools can be used for both web and print media design and graphics.”

Canva has both paid and free versions.  Canva Pro (formerly known as Canva for Work) is the paid version.

Who is Canva Pro For?

The (free) Canva program is for anyone who wants to design their own graphics/images for use on their website, social media, or print work.  No prior training or experience in graphic design is required.  Canva Pro is for those who want/need greater functionality than that offered by the free version of Canva.

Although apparently used by some professional graphic designers, Canva is best suited to the keen amateur or occasional user who wants to create their own designs but doesn’t want to incur the expense or experience the steep learning curve involved with some of the more ‘hardcore’ design programs, like Adobe Photoshop.

My wife, Colette, and I are affiliate marketers and we use Canva Pro every day for the images on our website and social media posts.

Canva Pro at a Glance

Name: Canva Pro

Website: https://www.canva.com/

Owner: Founder and CEO – Melanie Perkins

What’s included: Online access to the platform and its graphic design tools

Price: $12.95 per month or $119.40 yearly (equivalent to $9.95 per month)

Upsells: None

Guarantee: None but the regular monthly membership can be canceled at any time

Overall rating (out of 10): 8.8

Recommended?: Yes

Canva Free vs Canva Pro

Here are the principal differences between Canva Pro and Canva Free:

chart showing benefits comparison between canva free and pro

* When billed annually otherwise US$12.95 when billed monthly

Photos and Elements

screenshot showing a selection of canva pro elements

Even with the free version of Canva, you get access to around 200,000 quality photographs, which is a lot.  With Pro, that number goes up to 70,000,000!

The photographs are organized under categories which makes searching for the one you need very easy.

The photographs can be used directly in a design you are creating within Canva or downloaded to your computer for use elsewhere.

‘Elements’ are images, other than photographs, that can be used within your Canva designs.  They include shapes, frames, charts, illustrations, lines, icons (including for social media), and avatars all organized under a wide range of categories.

Canva Free includes a large selection of customizable elements across a broad range of categories but with Canva Pro you get an additional 500,000 premium quality elements included with your membership.


With Canva Free you have a choice of around 500 of the more common fonts to use for text in your designs.  With Canva Pro you get an additional 500 premium fonts that can be used to give your design a truly unique appearance.

Canva Pro also allows you to upload your own fonts, thus giving you even greater versatility.

Brand Kit

The Brand Kit, only available with Pro, allows you to separately store your unique colors, logos, and fonts (i.e. your brand) and which then become the default colors, logos, and fonts (changeable, of course) for all future designs.


The Folders feature allows you to categorize and store your designs, images, and uploads for greater ease of future use.  Several folders are automatically included and set up for both Free and Pro, such as All Your Designs, Uploads, and Purchased.

With Canva Free you are able to set up two additional folders and which goes some way towards allowing you to categorize or store together certain groups of designs and/or images.  However, in Canva Pro you can create as many folders and sub-folders as you want which means you can be super-organized, grouping your designs, images, etc. into multiple categories and sub-categories.  Individual folders can then be easily found and opened from the left-hand sidebar when you are working on a design.

Resize to any Format

This is a great feature that is only available with Canva Pro.  Every time you create a design you are going to be doing it in a single format (size) and there are a huge number of preset formats available in both Free and Pro as well as a ‘custom’ option.  But what if you originally created your design as, say, an Instagram Post and then you join Pinterest and want to use the same design for a Pinterest Graphic.  With Canva Free you basically have to create your design again in the new format but with Canva Pro you can switch to the new format with a single click.

illustration of the same image in both instagram and pinterest formats

Animations and Gifs

screenshot showing style options of canva pro animation feature

With the ever-growing popularity of video and gifs, and only available with Canva Pro, this is a no-brainer, must-have feature.  And it couldn’t be easier to use!  Just create your design in the usual way and then before you download it select the “Animation” option.

This brings up a selection of different animation ‘styles’ all of which can be previewed before you download.  Select one, choose whether to download as a Movie (MP4) or an Animated GIF and then click “Download”.

Because of the type of file you are downloading, the download process takes a little longer than for a regular image but, believe me, the wait is worth it.

Also, remember that the resultant file is going to be a lot bigger than for a regular image so the primary use of this feature is going to be with social media, such as Instagram posts and Facebook video covers rather than on your website.

The animation feature is definitely going to help you in taking your social media to the next level.


The designs you create, the images you upload, and your folders all take up space on Canva’s servers.  With Canva Free you get a respectable 1 GB of storage, but after you have used that you will need to start deleting some of your stored files.  With Canva Pro you get a whopping 100 GB of storage.


With Canva Free you get access to around 8,000 customizable, pre-designed templates that you can utilize to kick-start your design.  With Canva Pro you get 20,000 templates.

Download as Transparency (my favorite feature)

This feature, only available with Pro, allows you to download your newly created image without a background.  This feature has all kinds of uses but, for me, the principal benefit comes when I want to impose one image, for example, a logo, on top of another image.  Without this feature my resultant image would look something like this:

image showing CRIO logo with a solid background

If I download as transparency my image looks like this:

image showing CRIO logo on a transparent background

Much better, I think.


With its simple drag and drop format and intuitive design, Canva is really easy to use, including the more sophisticated features offered by Canva Pro.  Particularly if you utilize the preset formats and/or templates, beautiful designs can be created and downloaded in just minutes.

Canva Pro Free Trial

Not to be confused with Canva Free, Canva allows you to try out Canva Pro for 14 days FOR FREE and, unlike many ‘free’ offers, you get access to the entire repertoire of Canva Pro features.

You will need to provide a credit card and at the end of the 14 day period, your card will be charged (you will have asked at signup if you want the monthly or yearly membership) so make sure you make a calendar note of the expiration date.  Cancellation is easy and Canva even notifies you when you are three days away from the end of the trial.

If you are not already a Canva Free user, my recommendation is to first join Canva free, check it out for a week or so and then go for the Canva Pro free trial.

You can sign up for Canva Free here.

Already a Canva Free user or ready to jump straight into Pro?

Try Canva Pro Today

Canva Pro Pros and Cons


  • Intuitive, easy to use interface
  • Huge selection of free photographs, elements, fonts and templates
  • Reasonably priced
  • Due to the many additional functions and enhancements, it represents a serious upgrade over Canva Free
  • Extensive library of instructional videos and tutorials


  • Lacks the sophistication of professional design programs, like Photoshop
  • There is a cost (albeit a reasonable one)
  • Support is not great but the extensive range of self-help videos and tutorials should get you through most issues

Final Thoughts

If you are on the fence about whether to upgrade to Canva Pro then try it out with the free 14-day trial.  What have you got to lose?

Try Canva Pro Today

Thank you for reading this article.  If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the Comments box below and I will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Happy designing!


Canva Pro

$12.95 Monthly $119.40 Yearly

Ease of Use




Value for Money





  • Intuitive, easy to use interface
  • Huge selection of free photographs, elements, fonts and templates
  • Reasonably priced
  • Due to the many additional functions and enhancements, it represents a serious upgrade over Canva Free
  • Extensive library of instructional videos and tutorials


  • Lacks the sophistication of professional design programs, like Photoshop
  • There is a cost (albeit a reasonable one)
  • Support could be better

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