A great way to keep the cost of your party down is to create your custom party supplies at home. There are a few different websites online that can help you do this without any experience in graphic design. Two of the big players in free online graphic design space are Canva and Design Wizard. Here is my review of Canva vs. Design Wizard to help you decide which you should use to make your party supplies and printables.
Canva is an online graphic design tool that uses a drag-and-drop format to allow you to create designs. As a part of the service, you get access to over a million photos, graphics and fonts. While Canva does have paid memberships, it also offers free accounts with basic functionality.
When you log in you will be greeted with template options for common design sizes for the web and print. This includes common sizes for social media posts.
You select your template size and a new, and you will be shown a variety of premade layouts that you can use to create your design. If you find a design you like, you select that design and then edit the text as required.
In Canva you also have the option of creating your design from scratch by clicking the ‘elements tab.’ Under the ‘elements tab,’ you will find all sorts of predesigned templates for word layouts, fonts, photos illustrations and more. Canva does a great job of providing different premade elements to use in your designs.
You can also search for illustrations and images in the ‘search tab.’ For example, searching for the word ‘unicorn’ brings up all of the clip art and photography options for unicorns. In the corner of each image, it will tell you how much the image costs and if you need a “Pro” subscription to use it. Requiring people to sign up for a paid subscription to use some images is a real negative to me. I don’t understand why they don’t assign a dollar value to those images as they have with others?
Another way to navigate around Canva is to search for templates by theme instead of by template size. This type of search can be done via the “Find Templates” menu. By searching for “Unicorn,” I am given multiple pages of premade unicorn themed templates of all sizes.
If you have a subscription to the “Canva for work” program, then you can simply pick your design and click the “resize” button to resize the design automatically. Canva offers a free 30-day trial of their paid “Canva for Work” solution, so if you are planning a party and fall in love with a design of the wrong size, this might be a good time to use your trial.
Canva has free elements and paid items. Most of the paid items are only a dollar for a single-use license, but if you want to use the same design on a number of items, you will need to pay for a multi-use license. It’s also worth noting that you need to pay per illustration, not per design. So, if your design uses multiple illustrations or images that require a license, you will need to pay for multiple licenses. Multi-use licenses are about $10 each, which allows you to use the design element multiple times. These costs can add up quickly, especially if you were thinking that Canva was going to provide you with a free solution.
Overall, Canva is super easy and it can enable anyone to create designer worth party materials. Just make sure you steer towards the free elements or you could end up very disappointed when you go to download your design and are asked to pay-up!
Design Wizard is another great super simple drag and drop design software.
As with Canva when you login your are provided with a series of different sized templates to choose from.
Once you pick your size, you can search for your keyword or theme to see what pre-made templates are available. One thing I like about Design Wizard’s template search function is that the price of each design is clearly marked in the corner of each design. It means that there are no surprises when you go to download your final items.
Once you’ve chosen your design, you can customize it as you do with Canva. The functionality when working on your actual design are what set Design Wizard apart from Canva in my opinion. This is for several reasons: Firstly, Design Wizard’s search function is easier to navigate. This is because the graphics menu has more categories making it easier to find what you need, including the ability to only search for transparent graphics. Design Wizard also gives you the option to save graphics by hoovering over the graphic with a mouse and clicking the heart icon. This is a big deal to me as I have spent so much time in Canva searching for images that I had seen in previous searches. Both services have 10000’s of graphic, so it’s easy to get lost in all of the options. I also like that the price of the overall design is clearly marked at the top of the page at all times so it is easy to track as you add and remove elements to your page.
I do however find that Design Wizard does not provide as many design templates, photo frames and text layouts as Canva. If you don’t find a template you like, this can be disappointing. Hopefully, the selection will grow change over time.
Another benefit of the Design Wizard system is file storage. Canva provides a Pintrest style view where you need to scroll through all of your designs to find what you are looking for. This system can be great at the beginning but as you have more designs with small variations, it can be hard to tell which is which. This is something that can be overcome with some pre-planning and proper use of a file naming system. By contrast, Design Wizard provides the Pinterest visual and a table search with a design thumbnail and the document details in a chart. Personally, I find this search function much easier to use, but I am horrible at filing in general.
Dollars and Cents
While both services will allow you to design free items, it is likely that you will be tempted to use a paid graphic or two along your designing journey. So, the licensing terms of the two services is one of the most important considerations when comparing Canva to Design Wizard. As mentioned above when you purchase a design from Canva and pay $1 you are only licensing that design for a single use. That means if you share your design on Facebook, then share it on Instagram, you are outside of their licensing terms. Or if you use the design on a party invitation and the use it for a thank-you card or other party element, you are outside of their terms. If you want to use the design multiple times you need to buy a multiple use license, which is usually $10 per item.
In Design Wizard, all of the designs come with the multi-use license included, so you can share and use the design as often as you want. Design Wizard also gives you $60 each month of design credits if you take up the $9.99 monthly subscription. Canva’s paid subscription does not provide any discount on their paid design elements.
Canva vs. Design Wizard
Having been a long time Canva user, I have always been happy with the designs offered and what I have been able to create. With that being said, there have also been a few things (like the search function), that I always wished they would improve. I also get upset when I calculate how much my simple design is going to cost when I factor in that I am going to need a multi-use licenses all the time.
Design Wizard has a superior search function and the pricing model is much better. The only downside I feel is that Design Wizard needs to provide more design templates as the options do not seem as plentiful as they are in Canva.
When planning my graphics, I would go with Design Wizard as better value for money. But, if you don’t see a design template that meets your needs with Design Wizard, you’ll likely find one in Canva. Just be prepared to pay or steer towards the free elements!