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With so many incredible, free graphic design software options out there these days that it can be hard to know which to choose. If you’re focused on Pinterest, specifically, you probably know that Canva is all the rage. Rightfully so! It is a phenomenal graphic design tool.
But what if you’re looking for other options or trying to escape the dreaded “Canva look”? There’s another free graphic design tool on the market that might just give Canva a run for its money – Crello.
Why Everyone Loves Canva
There are so many options for creatives with Canva design. If you’re not particularly savvy in graphic design, Canva makes it easy for you. They provide an enormous library of pre-made templates for any design imaginable. You can make pins, Instagram posts, resumes, newsletters, e-book covers, and infographics.
When you’re a new blogger or business owner and you don’t have a lot of money to invest, free graphic design software like this are a dream come true. And that’s probably why so many rely on it. The user interface is very intuitive and easy-to-use. And if you’re having trouble with any of their features, there is a wide range of support tools to help you out.
If you’re not design savvy, they’ve got a wide range of templates that you can customize to fit your brand. They offer a LIMITED selection of free stock photos and backgrounds as well as frames, graphics, and icons to add to your designs.
You have the added bonus of being able to save your work which allows you to easily reuse templates that are working for you without having to start completely over from scratch. There’s honestly so much you can do with Canva and a lot of really talented designers out there who make and sell templates to use in the program in order to make life much easier (but there is a caveat to this).
The Downside To Canva’s Free Graphic Design Software
Like many other businesses these days, Canva uses what is called a freemium business model. That means SOME of the features are free, but others, you must pay for the premium version. As you get further along in your design skills, you’ll start to wish you could access some of those features.
It doesn’t help that they’re mixed among the freebies begging to be used!
If you want to get the full range of Canva (and you likely will after you get the hang of it), you’ll have to pay for a Canva for Work membership which is $9.99/month.
Relating to Pinterest specifically, another downside to Canva is that EVERYONE uses it. That means a lot of pins start looking alike, which is something you do not want on your Pinterest business profile.
It isn’t Canva’s fault. There are a number of ways to make your designs unique and stand out on Pinterest using this free graphic design software. The problem is that not everyone is a graphic designer and most people are extremely busy, so it makes using the same templates over and over extremely tempting.
If you’re not keen on investing time into making different graphic designs for your pins, you can certainly hire it out. I offer a variety of A La Carte services, including pin design. Take a look at the packages or enter your information in the form below and I’ll reach out to you.
What About CRELLO?
Crello is another free graphic design software program that is giving Canva a little bit of competition. They are alike in many ways. Even their user interfaces look basically the same.
Crello also uses the freemium business model, BUT offers way more design tools and elements for free AND is priced cheaper at $6.67/month if you do decide to upgrade.
Whereas both programs do basically the same things, there are some really cool features that Crello offers for free that you won’t find on Canva.
The Best Free Features On CRELLO
1. Photo Text
Textured fonts are all the rage right now on Pinterest, but it’s most easily done using Photoshop which not everyone has access to or can afford. Crello has a fairly simple to use feature that allows you to insert textured fonts into your design FOR FREE.
Here’s an example of what I mean.
I used the photo text feature in Crello to create the look for “Life Changes” and “Sober.” It really does add a wonderful pop to your design which will help you stand out. Maybe there is a way to do this in Canva, but it’s not overly apparent to me.
2. Transparent PNG Saving Options
Saving an image with a transparent background means you can use it in a variety of ways. You can use your image for mockups, logos, or easily add it into any number of designs you’re creating.
If you have a logo that you want to put onto all of your pins, you’ll need a copy with a transparent background. Canva makes you pay for this feature, but you can get it for free with Crello which is honestly a game-changer for people trying to brand on a budget.
3. Movie and Animated Features
With Crello, you can make animated Instagram stories, Facebook covers, blog posts – so many things! That is a major advantage in a marketing climate where video is king. Canva is moving towards including this, but it is so far way behind Crello. Here’s a sample from one of Crello’s library.
Here’s the kicker, though! You can create animated designs for free but you’ll need your own animations or stock videos to upload. Otherwise, you’ll have to upgrade to access Crello’s library. That makes it feel less “free” than before, but it’s still a really cool tool.
This one may seem silly, but having the option to add folders to organize your graphics is a time saver. Canva gives you two folders and then you have to upgrade to get more.
5. Gorgeous Frames and Lines
Although Canva is stepping up it’s free offerings with new gradient options, I still find that Crello has more free features to offer. I’m particularly fond of their frames and lines.
If you didn’t know, frames allow you to add a photo or design into a particular shape, like this leaf. I took the leaf frame and added a photo of a plant (very meta). The end result is gorgeous!
Crello has an ENORMOUS library of decorative lines that you can add into your pins. When I first discovered Crello and started scrolling through all the lines, I couldn’t believe how much they were offering for free.
Canva is still really limited by comparison.
6. Upload Custom Fonts
Crello allows you to upload your own custom fonts for free. This is a premium feature on Canva. It unlocks so many more design options for users.
Crazy Good Resource Alert!
(affiliate links )
Regardless of whether you use Canva or Crello, if you want unique graphics, overlays, foils, and fonts, Design Cuts is having an insanely good deal right now. You can get HUNDREDS of graphic design tools with an extended license for $29.
Visit their website to get in on deals and freebies.
My mind is still exploding by the amount of things I got for that price.
Which Free Graphic Design Software Should You Use?
Despite my ranting and raving over Crello, there are still some reasons you may want to use Canva instead. My honest answer is to use both.
Canva’s strength lies in its wide array of graphic templates for a whole host of purposes beyond creating graphics for social media. It also has an incredible blog and tutorial section. My personal favorite is their color palette generator where you can upload an image you like and get the color palette and hex codes to use with it.
If you want to learn design and need some step-by-step tutorials, Canva wins over Crello every time. Crello does have a video tutorial library but their resources, overall, are not as extensive as Canva’s.
Canva also has the added benefit of being more widely used, so you can find more resources and templates on how to use it from the rest of the blogosphere. For whatever reason, I find Canva’s user interface easier to use but I am 100% sure that is more about me than the product itself.
In terms of design tools, options, and variety, I currently prefer Crello. I also appreciate their premium services being relatively affordable. Both companies are constantly updating and upgrading their tools, though, so all of this could change.
My suggestion is to try both out and see which one you prefer. You might be more like me and decide that you’ll use both depending on what you’re trying to make.
As always, if you feel like you want to outsource some of this work, you can contact me and we will chat about options!