Is Canva Open Source And The Best Alternatives

Is Canva open source? No — Canva is not open source. You won’t be able to modify and distribute the Canva software for any purpose. Instead, Canva operates on a freemium model.

This means that while a substantial portion of its features are free, some advanced functionalities are behind a paywall.

Ready to get to the heart of the matter? In this article, you will discover how Canva works, its alternatives, and what “open source” truly means. Let’s dive in!

is canva open source

Why isn’t Canva Open Source?

  1. Proprietary Model: Canva operates on a freemium model. This means it offers many of its services for free, but charges for premium features. Their source code is proprietary, kept under wraps, and not available for public modification or redistribution.
  2. Business Strategy: By keeping its source code private, Canva retains full control over its platform’s development, updates, and monetization strategies. This gives them an edge in ensuring consistent user experience, quality control, and revenue streams from premium features.
  3. Unique Features and Algorithms: Canva has developed several unique algorithms and features over the years. Making their software open source would mean sharing these innovations with the public, which might not align with their business objectives.

Disadvantages Of Canva Not Being Open Source

  1. Customization Limitations: Users can’t dive into Canva code and tweak it for specific, individualized needs.
  2. Dependence on Company Decisions: Any changes or updates made to the platform are at the discretion of Canva. Users have to adapt to these changes, whether they like them or not.
  3. Potential Costs: While a substantial portion of Canva features is available for free, there are advanced features, tools, and assets that come at a cost.

What Is An Open Source Software?

Open source software (OSS) is software with a source code that anyone can inspect, modify, and enhance. The basic premise revolves around transparency and collaboration. Essentially, when software is open source, it means:

  1. Accessibility: Everyone can freely access the software’s code.
  2. Freedom: Users have the liberty to redistribute the software.
  3. Community Driven: Modifications and improvements are often contributed by a vast community of developers, enhancing their capabilities and security.

What Type Of Software Is Canva?

So if Canva is not an open-source software, then what is it? You can call it closed-source, proprietary software, or software without a public license.

In other words, Canva falls into the proprietary software category but with a twist. While its core source code is not available for public access or modification, it employs a freemium business model. What does this mean?

Freemium Business Model

“Freemium” is a combination of “free” and “premium”. Under this model:

  1. Base Offering: Canva offers a substantial set of features for free. This allows users to access a wide array of design tools, templates, and other functionalities without spending a penny.
  2. Premium Features: While the free version is comprehensive, Canva also has premium features, tools, and assets available for users who are willing to pay. These could include advanced design tools, a broader range of templates, or even priority support.
  3. Monetization Strategy: By offering valuable tools for free, Canva attracts a large user base. Some of these users eventually convert to the premium version, generating revenue for the company.

Canva Proprietary Status

  1. Controlled Environment: Being proprietary means Canva has full control over its platform. This ensures a consistent user experience, security, and quality control.
  2. Business Agility: Canva can swiftly adapt its strategies, introduce new features, or modify existing ones based on business needs without consulting a community, as is often the case with open-source software.
  3. Protection of Intellectual Property: Canva’s unique features, algorithms, and design elements remain protected, ensuring they maintain a competitive edge in the market.

What Is A Free Open Source Canva Alternative?

While Canva has cemented its place as a favorite design tool for creating social media graphics, stunning designs, and more, there is more than one open-source Canva alternative that has advanced features and capabilities.

Below, you will see the tools often seen as alternatives to Canva and the Adobe Creative Cloud suite. They offer a range of functionalities with a focus on design elements and are backed by vibrant communities.

Related: Is Canva Like Indesign Software? [6 Best Comparisons]

1. Inkscape

A powerful vector graphics editor, seen by many as an alternative to Adobe Illustrator. It provides a wide range of tools, making it perfect for creating intricate vector illustrations, logos, and icons.

Inkscape is especially suitable for those who want professional-looking designs without committing to the Adobe Creative Cloud suite.

2. GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program)

This graphic design software is the open-source answer to Adobe Photoshop. GIMP provides robust image editing capabilities, complete with editing tools that rival those in Photoshop.

It’s perfect for photo editing, retouching, and creating artwork.

3. Scribus

If you’re searching for an Adobe InDesign alternative, Scribus is the open-source solution. It’s an exemplary design software for producing brochures, newsletters, and books, ensuring that your designs are print-ready and professional.

4. Krita

A digital design tool tailored for artists, illustrators, and comic book creators. It boasts a wide range of brushes and graphic design tools ideal for digital paintings.

5. Darktable

For those keen on photography and in search of an alternative to Adobe Lightroom, Darktable offers extensive post-processing features and adopts a non-destructive editing style, preserving the quality of original images.

6. Blender

Venturing slightly outside the realm of graphic design, Blender is a powerful tool for 3D modeling, rendering, animation, and video editing.

7. Pencil Project

This open-source design tool lets users sketch mobile and web application mockups.

8. Pixlr X

Another image editing and photo editor tool, Pixlr X provides features akin to Adobe Express and Adobe Spark, catering to both beginners and seasoned designers.

When considering an alternative to proprietary tools like Canva Pro or platforms under the Adobe banner such as Adobe Creative Cloud Express, these open-source alternatives pack a punch.

Whether it’s templates, stock images, or advanced features you’re after, these platforms cater to a wide range of needs. Plus, most of them come with a free plan and even mobile app versions for design on the go.

These open-source alternatives not only offer a rich feature set for graphic designers, but they also champion the ethos of open-source: collaboration, customization, and community-driven enhancement.

Whether you’re crafting social media graphics, editing images, or pursuing more complex design projects, there’s likely an open-source tool tailored to your needs.

Final Thoughts: Is Canva Open Source?

While Canva offers a wide range of tools and capabilities, making it a favorite among many designers and non-designers alike, it doesn’t fit into the open-source category.

However, its user-friendly interface, rich feature set, and cloud-based capabilities make it a compelling choice for those looking to create quality graphics without a steep learning curve.

Those specifically seeking an open-source alternative might have to look elsewhere, but for many, Canva’s offerings strike the right balance between accessibility and advanced design capabilities.


Is Everything On Canva Copyright Free?

No, not everything on Canva is copyright free. While Canva does offer a wide range of free graphics, images, and templates, it also has premium assets that come with licensing agreements.

Users must ensure they adhere to these licenses, especially when using the designs for commercial purposes. Always check the licensing details of each asset to understand its usage restrictions.

Is Canva Actually Free?

Yes — Canva offers a free version that provides access to a broad set of design tools and templates. However, they also offer Canva Pro, a subscription-based premium version with additional features, tools, and access to a larger library of assets.

While many functionalities are available for free, some premium design elements, templates, and features require payment or a Canva Pro subscription.

Can You Use Canva Templates For Free?

Yes — you can use many of Canva’s templates for free. The platform offers a vast array of free templates for various design needs, from social media graphics to presentations.

However, some templates, especially those with premium design elements or images, may require a fee or a Canva Pro subscription to access them fully.

Always ensure you are using a free template or are aware of any associated costs before finalizing your design.

How Do I Get Canva Pro For Lifetime Free?

If you are part of an educational institution as a student or teacher, you can apply to Canva For Education to get a 100% Canva student discount. You can also apply for free use of Canva Pro if you are part of a non-profit organization.

Other than that, there isn’t an official way to get Canva Pro for free for a lifetime. Canva occasionally offers trials of their Pro version to new users or for promotional purposes, but these are temporary.

Be wary of unofficial offers or third-party sources claiming to provide lifetime access for free, as they might be scams or violate Canva’s terms of service.

Can I Sell Free Images From Canva?

No, you cannot sell the free images from Canva directly as standalone products. Canva provides licenses that allow users to use their free and premium images in various projects.

But selling them directly or repackaging them without significant modification violates Canva’s licensing agreement.

If you’re planning to use Canva images in a product you wish to sell, ensure you thoroughly read and understand Canva’s license terms.

Is It Legal To Use Canva Templates For Commercial Use?

Yes, most of Canva’s templates can be used for commercial purposes. However, it’s essential to check the licensing terms for each template or design element you use.

Some might come with restrictions or require the purchase of a premium license. As always, when using Canva for commercial projects, ensure you are following their terms of service and licensing agreements to avoid any legal complications.

Can You Use Canva Designs To Sell On Etsy?

Yes — you can use Canva designs to sell on Etsy, but with certain conditions. If you’re using Canva’s free or purchased assets in your designs, you should ensure significant modifications so that the final product is unique and not just a direct resale of Canva’s templates or elements.

If your intention is commercial, always double-check Canva’s licensing agreements to ensure compliance, especially if you are using premium elements.

How Do I Avoid Copyright In Canva?

Here are some ways to avoid copyright issues in Canva:

  1. Use Canva’s Assets: Stick to using images, graphics, and elements provided by Canva as they come with licensing that allows for various uses, both personal and commercial (with conditions).
  2. Check Licensing: Always review the licensing terms for each asset you use, especially if you’re using the design for commercial purposes. Some assets may have restrictions or require additional licensing fees.
  3. Original Content: If you’re uploading your own images or designs to Canva, ensure they are original or that you have the necessary permissions or licenses to use them.
  4. Avoid Direct Reselling: Don’t resell Canva’s templates, images, or elements directly. If you’re creating a product for sale, make sure it’s significantly modified or combined with other original content.

What Is The Key Downside Of Using Free Canva?

The key downside of using the free version of Canva is the limitation on access to premium design assets and features.

While the free version offers a wide range of templates and design tools, many advanced features, premium templates, stock images, and design elements are reserved for Canva Pro subscribers.

Additionally, the free version might include watermarked assets or require attribution for certain elements. Another potential downside is storage limitations and the lack of advanced collaboration features available in the Pro version.

Is Canva Free Without Watermark?

Yes – many of Canva’s free design assets and templates can be used without any watermark. However, certain premium elements or images might display a watermark in the design view.

To remove this watermark, you would typically need to purchase the asset or subscribe to Canva Pro. Always make sure to review your final design to ensure no watermarked elements are present before downloading or publishing.

What Is A Free Alternative To Canva?

There is more than one Canva free alternative that offer design and editing tools:

  1. GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program): A powerful open-source graphic editor, often compared to Adobe Photoshop. It’s suitable for tasks like photo retouching, image composition, and image authoring.
  2. Inkscape: An open-source vector graphics editor, similar to Adobe Illustrator, which can be used for creating illustrations, logos, and more.
  3. Snappa: Like Canva, Snappa offers an easy-to-use interface for designing graphics for social media, ads, blogs, and more.
  4. Crello: Another online design tool that offers customizable templates and design elements for various purposes, similar to Canva.

Is There A Better Program Than Canva?

“Better” can be subjective and depends on individual needs. Canva is known for its user-friendly interface and a wide array of templates, making it popular among non-designers.

However, there are other graphic design tools and software that might be more suitable for specific tasks:

  1. Adobe Creative Cloud: This suite, which includes Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, is powerful and offers advanced features for professional graphic designers.
  2. CorelDRAW: A vector graphics editor that is particularly favored for tasks involving illustration or layout designs.
  3. Affinity Designer: A cheaper alternative to Adobe’s products, this tool is known for its robust vector and raster design capabilities.
  4. Snappa and Crello: Both are similar to Canva in terms of online design with ready-to-use templates.

The best program largely depends on the specific needs of the user, their proficiency level, and the particular project at hand.

What Is The Difference Between Canva Free And Canva Pro?

Canva Free and Canva Pro differ in terms of features, assets access, and collaboration tools:

  1. Design Assets: While both versions offer a wide range of templates, Canva Pro provides access to a more extensive library of premium templates, images, and design elements.
  2. Branding: Canva Pro allows users to set and save brand colors, fonts, and logos for consistent branding across designs.
  3. Background Remover: This feature, available in Canva Pro, lets users quickly remove the background from images, which is highly useful for creating product shots or other specific design needs.
  4. Magic Resize: Available in the Pro version, it allows users to automatically resize a particular design to fit various platforms or formats.
  5. Storage: Canva Pro offers more storage for users to save their designs and assets.
  6. Collaboration: The Pro version offers advanced collaboration features, allowing multiple users to work on a design simultaneously.
  7. Export Options: Canva Pro offers additional file export options, including higher-resolution downloads and different file types.

In essence, while Canva Free is comprehensive enough for basic design needs, Canva Pro is geared towards more serious designers, businesses, or individuals who require advanced features and a broader range of assets.

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