Canva vs Microsoft Designer

Let's compare Canva, the market-leading graphic design tool, with Microsoft Designer, a new entrant backed by a trillion-dollar tech giant.

In the realm of graphic design and content creation, tools that simplify the design process while maintaining professional quality are in high demand. Canva stands as a prominent figure in this domain, offering a vast array of design templates, elements, and tools that cater to both novices and professionals. It's a platform that has democratized design, making it accessible to anyone with an internet connection.

On the other side, we have Microsoft Designer, which promises "stunning designs in a flash." As a graphic design application, it focuses on helping users craft professional-quality social media posts, invitations, digital postcards, graphics, and more. Microsoft Designer emphasizes starting with a user's unique idea and molding it into a design that resonates with their vision.



What is Canva?

Founded by an Australian couple, Canva is the brainchild of Melanie Perkins, the CEO, who set out on a mission to make design accessible for everyone. A decade later, the company is worth $40B and used by over 100M consumers across the globe. By and far, they are the most valuable company in the graphic design space, competing head to toe with incumbents like Adobe that have been around for much longer.

Canva's strengths come into play through the sheer ease of starting and becoming a pro at the platform, which is in line with their mission. Similarly, at such a low cost, they've managed to provide tremendous value to users. It's a good fit for everyone: students, creators, freelancers, teachers, small businesses, and even large enterprise companies. However, it may not be a fit for professional designers who may want something more robust.

Major Win: Canva is the Most Powerful Design Tool for Beginners

  • Canva offers a free tier, one of the most powerful editing tools on the market.
  • If you're ready to upgrade, they offer a free 30-day trial for Canva Pro, their premium product version.
  • Despite being so powerful, the founders have always been committed to ensuring the product remains inexpensive.
  • Canva is great for beginners with a very small learning curve.

Canva's Weaknesses: Temper Your Expectations

  • Canva is no Adobe Photoshop. Temper your expectations on what level of customizations you will be able to achieve with Canva.
  • Canva lacks some customization for more complicated task - most professional designers might look down on Canva as a graphic design tool for the masses.
  • While Canva is building out AI tools, the product seems to be shifting towards a more full suite of products like Canva Docs than purely focusing on design

Canva Pro Pricing

$15 per month for a Canva Pro License

Verdict: Canva is Our Category Favorite

Canva might have some limitations as your design requirements become more complex, but Canva has become synonymous with design. Canva has made design accessible to consumers across the globe through a very simple, intuitive product. The company is worth over $40B and has seen such massive success because they've made design easy for the masses at such an accessible price.

For these and many reasons, we recommend most creators to try out Canva, especially given their free tier and a free trial for Canva Pro.

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Microsoft Designer

Microsoft Designer

What is Microsoft Designer?

Microsoft might be late to the graphic design space, but not for long. The company has been investing in building our Microsoft Designer as of 2023. Leaning into their AI strengths as a big investor in OpenAI, Microsoft doesn't want to lose their AI lead in the design space. So they launched Microsoft Designer.

Microsoft Designer is a free, AI-powered graphic design app that allows users to create professional-looking designs. The product is evolving quickly to introduce new AI features and new basic functionality that most design apps would have in 2023.

Main Strengths: It's a Free AI-based Design Tool

  • Microsoft is the leader in AI and even with their design product, they are leading with design. The product allows you to give it a simple prompt and get templates immediately.
  • The product is free. It might not always be free, but for now, it's hard to beat free.
  • There are lots and lots of templates and new ones are created using AI seamlessly.

Con: Minimal Functionality

  • The functionality is relatively limited for a product for a product built from Microsoft. It's early for now.
  • You need a Microsoft account to use the product. This can be annoying since many users might not have a Microsoft account already.
  • As of now, there is no app available for users to edit on their phones. This may change in the future though.

Microsoft Designer Pricing


Verdict: Consider Trying out Microsoft Designer

It's not our favorite tool, but it is one that we think could be promising. It's too early to discount Microsoft Designer for the long term, but it's very unlikely to become your go-to design tool in the short term.

If you're looking to make a quick social media asset, Microsoft Designer could be a good fit since the product allows you to put in a simple query and get templates. However, the AI is not good enough to create something custom for anything more complex.

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Canva is the winner but the next 5 years could look very different