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Should I Use (Learn) Canva Or Photoshop To Design Social Media Graphics

Are you a marketer or social media manager or small business owner who is looking to create stunning graphics for social media? Are you a designer who is confused about what tool to use for social media? Well, this article is for you.

There has been a debate happening on the internet on “Canva vs Photoshop”. While both have their advantages and disadvantages, I thought it’s time to talk about this topic.

It’s a hard choice to make between these two tools. But let me talk about the key factors that you should consider and the key differences between these tools. This should make it easy for you.

Pricing: Canva vs Photoshop

Ok, so which one is cheaper?

Canva has 3 versions: Free, Pro and Enterprise. With the free version of Canva, you can create and save social media graphics in the image format and post them on social media.

But the downside is you will be missing some important features like downloading transparent images, Content planner, Instant background removal for images, 100GB cloud storage, etc.

So, take the Free and Enterprise (it’s not for you are me) versions out of your mind.

Now, coming to the pro version, it costs Rs.999 ($12.99) per month. If you take the yearly plan it costs Rs.8,900 per year or $9.95 per month.

Image: Canva Pricing In INR

Now coming to Adobe Photoshop, it has a trial version which will be valid for 7 days only and you can access all the features. But we are looking for something that we can use daily, right?

Buying Photoshop will cost you $20.99/mo if billed annually($239.88/yr). OMG! It’s almost twice the price of Canva Pro. I’ll go with Canva then.

No, wait!

That’s when Adobe Photography Plan comes into play. It costs you $9.99/month or $119.88 billed once a year. The only issue with this plan is you’ll only get 20TB of cloud storage only whereas you’ll get 100TB of cloud storage with Canva Pro.

But cloud storage shouldn’t be an issue (I think). At least In my case, I’ve used only around 10GB max on my Google Drive for social media.

So now the fight gets real tough! Canva – $9.95 vs Adobe Photoshop – $9.99

Easy Of Use & Time Investment

I am pretty much sure that you don’t want to hire a dedicated professional graphic designer for your social media. Of course not! That’s why you are reading this article.

So that basically means along with investing in money to buy a tool, you need to invest time to learn more about that tool.

In that case, Canva is pretty much easy to learn. Canva is one of those few design tools on the internet that can save you a lot of time. You don’t even need to watch any tutorial on Youtube to use Canva.

With tons of premade templates and easy drag and drop options, you can create a new graphic for your social media in just a few minutes without any prior design knowledge.

On the other hand, it takes a lot of time to learn photoshop. I’ve learned photoshop completely from Youtube. I’m gonna say it’s completely worth learning photoshop but you need to be willing to put in the time.

But another contradicting point I want to make here is social media posts have a pretty low life span. Unless on Pinterest, the content that you share on any other social platform will be almost invisible after 48 hours.

So, the question again is should I create a graphic instantly with a pre-made template using Canva or should I design a creative from the scratch with photoshop that can stand out from the crowd?

Yes, it’s very hard to stand out on social media using Canva templates. Remember that there will be a thousand other users that might be using the same template as you’ve used and posted on social media.

This is one of the major disadvantages of using online design tools like Canva. You might be risking your brand reputation if you are not fully customizing the templates.

So, what are you gonna do? Photoshop or Canva? Let’s consider some more factors.

Features & Design Process: Canva vs Photoshop

Let’s make it simple. Photoshop is a powerful graphic design tool and is considered the industry standard. All the designers and big agencies are using this tool for their design works. So it’s pretty obvious that Photoshop has better and powerful features than Canva.

But the question is how many of those features do you need and will you be using? Ok, let’s say you want to post a “quote” on your Instagram account.

The Canva Way

Just click the search bar in the top right of the screen and look for something like “Quote Instagram Post”. That search brought me 14,614 templates. Wow! Lots of options to choose from.

Now all you have to do is choose the one you like, replace colors, text, fonts, images, etc. and you’ll get your desired result.

Some key points:

  • You can create a new design in just a few minutes.
  • You have many options (templates, images, fonts, etc.) to choose from.
  • You don’t need to have any design skills.
  • Your creative freedom is limited as you are using a template.
  • It’s very hard to create a custom design that can stand out well from a blank template in Canva.

The Photoshop Way

On the other hand, with photoshop you need to create a design from scratch. Have a look at these quote posts that I’ve designed with photoshop. I started with a background, added graphic elements, added text, chose colors, etc. What I mean to say is i’ve done a lot!

Are they any better? Yes, I think (Good design is subjective). But what’s more important here is some of these designs can’t even be created in Canva. For example, Canva doesn’t support custom layer masks – you can only use the built-in frames that Canva has. So,

Some key points:

  • It takes a bit of time as you are designing things from scratch.
  • You need to have a bit of design knowledge as you are creating things from nothing.
  • You can create designs that can stand out from the crowd.
  • You can create your own templates that suit you and your brand and can reuse them.

Key Takeway!

What you can achieve in Canva can also be achieved in Photoshop. But what you can create with Photoshop may or may not be created with Canva.

But it’s always a matter of you choosing something that takes less time – Canva vs choosing something that gives you more powerful options – Photoshop.

What About Photo Editing?

If you post a lot of images on social media, then probably Canva isn’t the tool you should be using. Canva has minimal editing tools available on their interface and I think even most Canva users won’t use those. It has basic filter and adjustment options.

On the other hand, with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom (you’ll get this too in the photography plan), you can make awesome adjustments to your photos. You can control the hues, saturation, blues, reds, etc. what not!

Mobile Apps: Canva Vs Photoshop Express

So Canva has a mobile app that isn’t great but way better than Photoshop Express (Photoshop’s mobile app). With photoshop express, which is good actually but you can only do some basic stuff and is very much quite opposite to the PC version.

On the other hand, since Canva is a web-based tool you can access the files anywhere and that’s why the mobile app of Canva becomes very useful.

Let’s say you have started creating something on Canva and left it in the middle. Now you can continue working on it even while you are traveling, with the mobile app and post it on social media.

Canva is all about saving tons of time and Photoshop is all about giving creative freedom to its users. In the case of Mobile versions, Canva is the clear winner.

Final Consideration: Key Differences

Ok, let’s find out the key differences and this should help you choose which tool to use for creating social media graphics.

CanvaPhotoshop
Canva costs $9.95 per month.Adobe Photoshop costs $9.99 per month.
Easy to use and can be learned easily.Powerful features but it takes time to learn.
The interface is very easy for new users.The interface can be complicated for new users
Create awesome graphics in just a few minutes.Create awesome personalized graphics that can stand out from the crowd, not just in a few minutes.
Canva is not a drawing tool like photoshop.Photoshop has brushes, pencil and pen tools, eraser, etc. – many drawing tools.
Canva supports exporting in JPG, PNG, and, SVG.Along with JPG, PNG, and, SVG, Photoshop offers to export in many other formats (but might not be useful for social media)
Canva has basic photo editing features like cropping, adding effect, etc.Photoshop is the best when it comes to photo editing and photo manipulation.
You don’t need a stock photography subscription if you have Canva.Photoshop doesn’t offer any stock photos for free. You need to buy a separate stock photography subscription if you want to use them in your designs.
Canva works on any device. You just need a browser.If you have very basic specifications, Photoshop might not run properly.
Canva has a mobile app.Photoshop has a mobile app.
Canva has thousands of free templates to start with.You need to create a design from the scratch or create your own templates to start with.
With Canva Pro, you’ll get 100GB of cloud storage.With the Adobe Photography plan, you’ll get only 20GB of cloud storage for the same price.
If you are starting out you can use the free version as long as you want.You can only use the trial version of photoshop for just 7 days.
You don’t need to be a professional to design content.You need creativity and practice to create an eye-catching social media post.
A simple click on the resize button will adjust the creatives for multiple social platforms.In photoshop, you need to change the canvas size and rearrange all the design elements, to repurpose content for other social platforms.

Conclusion

I use photoshop. I like the creative freedom it offers with all its powerful tools. But I want you to choose the tool that’s best for your situation.

If you don’t have much time to work on your design skills, start with the free version of Canva. Once you get a hang of it, see whether learning photoshop is worth it for you (in my opinion, it’s a big YES), or else go with Canva pro.

I hope this helps!

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