What is the best program for designers?
Figma and Canva offer comparative access for usage, pricing, and external plugins or apps, but there are plenty of differences as well.
Both Figma and Canva have unique aspects and reasons for using or not using each tool, so read our list and find out which one is best for you and your design goals.
Access to the platform
When choosing a build platform, you’ll primarily want to think about accessibility. Below is a breakdown of where you can use Canva and Figma.
Canva is a browser-based design tool with a downloadable app for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android.
Your Canva account saves your previous designs if you’re logging in from another device. You can use an app without an internet connection and save projects locally.
Figma is another browser-based design tool. You can download Figma for desktop on Linux (unofficially), as well as Mac and Windows. Figma also offers a mobile app for iOS and Android.
You can access all of your design history, documents, and plugins from any device if you’re signed in to your Figma account. You can design on the app offline, but you can’t save without an internet connection.
Price is another important aspect when choosing a design tool, and Figma and Canva differ a bit in this respect.
You can use Canva for free from the browser and the app. Canva Free offers a lot for an amateur designer. The difference between Canva Free and Canva Pro is that Canva Pro offers additional fonts, assets, backup options, and more for $12.99 per month.
Canva also offers options for businesses, educational institutions, and nonprofits at various costs. These are options suitable for large teams and professional environments.
For most uses, Figma is free and you won’t miss a thing. You can upgrade Figma to its premium professional or organizational options for $12 or $45 per month, respectively.
The difference between paid and free Figma is that for personal use or freelance work, the free version of Figma is fine. But if you’re collaborating with team members, you might need to upgrade.
If you’re new to design, you’ll probably want to choose a user-friendly option. Below is a breakdown of whether Figma and Canva are difficult to use.
Finding your way around Canva is easy. Everything is labeled and the tools are self-explanatory. Canva isn’t intimidating to those who aren’t from a design or tech background. Canva also offers many tutorials under its Learn tab on the website.
You can use keywords as search terms in Canva’s search bar when looking for specific images, graphics, or font types. This is a useful and time-saving feature.
Figma is much more complex and takes some getting used to. Its interface is different from most other design tools, and it’s not always easy to find elements.
It’s not too difficult to learn, but you’ll probably need help from external tutorials if you want to design something complex.
Best Design Goals
Regardless of usability, price, and accessibility, some platforms are built for better purposes than others. Below is an overview of what Canva and Figma are particularly good at.
Canva mainly focuses on social media design, such as Instagram stories, YouTube thumbnails or Facebook banners. It easily provides thousands of templates for popular social media platforms.
You can also design for other uses. Canva offers templates for presentations, calendars, and stationery that can be easily modified.
Figma is primarily used as a user experience/user interface (UX/UI) design tool, so it’s best for designing websites, apps, and other interfaces. But you can use it to design other elements, such as designing presentations, portfolios, and animations for Instagram Stories.
Most designs in Figma are interactive rather than static.
If you need drawing tools, the comparison below will help you make the best decision.
Canva’s drawing tools are limited compared to many other design tools. There is no pen tool, but there are line and shape tools in the Elements menu.
Using lines and shapes you can draw in a certain way, but it’s not as free as drawing from scratch.
Figma has a pen and pencil tool that lets you customize drawings right in the app. It also has a handful of shape tools that you can use with your pen tool.
Especially for UX/UI design, you’d import custom designs from other tools for better results, but it’s great to have the option.
Plugins and Apps
Having plugins can help you improve your productivity significantly. Below are the tools you can integrate with Canva and Figma.
Canva offers two different ways to find and work with external assets. First, in the main menu is the Elements sign. Here you can find illustrations, animations, graphics, audio and video files to use in your designs. You can search for certain terms, but you can’t actively download items that aren’t already in Canva.
The second way is through Canva apps tongue. It works the same way as traditional plugins found in other tools – you can connect apps like GIPHY, Pexels and Iconduck.
You can also directly connect social apps to import media to Canva and directly upload your Canva project to your social pages.
Figma has a community page with a large library of plugins. There is a choice of plugins for mockups in Figma, but also external apps like Unsplash for stock images, wireframes for starter designs, and placeholder plugins for text.
Anyone can create a plugin, and anyone with a Figma account can use a plugin. Note, however, that downloading plugins will take you away from your design page, which could be distracting.
If you’re a photographer or social media manager, you’ll probably want to use image editing as part of your workflow. Below, you will discover the capabilities of Canva and Figma in this regard.
Image editing in Canva mostly comes from adjustment toggles and third-party filters. Some of them look like what you’d find in Photoshop, but Canva’s offerings allow for less customization. We’ve written a guide to adding texture in Canva.
With Canva Pro, you have access to slightly more and better editing options, such as a background removal tool.
Most of Figma’s image editing tools are pretty basic because Figma is not designed for image editing. You can use blending modes on photos or change opacity, but there aren’t many other options.
Figma is the type of tool you would need an edited image provided from another tool beforehand.
You’ll probably want a wide range of fonts to add variety to your designs; Canva and Figma differ in this regard.
Canva offers a wide selection of fonts and formatting options for adding a title, subtitle, or body text that come in appropriate sizes.
There are hundreds of fonts you can use. however, some of them are limited to Canva Pro users. Canva Pro users have the option to upload a font to Canva.
Canva’s text tool also offers stickers with words or phrases that can be used as ready-to-use text designs. These aren’t editable, but they might already contain what you’re looking to write, and it’ll save you time animating or trying to highlight it.
Figma uses standard fonts that you will find on your computer system and includes downloaded fonts such as Google Fonts. So you’ll have enough to get started.
Uniqueness of results
If you’re a creative, you’ll want your results to stand out. So how do Canva and Figma help?
Each of Canva’s templates is fully customizable with color, placement, font, and element options. It is common for users to keep the layout of Canva templates, as well as colors or fonts. This means that most Canva designs don’t look unique, but that’s not because you can’t create unique designs.
With just a little extra effort, you could get unique results from Canva without having to create everything from scratch.
Designs in Figma should be designed and made entirely from scratch or using pre-designed assets. This results in much more unique designs; however, it also takes more time and effort to create them in Figma.
Canva vs. Figma: which one will you choose?
Do professionals use Canva? Not particularly, but Canva is a great option for non-professionals who still need designs for their brand or personal social accounts. What Figma can do is vastly different from anything Canva can offer.
A professional designer would use Figma for UX/UI design, animated transitions, or unique results. Canva is great because it offers so many design options for those who lack access or experience with traditional design tools.