Looking for a great Canva alternative? You may have just found it!
Desygner is a great tool to create graphic designs quickly and without any prior experience. It leverages templates to give you thousands of already professionally created graphics. The integrated Shutterstock library of more than 100 million images takes care of all your stock photo needs.
Let’s get right into it.
The best part of Desygner is thousands of templates and the integrated stock photo libraries, including Shutterstock’s. Add a pretty good editor in the mix, and you’ve got a worthy Canva alternative.
- Easy to use editor;
- 125+ million Shutterstock images;
- Free plan & 30-day free trial;
- Relatively inexpensive paid plans.
- Resizing in editor does not snap to edges;
- Images are too small while browsing (you cannot change their size).
Features & tools
When you sign in to your (in my case Pro+) account, you’re welcomed by a neatly designed workspace. It prompts you to either start from scratch, import PDF files, or use a template. The simplest way to start is by searching for templates that have already been optimised for certain platforms and uses.
SIDENOTE. Some screenshots were taken in a downsized browser window to maximize image quality. In reality, Desygner can be effectively used in a full-screen mode.
Templates help you create beautiful designs within minutes without much hassle or any experience with graphic design. If you’re not familiar with templates in general, here’s an explanation:
Templates are designs someone had already created, usually an experienced graphic designer. While templates can vary in the colour palette, layout, and even the message they are trying to send, they are carefully designed and can significantly speed up your workflow. You can use them by leaving them as they are or changing colours, text, and images.
Desygner has already arranged Templates into several categories, so you can quickly find whatever you’re looking for. For starters, they are divided into Templates For Print and For Web.
In my example, I had chosen For Web > Social Posts, which offered me various templates for Instagram, Facebook, Instagram Stories, YouTube thumbnails, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Snapchat Geofilter. These are all useful formats for promoting businesses, products, or doing it as a hobby.
How to use Templates?
Using Templates is very straightforward. Browse through the thousands of Templates until you find one that you like best. Hover over it and click on the Use button, which opens it in an editor.
The template will already be ideally formatted for its purpose. All left for you is adding new images, changing colours to reflect your brand, and changing the text to convey your message.
And you can do that easily in the editor.
Desygner’s uses a typical drag-and-drop editor, similar to what I’ve reviewed at Canva or Designs.ai. These kinds of editors are super user-friendly as they allow you to click on an element, such as text, a shape, or an image, and drop it on your design.
The editor has all the basic features you need to create any graphic you have in your mind. Adding and resizing various shapes (polygons, hearts, lines, arrows, stars, etc.), frames, and texts is as simple as dragging your mouse. While these elements nicely “snap” to edges while moving them, the “snapping” doesn’t happen when you resize them. It is a huge annoyance for me, as I have to guess the size to resize an object accurately.
All these elements have their own advanced settings, which allow you to change colours, opacity, and even group them.
For me, seemingly infinite (120 million+) free Shutterstock images are the best part of Desygner’s paid plan. In addition to searching by keywords, you can apply filters such as orientation (portrait, landscape), their price (free, included, paid), and source (Shutterstock, Pixabay, Photodexia, Unsplash, Google) to find what you’re looking for.
In addition to static graphics, as discussed until this point, Desygner supports video (animation) creation in a format of an MP4 file. You can add videos directly from YouTube via a link or uploaded them as assets. To smoothen the transition, there are also animations with tweakable in/out duration and style.
If you have a brand or just a preferred colour palette, Assets are crucial for you. You can access them in two ways, either via the editor by clicking Logos > Go to my assets or directly from the dashboard in the top menu.
Assets encompass your colours & fonts, images you download or buy, texts, logos, various elements, videos, and files. Virtually everything you add and own.
Arguably the most important element you can add to your graphics is your logo. Branding, as it’s called, helps spread your name around. Hence, it’s crucial that you add your logo to every design you create.
How to download?
Finally, you need to download your project. Desygner offers 5 options that you can see in the screenshot below.
JPG and PNG are ideal for images. Truthfully, I don’t think that the PNG’s exporting dialogue works as intended. You can set the image quality with a slider from 0 to 100. I’ve tried both, and the downloaded images are identical in size and visual quality, although the low-quality ones should be significantly smaller.
PDF options are best when you export multiple pages, and the video option speaks for itself.
Now, we’ve come to the good stuff – the main reason I’d choose Desygner over Canva or any other online graphic design platform.
As a paid Desygner plan user, you get up to 147 million Shutterstock images (125 mils with the Pro+ plan) for free. Also, Desygner has integrated Pixabay’s, Photodexia’s, and Unsplash’s photo libraries into its editor, making adding images to your projects super-fast and easy. You can also see all Google’s photos, but you must be careful, as you don’t know whether you may use them.
More on that in a minute. So that you never get in trouble, let’s talk about licensing of stock photos at Desygner.
Licenses of the photos Desygner offers can be divided into three groups:
- Shutterstock (royalty-free)
- PIxabay, Photodexia, Unsplash (creative commons zero)
- Google Image Search (unknown)
Shutterstock license (royalty-free)
Desygner has partnered with Shutterstock so that you can use their images for free. But you cannot directly download Shutterstock images. Instead, you can only get them by opening Desygner’s editor, selecting a Shutterstock image, using it within your design (you don’t have to make any changes), and then download the design.
All Shutterstock images you download via Desygner are licensed under a royalty-free license. That means that you must agree to the following:
- You may not use the images as a trademark of your business;
- You may not portray a person in an offensive way, for adult content, dating services, tobacco products promotion, pornography, or other defamatory purposes;
- You may only use the images for content created on Desygner.
Also, Desygner does not refund Shutterstock images.
Pixabay, Photodexia, Unsplash (creative commons zero)
When you search for Pixabay, Photodexia, or Unsplash images (and icons), you are shown results licensed under the creative commons zero license.
In short, it means that you may copy, modify, distribute, and use the photos for free for private or commercial purposes without asking permission or providing attribution to the photographer.
However, these images are not vetted and therefore don’t have a warranty (also called legal indemnification).
Google Image Search
You must be careful with the images you find with the Google Image Search, as it’s difficult to tell how they are licensed.
For example, the images I create for Photutorial also show up in the Google Image Search. And while I’m happy if people find them useful and want to share them, they need my permission first or attribute Photutorial. Some website owners are a lot more strict than I am, and you could get in serious trouble by using the their images without permission.
So, if I were you, I’d stay away from Google Images, no matter how tempting they look.
Desygner has one free plan and three paid plans. You can opt between paying yearly (cheaper) and monthly (more expensive). The third paid plan is for Enterprises, which get custom pricing.
Each paid plan also comes with a 30-day free trial.
Let’s take a look at key features of the Desygner plans (this data is available at desygner.com/pricing/):
|Shutterstock images||–||125 million||147 million|
|Team members||0||up to 5||from $9.95/user|
|Support||–||Priority, no ads||Same day|
Free plan ($0.00)
It’s not a free trial but a free plan. It means that it never expires, and you can keep using it for free forever. The Free plan is best suited for exploring Desygner and figuring out whether it fits your needs or not. But it’s not completely useless for all design work.
In fact, you can get quite a bit with it:
- Thousands of free templates;
- Millions of free images & icons;
- 300+ design formats.
And you can do a lot:
- Import & edit PDF up to 10 pages;
- Resize designs with one-click;
- Create your own personal asset library;
- Organise designs into folders;
- Use on PC, Mac, iOS, and Android;
- Print globally and deliver locally.
Desygner Free Trial (30 days free)
In addition to the Free plan, Desygner also offers a 30-day free trial for the Pro+ and the Business plan. You can cancel the free trial anytime within the first 30 days, and you will not be billed.
Pro+ plan (from $4.95/month)
Pro+ plan gives you everything you get with a free plan, plus:
- You can invite up to 5 team members and share designs with them;
- You get access to 10 bil+ Google images and 125 mil Shutterstock images;
- All premium templates;
- Unlimited PDF editing and importing;
- You can set up your brand identity (such as colours, logo);
- Thousands of fonts, you can also upload your own;
- Social media scheduler.
Business plan (from $9.95/month)
The business plan is an upgraded version of the Pro+ plan. In addition to everything you get with the Pro+ plan, you:
- Can create brand templates for your team and set up multiple brand kits;
- Instead of 125 mil Shutterstock images, you get 147 million;
- Make editable templates from PDFs;
- Set up alerts and schedules for collections;
- Get discounts on large prints;
- Invite guests to your team and manage teams;
- and a lot more.
Enterprise plan has everything the Business plan brings to the table and more. Its features are best suited for, you guessed it, enterprises. Since these already know what they’re looking for, I won’t go into any details.
While Desygner is a wonderful online platform for graphic design, it’s worth mentioning a few others.
Canva vs Desygner
Honestly, if I needed an online graphic design platform right now, Canva and Desygner would be my top two choices. Both are strikingly similar platforms, so it’s best if I compare them in a comparison table:
|Price||$12.99/mo or $119.99/ye||$9.95/mo or $59.40/ye|
|Stock images||100+ million||147 million (Shutterstock)|
|Templates||610,000||20,000 (500,000 soon)|
|Team size||up to 5||up to 6|
|Social media scheduling||Yes||Yes|
As you can see, Canva and Desygner are very similar in every aspect. Since both tools offer a 30-day free trial, I recommend you try both and then see which one feels better.
Designs.ai vs Desygner
Designs.ai is a significantly more diverse tool than Desygner and Canva, meaning it can do more things. But it’s not as good at any of them. It’s like that quote, “Jack of all trades, master of none.”
The biggest reason to choose Desygner over Designs.ai for me is how slow Designs.ai is. Switching between tools takes several seconds, and sometimes it doesn’t load at all.
Photoshop vs Desygner
Photoshop is an extremely versatile tool. When you hear the word “Photoshop”, you probably first think about photo manipulation and not graphic design.
But Photoshop can be effectively used to create beautiful designs. There’s only one catch – it’s not that easy to use for a beginner.
Similarly to Desygner, Photoshop also has an integrated stock photo library – Adobe Stock. But you need to pay for it separately, meaning it’s not included in the price of Photoshop.
Truthfully, I own Photoshop, but I rarely use it for graphic design unless I’m creating a more complex design. Otherwise, I use either Desygner or Canva.
If you’re thinking about purchasing a tool to create beautiful graphics, but you also need an integrated stock photo library at a very low price, I think that the Desygner Pro+ or Business plans are the best options for you.
Canva is a worthy alternative, but it’s more expensive and doesn’t include free Shutterstock photos.