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  • Writer's pictureBrandilyn Christine

The Unethical Side of Advertising as a Canva-Only Graphic Designer

Updated: Jul 14, 2023

Why is it Unethical to Advertise Yourself as a Graphic Designer When the Only Thing You Have Learned to Do is Use Canva?

In today's digital age, graphic design has become a highly sought-after skill. With the rise of social media and online platforms, businesses and individuals constantly need visually appealing content. However, it is important to distinguish between professional graphic designers with the necessary expertise and those who rely on tools like Canva. This article explores the ethical implications of advertising oneself as a graphic designer when the only skill acquired is using Canva.

canva based template

Lack of Proficiency and Expertise

Becoming a proficient graphic designer requires a deep understanding of design principles, typography, color theory, and composition. It involves honing skills in various software tools and applications, such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. By relying solely on Canva, which offers pre-made templates and limited customization options, individuals don’t allow themselves the opportunity to develop the necessary expertise to create unique and tailored designs.

Misrepresentation of Skills

Advertising as a graphic designer implies a certain level of competence and professionalism. However, when individuals falsely present themselves as skilled graphic designers without the requisite knowledge and experience, they misrepresent their abilities. This can lead to clients hiring someone under pretenses and subsequently receiving subpar design work.

Undermining the Design Profession

Graphic design is a respected profession that requires years of education, training, and experience. By claiming to be a graphic designer based solely on Canva usage, individuals undermine the efforts of professional designers who have dedicated their careers to mastering the craft. This practice devalues the expertise and skill set that professional graphic designers bring.

Quality and Originality Concerns

Graphic designers are trained to create original, high-quality designs communicating a brand's message. They understand the importance of visual hierarchy, consistency, and effective use of colors and fonts. Canva, on the other hand, offers generic templates that need more uniqueness and a tailored approach required for effective branding and design. Clients seeking professional graphic design services expect originality and quality, which Canva-reliant designers may need help to deliver.

Violation of Ethical Standards

Ethics play a crucial role in the design profession. Designers are responsible for considering factors such as accessibility, inclusivity, and the impact of their work on society. By misrepresenting their skills and relying solely on Canva, individuals bypass the ethical considerations that professional designers incorporate into their work. This can lead to insensitive, exclusionary designs or even harmful representations of a business.

Lack of Problem-Solving Skills

Graphic design is not just about creating visually appealing designs; it also involves problem-solving. Professional designers analyze client needs, research, and develop solutions that effectively address specific challenges. Canva, as a tool, provides limited room for problem-solving and critical thinking. Relying solely on its templates hinders the development of problem-solving skills, limiting the designer's ability to create innovative and effective solutions.

FAQs about Advertising Yourself as a Graphic Designer When Using Canva

FAQ 1: Can I consider myself a graphic designer if I only use Canva?

No, solely using Canva does not qualify you as a graphic designer. Graphic design encompasses many skills and knowledge that extend beyond Canva's limitations. To be considered a graphic designer, you must acquire expertise in design principles, software applications, and the ability to create original and customized designs.


FAQ 2: Can Canva replace professional graphic design software?

While Canva offers convenience and simplicity, it cannot replace professional graphic design software like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign. These tools provide more advanced features and customization options, allowing designers to create complex, unique designs tailored to specific client needs.


FAQ 3: What are the risks of hiring a Canva-reliant designer?

Hiring a Canva-reliant designer poses several risks. You may receive designs that need more originality and represent your brand effectively. You also risk the quality of the files you are provided as a backup; for example, if you get a logo created by a graphic artist, you should always be given a backup of your logo in multiple formats. It is essential that you have your logo as a vector so you can use that to produce large format designs, change the colors of your logo to black or white and use it for producing promotional marketing products. Canva does not produce vector artwork. Additionally, the designer may need more problem-solving skills to address unique design challenges. Hiring a professional graphic designer ensures higher expertise and quality in your design projects.


FAQ 4: Are there any ethical concerns with using Canva as a graphic designer?

Using Canva itself is not unethical; however, misrepresenting oneself as a graphic designer solely based on Canva usage raises ethical concerns. It deceives clients and undermines the value of professional graphic designers who have invested time and effort into developing their skills.


FAQ 5: How can I ensure I'm hiring a qualified graphic designer?

To ensure you hire a qualified graphic designer, ask for their portfolio, what programs they use to create their graphics and their educational background. Look for designers with experience working with various software applications, demonstrating a strong understanding of design principles, and showcasing original and high-quality work.


FAQ 6: Can Canva be a supplemental tool for professional graphic designers?

Yes, Canva can be used as a supplemental tool by professional graphic designers. It can save time and inspire, especially for quick social media graphics or simple design elements. However, professional designers will still rely on their expertise and design software to create custom and complex designs.


For several reasons, advertising oneself as a graphic designer based solely on Canva usage is unethical. It misrepresents one's skills, undermines the design profession, compromises quality and originality, violates ethical standards, and hinders the development of problem-solving abilities. To maintain the integrity of the design profession and ensure clients receive high-quality and tailored designs, it is essential to recognize the value of professional graphic designers and their expertise.


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