Canva vs. Illustrator: Creating Graphics for your Blog
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I make a small percentage at no additional cost to you. All opinion are my own and I will never back something I do not believe in 100%. Thank you!
It really takes a lot of skills and work to be a successful blogger. For every blog you put out you are not only writing the post, but also taking photographs and creating graphics.
People are often surprised at the number of they have to create to put out and share a blog post. The more you share your posts the more graphics you actually need. The bigger your blog gets the more graphics you need.
Should you use Canva or Adobe Illustrator to design your blog graphics?
As a blogger with a growing blog you need a good system for creating your graphics. There are couple of options out there. Here are some of the major differences.
It seems that most bloggers are using Canva for their graphics. Canva is a basic design drag and drop program that allows you to create graphics and documents. It requires no experience or design skill. Costs about $13 per month with a discount for paying annually. This does require you to be online to use the program. Canva is a good option for the basics.
My personal favorite program for creating graphics is Adobe Illustrator. I actually use Illustrator to run my design business. I like to call it my biz bestie, because I use it to do everything.
Adobe Illustrator is the industry standard design program for graphic designers and artists to create vector images. Costs about $20 per month by itself, or you can get the whole creative suite. It does require some design skill, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll cringe the next time you try to use another program. This is one time download, but they do make updates from time to time. You get a notification when you need to update.
Here are the biggest differences between Canva + Illustrator.
Canva: Creates raster images.
Illustrator: Creates vector images.
Raster images are made up of pixels which are square, which means if you enlarge the image it will get blurry. Vector images are made with a mathematical equation, which means curves are really curved. This means you can enlarge or shrink the file without changing the quality of the image. Here's an example with a small logo.
Truly, this isn’t a big deal when you are talking about creating social media graphics or thing for viewing on the web, as long as your graphics are sized correctly. However, if you ever decided to print one of your images, that’s when you start seeing a difference. If I printed this graphic, the raster image would show just as blurry as you see it here.
Canva: One size per graphics. Requires the paid version to resize which creates a separate file.
Illustrator: Multiple graphic sizes in one file.
This is my absolute favorite feature of Illustrator. I create one file per blog post which includes all the various graphics I will need. One for the blog title image, one for Pinterest sharing, Facebook images, Instagram squares and rectangles for stories, Twitter cards, video thumbnails. All of that. This helps me stay organized. I know that all my graphics for that post are in that one folder. This also helps me to remember to create every graphics I need.
Canva: Has the ability to add your own colors and font to set branding, has limits on the number of fonts and color you can save.
Illustrator: Same thing, but even more robust and with no limits. You can save your fonts, colors, logos, icons you use frequently, even photos.
The library is one of the best time saver aspects in the whole program. And even better than that, it also works between the different Adobe programs like Photoshop and InDesign, if you use those. For my recurring clients, I will set up a library in Illustrator with their branding elements, so that I can open it in InDesign (which is where I create bigger work books.) It also connects to Adobe’s online applications like their stock photography and color wheel app. So you can do something in one place and easily get the same set up in your other programs.
Canva: Is fully loaded with templates for all the different graphics you need.
Illustrator: No templates. There are a few template, but only a few, nothing special. You create your own templates!
For some people this is a major draw of using Canva. Using the templates means you don’t need to have much, if any, design skills. The problem with using the templates is that so is everyone else is using them too. This means your graphics start to blend in with everyone else’s. Everyone is using the same free fonts, the same free patterns, the same free pictures.
Buuuut, your business is NOT the same.
Canva: Only lets you import PNG and JPG images.
Illustrator: Import vector images and customize them.
Speaking of those patterns, you know when you find a cool pattern but it’s pink and grey and your branding is yellow and teal. With Illustrator, you can add the vector file and change the colors.
With Illustrator you can also manipulate vectors and customize everything, change the colors, increase the thickness, change the style of a line. It’s so simple. You can also draw shapes and lines. You can combine shapes to create full illustrations.
Adobe Illustrator is hands down a more powerful design program, and it's not as hard as you might think to learn the program.
In just a couple of weeks, I’m launching Illustrator for non-designers. It’s a full lesson (well technically four lessons) on using Illustrator for creating your graphics. Perfect for bloggers and small business owners who are ready to create better graphics. Instead of using those same templates as everyone else, you’ll stand out from the crowd.