Canva or PicMonkey? How to Make the Most of Both

Beautiful images can make a huge difference in how your website or social media posts are perceived. The good news is, there are great free desktop tools you can use for creating lovely graphics and images to use.

Canva and PicMonkey are my two favorites. 

If you've heard about these tools, you've probably seen users of each platform can be devotees who tell you how wonderful one service is over the other. However, I'm here to tell you both are great tools for different tasks.

Have you ever tried to hammer a nail into a board with a shoe? Yes, it can work, but with it comes frustration and a loss of time.

Here are my recommendations about how to make the best of both of the platforms so your graphics and images really shine.

canva or picmonkey


When to Use Canva

The best feature of Canva is it's layouts. Whether you need to create a PDF cover, a Facebook cover photo, a marketing brochure or advertisement, Canva has beautiful templates for you to use. 

I often use Canva to get design ideas for placement and font combinations, as they have already done that work for you.

Canva includes some photo editing capabilities, but I find them awkward and not intuitive to use. 

Overall, I enjoy Canva, but can sometimes get frustrated with it's slow speed. I also get frustrated with the interface. It is simple and streamlined, which in most cases is a plus - but it can sometimes feel like Canva assumes you know what all the tools are and how they work. I don't want to have to search Help every time I want to figure out how to do something that I could have figured out if there was a bit more guidance within the platform.

Take Away: Canva's strong point is layout and design.

When to Use PicMonkey

PicMonkey is a terrific tool for photo editing. Easily tweak aspects of photos such as the exposure, brightness, colors, and other basic functions. Additionally, PicMonkey includes some pretty slick filters and more advanced editing options, such as the ability to adjust color curves and clone parts of a picture.

And whenever I have a new profile pic for social media or my website, I always use PicMonkey's Touch Up capabilities. You can smooth skin and brighten eyes without ending up looking like a cartoon version of yourself. (These two tools are in the paid version.)

PicMonkey includes some basic collage tools take work for creating things such as basic Pinterest graphics, but the overall selection of layouts is somewhat limited. 

In addition, compared to Canva, the pre-made graphic elements feel less professional to me. 

Take Away: Photo editing is PicMonkey's strength.

Recommended Workflow for Creating Beautiful Graphics

With these thoughts in mind, my recommendation is to start with PicMonkey to get your photos ready for your design. Get it exactly how you want it to look in the final graphic.

Then, import it into Canva to use it in one of their layouts.

Do you use Canva and PicMonkey? How do you use them?