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Hot Take: Canva might not be the best tool for your business!

Updated: Jan 18

As a creative director and marketing strategist, I've witnessed the transformative power of design tools like Canva throughout my career in branding, design and marketing. Canva, with its user-friendly interface and versatile templates, has undoubtedly become a go-to resource for businesses aiming to enhance their visual identity. However, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the platform that might seem a bit controversial. My opinon? Canva can be damaging to a brands reputation.

In an era where differentiation is the key to standing out in the market, the ease of access to tools like Canva has inadvertently led to a sea of strikingly similar designs. It's a double-edged sword – while these tools empower businesses to create visually appealing content, they also risk diluting brand uniqueness.

I've seen it too many times. Scrolling through social platforms, and a brand puts out a graphic with a template made on Canva. Even though it might be in their brand colors and fonts, you'll see a few scrolls later from a different company with the same graphic. It creates something for an audience called "advertising blindness or banner blindness."

"Banner blindness happens when users are over-exposed to ads, so they tend to subconsciously ignore them so as not to disrupt their browsing experience. For advertisers, banner blindness is a big problem, as it means that much of their ad spend is simply wasted on audiences who pay no attention to their ads." -

The Canva Appeal

Canva has revolutionized the way we approach design, making it accessible to individuals with varying levels of expertise. Its vast library of templates, fonts, and graphics empowers even those without a design background to produce professional-looking materials. For marketers, this means quicker turnaround times and the ability to execute visually compelling campaigns without the need for extensive design resources.

The Blind Spot Dilemma

While the efficiency and accessibility of Canva is commendable, it inadvertently contributes to a blind spot for businesses. The prevalence of template-driven designs often results in brands looking, quite literally, identical. In a world where consumers are bombarded with information, a brand's ability to stand out is crucial for success.

As mentioned above, how many times have you scrolled through social media and noticed two different companies from diverse industries using the same template for their graphics? It's a common occurrence, and it underscores the challenge of maintaining brand individuality in the age of mass design.

Tailoring Canva for Unique Brands

The solution lies in recognizing Canva as a powerful tool that requires a thoughtful approach. Rather than relying solely on pre-existing templates, businesses should use Canva as a canvas to create something truly unique.

1. Customization is Key

Instead of settling for ready-made templates, invest time in customizing them to align with your brand's personality. Adjust colors, fonts, and layouts to create a design that reflects your unique identity.

2. Blend Templates Creatively

While templates provide a starting point, don't be afraid to blend multiple templates or tweak elements to craft something distinctive. This not only showcases creativity but also ensures your brand doesn't get lost in the template shuffle.

3. Embrace Originality

Encourage your team to think beyond the templates. Incorporate original graphics, illustrations, or photography that speak directly to your brand story. Authenticity will always resonate with consumers.

4. Consistency, not Repetition

Maintain consistency in branding elements, but avoid repetitive designs. Create a style guide within Canva that defines your brand's visual language, ensuring cohesion without sacrificing uniqueness.

Canva is undeniably a valuable asset in the marketing, brand, and design toolkit, giving businesses of all sizes access to more visual content. However, the blind spot it creates can very easily become a place your brand falls into. With conscious effort, your team can avoid this by tailoring designs, embracing creativity, and prioritizing brand uniqueness (along with strong and dynamic communication and messaging).

So, while this designer will stick to her Adobe programs, I will continue to encourage brands that leverage the power of Canva to do so wisely – as a tool for innovation, not conformity.

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