Canva has made it easier for many non-designers to be able to quickly create products like cards, posters, and social media graphics. But is it really the best option for all designs?
When it comes to producing designs for business, there are many reasons to consider using a different software platform. Because of their unique characteristics, infographics in particular require a careful review of all of the options.
As a professional information designer, I have often been asked what the best software for creating infographics, and I have never recommended Canva. Here’s my reviews and recommendations for the non-designer.
- Why Canva is for personal use, not business
- Prezi Design
- Adobe Creative Suite
Canva is often used by marketers or small business owners who are short on money and, more importantly, time. However, for marketers, executives, or others who want to visualize complex ideas like strategy or use data visualizations, it is actually important to take the time to do it right.
Canva gives you the impression that design is as simple as pretty images and fun fonts but that’s not always the case. Sure, they offer a large number of attractive templates, but their style is fairly homogenous, so it’s hard for your brand to stand out. Instead of using your company’s own style guide, you may inadvertently or incidentally end up using theirs.
Their infographic templates in particular are relatively bland, and don’t always have formats appropriate for business.
Design is about so much more than gloss though. Designing infographics in a way that keeps data visualizations accurate and contextualized requires a fair amount of editing of details like selecting appropriate chart types and ensuring there is adequate labeling.
If you are creating an infographic, it’s better to use software created with these specific needs in mind.
Icons are also important for creating infographics. Canva’s icon library doesn’t have great ones for business. They also don’t have diverse icons (hint: Venngage does).
Other reasons why people don’t use Canva to create infographics:
- It’s not great for designs that may need to be printed, especially because of poor color management.
- It is not good for creating designs that have to be adapted for use at multiple sizes, such as logos (this is because it’s not a vector-based program)
- You cannot export designs in file types that are editable by other software.
- Because it is online based, it is inconvenient if there are ever connection or server issues.
- Getting a nonprofit’s status verified can be difficult, if that applies
- Legal concerns, especially with use of their image library (remember, they can change their licenses at any time too).
If you want to create designs for more complex or business communications, it’s worth reviewing what else is out there. There are several options that can help non-designers create beautiful infographic designs.
Best Canva alternatives for infographics
Here is my review of the software platforms that you could use to create an infographic, as well as a visual describing how they compare with one another (which was created in Venngage).
Pros: Venngage is as easy to use as Canva and it’s a lot more powerful. We offer numerous templates that are more relevant for business needs. There are numerous diagrams, charts, graphs, and maps you can use to make more technical designs.
We also have an incredible support team and also help non-designers learn how to improve infographic design skills through our blog and YouTube channel. You can also easily share and collaborate with your team throughout your design process.
Cons: Less useful for quickly creating quick social media graphics and publishing them to platforms. Also Venngage doesn’t have a mobile app.
Price ranges: $0-49 a month. Free to sign up and use. Upgrade to Venngage for Business for all features and templates.
Pros: Since Prezi has acquired Infogram, they have expanded beyond being a presentation software platform to being one that you can use for easily creating other designs as well. Some of the unique features they offer are the ability to import data from SQL servers and to turn on accessibility for screen readers. Since they also have a desktop application, users can access their work offline if they wish.
Cons: While they allow for a lot of flexibility, the menus you use to edit designs are a bit more complex. They also do not have as many templates for business professionals to choose from.
Price ranges: $5-59 a month
Pros: Piktochart is another relatively easy-to-use platform. They have a gallery that allows you to see designs other people have created, and last year they launched a new video storytelling feature called Piktostory.
Cons: They don’t have as much to offer to help you learn infographic design skills and there’s no features for collaboration.
Price ranges: $0-99 a month
Pros: Adobe Illustrator is great for creating infographics entirely from scratch, especially if you want to use elaborate illustrations. Adobe InDesign is ideal for creating multi-page reports or books that may include infographics. By the way, Adobe Spark Post is not an option for creating infographics – the templates they have for creating bar graphs are not data-based, which is a big no-no.
Cons: Most non-designers avoid these options because there’s a steeper learning curve and you really need to know a lot about design to create from scratch. They are also not always ideal for data visualizations because the data and graph functions are very limited.
Price ranges: $21 a month each or $53 a month for a suite of tools
Pros: While PowerPoint is for creating presentation slide decks, not infographics, this can be a good option for people who really want to work with complex data sets that they have in Excel.
Cons: Default settings often lead to poor design, so you need to learn how to use the fairly clunky menus to be able to make good designs. Again, it can take some time to get good at using PowerPoint for creating effective infographics.
Price ranges: $140, or $7 per month if purchased as part of Microsoft 365
Pros: They are another tool created for easy use. Visme has something that Venngage does not and that is the ability to use animations.
Cons: Their educational resources lack depth when it comes to communicating about data specifically. Some of their templates enforce poor information design practices like poor chart types and poor color contrast.
Price ranges: $0-29/mo
Pros: Another tool that aims to be easy to use.
Cons: They have very limited infographic templates, and because they mostly cater to students the templates are relatively childish and inelegant. Their charts are also pretty limited and the accompanying data tables are more difficult to work with.
Price ranges: $0-5
Pros: Ideal for documents with very limited visuals (not the same as infographics)
Cons: Word is for creating documents, not infographics. You can import charts from Excel, but Excel presents problems similar to PowerPoint, most importantly that the default settings are poor design.
Price ranges: $140, or $7 per month if purchased as part of Microsoft 365
If you are producing infographics or designs for business, be sure to review all of the alternatives so you can create not only easy, beautiful designs but ones that are meaningful and not misleading.