August 18, 2014

Tools to Design Graphics Pages

Brent Schlenker describes two interesting tools for creating graphics, Canva ( and Placeit (, in a recent blog post. I decided to try Canva... and then to compare it with PicMonkey's ( design and collage features. (Note: this post has been modified since its original publication earlier today.)
Designed w/ Canva using my own photo
Designed w/ PicMonkey using my own photo
Designed w/ Canva using my own photos
Designed w/ PicMonkey using my own photos

Both applications are easy to use. Canva is a design tool which provides photo-editing options. PicMonkey is a photo-editing tool which has options for designing pages and creating collages.

I find PicMonkey easier to use, but I'm sure that my experience using it plays a large part in that. This is my first time trying Canva. Both applications provide useful content such as fonts and graphics. You can use each well for free, but both also have additional features and/or content available for a cost.

Both applications were easy to use for my first experiment, the two graphics pages at the top of this page. I used the blog graphic page in Canva and the design option in PicMonkey. Using PicMonkey feels more comfortable, but then I have used (and have been pleased with) PicMonkey for a long time.

After publishing this post earlier today I decided that a fair comparison requires me to also create something more challenging. So, I designed the themes posters displayed above. Canva is rather easy to use for this task. I can tilt the photos for a more casual look, although I chose not to do that for this test. I particularly like two features: (1) the ability to arrange individual photos forward or backward (on top of or behind other photos) and (2) being able to arrange the photos free form rather than in a matrix.

The design option in PicMonkey did not give me the flexibility I need for the themes poster. PicMonkey's collage option works fairly well, however. One feature I would like to have available when creating a collage is the ability to arrange an individual photo forward or backward when it overlaps another photo.

Angie Nelson also tried Canva and decided to compare it with PicMonkey. Read her blog post to see how she compares the two applications. (Hint: she also sees pros and cons with each.)

At this point PicMonkey is still my go to application for much of my work with graphics, including photos. But, it's good to know there's another application with a different approach available.

Do you use PicMonkey or Canva to design graphics pages? Or do you have a different tool that you use?

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