Taking the business world by storm are two popular graphic design tools that are often compared and contrasted: Canva vs. PicMonkey. At first glance, both seem to offer similar abilities and options for creating images, but upon taking a closer look, there are differences that make one of these graphic design tools better than the other.
We’re pitting Canva vs. PicMonkey to find out which tool delivers the best pricing, usability, and design options.
Why use a graphic design tool like Canva or PicMonkey?
The really cool thing about these two graphic design tools is that they allow people without real design experience to create images that not only rival those from professional graphic designers, but sometimes surpass them. That’s important because graphic design was, at one time, a skilled profession that required years of education, experience with photo and image programs like Photoshop, and an inherent “eye for design.”
Today, there are still lots of highly skilled and professionally trained graphic designers out there, but something has changed. The internet has made it possible to let people with zero design experience create professional-looking images and logos online in minutes.
It’s pretty amazing, especially if you’re a non-designer who needs to create your own images to use online and even in print. So let’s do it – watch as we compare Canva vs. PicMonkey.
Pricing is an important factor when deciding which graphic design tool to use. When we compare Canva vs. PicMonkey, the results are clear.
Canva offers two pricing structures. You can create any design you like for free, and they offer optional elements you can add to your design for $1 each. This means you can choose to create designs using only their free elements and pay nothing.
For anyone creating images for a business, Canva for Work is another option available. That pricing structure is a bit different, and offers a 30 day free trial:
Canva for Work
Yearly – $119.40 USD/year
Monthly – $12.95 USD/month or $155.40 USD/year
PicMonkey, like Canva, offers a free or basic plan that allows you limited access to their tools. You can use PicMonkey for free and get access to the editing tools, basic touch ups, photo effects, and the ability to add textures and overlays to your images.
For more advanced features and designs, they offer PicMonkey Royale. The price is discounted if you purchase annually rather than monthly.
Yearly – $39.96 USD/year
Monthly – $4.99 USD/month or $59.88 USD/year
We’ll have to look at the usability and features to make a decision in Canva vs. PicMonkey.
Another important factor in deciding which graphic design tool to use is the usability. How easy (or difficult) is it for a non-designer to use this tool? For the purposes of this comparison, I decided to take the same image and text and play with it a bit in each graphic design tool to see the results.
Canva is simple to use and all the features are pretty straight-forward. On the home screen, you can choose from pre-set dimensions customized for Facebook cover photos, profile pictures, blog images, infographics, logos, presentations, and more. Once you select the image size you want, you are able to access Canva’s image elements – shapes, illustrations, images, text, icons, pre-made layouts, and more.
The experience is intuitive, and every action can be done directly from the element itself – for example, if you create a text box and decide it needs to be more subtle, you can click the arrow on your box and adjust the transparency, text spacing, flip the text, and more.
PicMonkey is a little less user friendly and difficult to figure out, but once you understand the terminology used (overlays, fade, etc.) it’s a nice tool with lots of options. Like Canva, the paid design elements are mixed in with the free, so you have to make sure the elements you select are included for the basic or free plan. I kept getting popups that the feature I selected was only available for PicMonkey Royale.
Instead of just choosing the text font size (12 pt, 14 pt, etc.), PicMonkey will let you change the size of text using a slider bar and numbered font sizes. That got kind of confusing because I could make text larger while the font size still said 12.
I prefer the straightforward way Canva presents it, but looking at the two images that came from Canva and PicMonkey respectively, PicMonkey is the usability winner.
III. Design Options
Comparing Canva vs. PicMonkey in design options is a close race. We’ll cover how the two graphic design tools differ in design options and decide once and for all which tool is the winner!
Canva Design Options
I’ve been using Canva for the last 2 years and have used most of their design features and options. For the most part, Canva has excellent options at your disposal – premade layouts that just require you to customize the text, free images on-site for you to add to your designs, and plenty of font and frame options – but they are noticeably lacking a few that are important.
There is no option to change the color or background of an image with Canva, unless you want to add an opaque colored shape over it and then adjust the transparency. This means when you want to add a logo with a white background to an image, the background must be white for it to “blend in.”
Additionally, there’s no way to add overlays or textures to your images with Canva.
PicMonkey Design Options
While it was a bit of a challenge to figure out initially, the options are more diverse on PicMonkey. There are tons of photo effects, image retouch options, overlays, textures, and cool text options that can perfectly contrast your text color against the background it’s on (one problem I face often when creating images).
I was able to add overlays and textures that really made the image pop using PicMonkey. Canva does not offer this functionality, but the immense availability of design options on Canva made PicMonkey’s options pale in comparison.