Indesign vs Canva

By Published On: February 12, 2023

Indesign vs Canva - The Ultimate Research Guide made clear-er

Indesign vs Canva The Ultimate Guide Article at Adgenix

The Indesign vs Canva debate rages on. Both are powerful design tools that offer users different solutions for their creative needs. Indesign is an industry-standard software product by Adobe that is used by professional designers, artists, and publishers alike to create high-quality visual publications. On the other hand, Canva is a user-friendly web application tool that makes graphic design accessible to everyone. Let’s R&D this and provide some answers.


This is not a ‘which is best?’ article. No.
Indesign vs Canva. Both great, both awesome and both fit for their own purpose.
All solutions in the world are made for a reason and comparing is sometimes a null and void endevour.
Researching this article took much longer than I usually spend and I even used ChatGPT & Jasper to help me rewrite parts due to other blogs and articles I read for research. Heavily biased and unbalanced where the scales tipped depending on someones skill, execution expectation or financial situation. So this was not an easy article to write.
I immediately became annoyed by all the articles comparing the two which lead me to ask question number one:
  1. Q: What is the point of ‘comparison’?
    A: Comparison or comparing is the act of evaluating two or more things by determining the relevant, comparable characteristics of each thing, and then determining which characteristics of each are similar to the other, which are different, and to what degree.
  2. Q: Why do we compare two things?
    A: The purpose of conducting the comparison or contrast is not to state the obvious but rather to illuminate subtle differences or unexpected similarities.
  3. Q: Do comparisons enable growth?
    A: When comparing two solutions, it can also be useful to consider factors such as cost, effectiveness, ease-of-use, and features. By weighing up the pros and cons of each option, it can help you make an informed decision about what’s right for you.

Ultimately, the best way to choose between two solutions is by considering your own needs and preferences so that you can make the most suitable decision for yourself. I believe it’s not fair to compare the two but it’s good to weigh up what’s best for your desired outcome, your skill and experience.



Canva is a user-friendly graphic design web application founded in 2012 that is perfect for creating professional designs without any prior experience or design knowledge. Since then it has grown rapidly, with hundreds of employees across many countries and more than 20 million monthly users – wow right?

With an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface anyone can create amazing visuals for print or web use. Its interface makes creating designs a breeze for beginners or those without a design degree but savvy enough to knows what’s cool, it’s easy to customize your designs with your own photos and videos, or by using built-in images, fonts, and illustrations, it also offers some advanced tools for graphic designers and other professionals.

There is no need to worry about getting your design proportions right—Canva takes care of that for you. And if you ever need some inspiration, you can browse through the millions of templates and designs created by other users from all around the world.

So whether you’re looking to create an invitation for your next event, or put together an eye-catching social media post, Canva has everything you need to get started and more. It is truly a fantastic web application and when you stand back, clearly a tonne of work by many skilled developers and thinkers has gone into it. And it shows.

It’s important to note that Canva has three access points:

  1. Free
  2. Pro at AUD $164.99 a year – check here for what’s included
  3. Teams at AUD $209.90 a year for five people – and here for teams


Adobe Indesign

Adobe InDesign is a powerful desktop publishing software designed for professionals who need to create print and digital publications with high-quality visuals with speed and accuracy. With InDesign, you can easily add text, photographs, illustrations, and other design elements to your publications. The software also makes it easy to adjust font size, color, and spacing as well as create eye-catching typography and graphics.

InDesign also offers advanced features such as layer management and interactive document support so that you can quickly and easily make changes to existing documents. Adobe InDesign is the perfect tool for any designer or publisher looking to produce professional results with access to a huge array of features.

Adobe InDesign is used by millions of designers, publishers and other professionals to create beautiful prints and digital publications. It was first released in 1999, and has since gone through several updates and iterations. InDesign version 18.1 release (December 2022) is the latest/most current version of Adobe InDesign, is the most powerful yet, with a wide range of features that enable users to design stunning visuals with ease.

Adobe InDesign has millions of lines of code (around 4.5 million), making it one of the largest applications produced by Adobe Systems. Its main points of use include creating print and digital content such as brochures, postcards, magazines, posters and books as well as interactive documents such as eBooks. Users can also manage layers and integrate other Adobe apps such as Photoshop or Illustrator into their workflows. It’s a huge pice of software when standing next to Canva.

Adobe InDesign has a subscription based access point of free for 7 days, then purchase either one of these:

  1. InDesign at $29.99 month
  2. Adobe Creative Cloud Suite at $79.99 month which includes 100 GB of cloud storage, Adobe Portfolio, Adobe Fonts and access to the latest features and updates as soon as they’re released, plus all the following software:
Adobe Creative Cloud
Acrobat Pro Capture
Photoshop Fresco
Illustrator Bridge
InDesign Adobe Express
Premiere Pro Premiere Rush
After Effects Photoshop Express
Lightroom Media Encoder
XD Aero
Animate Prelude
Lightroom Classic Lightroom Web
Dreamweaver Adobe Scan
Dimension Fill & Sign
Audition Acrobat Reader
Character Animator



One of the most important features for graphic designers, makers and creators is access to templates. Templates are pre-designed layouts that can be easily edited and customized, making the design process much faster and more efficient. Both Indesign and Canva offer an extensive selection of templates, but they differ in the type of templates they offer.

Indesign has a wide range of templates that cater to more professional and complex design needs. Its templates are customizable and can be used for a variety of design projects, including brochures, magazines, and books.

Canva, on the other hand, focuses on simplicity and ease of use. Its templates are designed for quick and easy editing, and are perfect for social media posts, flyers, and presentations but it can certainly do some bigger stuff and like all programs, it’s forever being enhanced.


Comparisons: What You Need to Know

Here’s a detailed comparison table between Adobe InDesign vs Canva, highlighting their pros and cons.

Feature Adobe InDesign Canva
Ease of Use Moderate to Difficult Easy
Design Flexibility High High
Pre-made Templates Adobe Stock Library is huge plus other websites Wide Range of Templates Available
Vector Editing Strong Basic
User Interface Complex User-friendly
Price Subscription-based; Expensive Subscription-based; Affordable
Integration with Other Adobe Tools High Limited
Learning Curve Steep Shallow
Target User Professionals and Enterprise Beginners, Crafters and Small Businesses

Pros of Adobe InDesign:

  • Provides robust design capabilities for professional graphic designers.
  • Offers high design flexibility and allows for the creation of complex designs.
  • Integrates well with other Adobe tools like Photoshop and Illustrator.
  • Supports a wide range of file formats.

Cons of Adobe InDesign:

  • Has a steep learning curve and requires time to master.
  • Has a complex user interface that can be difficult to navigate for new users.
  • Limited availability of pre-made templates.
  • Expensive subscription-based pricing model.

Pros of Canva:

  • User-friendly interface that is easy to use, even for non-designers.
  • Wide range of pre-made templates available for different design needs.
  • Affordable subscription-based pricing model.
  • Has basic vector editing capabilities.

Cons of Canva:

  • Has a limited integration with other design tools.
  • Basic vector editing capabilities may not be sufficient for professional designers.
  • Pre-made templates may not be customizable to the same extent as Adobe InDesign.
  • Targeted more towards beginners and small businesses, rather than professionals and enterprise.

This comparison table should give you a good idea of the differences between Adobe InDesign and Canva and help you choose the best platform for your design needs.


Processing & Complexity

One of the main differences between Indesign and Canva is the level of complexity. Indesign is a professional-grade graphic design software that has over 4.5 million lines of code. This makes it a much more complex and powerful software, designed for bigger and more demanding design projects. Canva, on the other hand, is designed to be simple and easy to use, making it accessible to a wider range of users.

Adobe Indesign is Professional Desktop Publishing Software that requires you to create an account, purchase a subscription, download the software and install it into your computer.

Canva is a Web Application you can access through your browser so it needs to be light and nimble and quick as a cat. It’s processing power is confined to the browser and its own servers. The fact it can do what it does is awesome – but that’s its intented use – it’s not trying to be software.

Despite its simplicity, Canva is still an incredibly powerful tool. Its user-friendly interface makes it easy to access and use design resources, and its vast library of templates, graphics, and images make it a versatile tool for both professional and personal design projects. As you can tell, I’m a huge admirer and advocate for Canva, but having been to Design School and worked in the industry for 20+ years, I have subcriptions to Adobe Creative Cloud for professional client work.


Access to Design Resources

Another key factor in choosing between Indesign and Canva is access to design resources. Indesign is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite, giving users access to a wide range of other software like Photoshop and Illustrator plus design resources like pre-designed templates, fonts and stock imagery but this depends on your level of subscription as you won’t always get access to everything on the farm.

For example, Adobe Stock, Adobe Fonts, and Adobe Shape can cost extra. This makes it a great choice for professional graphic designers who need access to a wide range of design resources, that’s if money permits or the Company is paying the bill.

Canva also offers a vast library of design resources, including templates, graphics, and images. Its library is constantly growing, making it a versatile tool for both personal and professional design projects. Additionally, Canva offers a range of paid premium features, including access to premium templates, graphics, and images, making it a cost-effective option for those who need access to high-quality design resources.


Authors Notes

  1. Back in 2009 / 2010 we made a drag-and-drop design editor using Macromedia Flash & ActionScript 3. Back then we could see the attraction and enjoyment of using a design editor like Canva but it was rudimentary as we didn’t have the skill or people power at that time.
  2. I am personally a huge fan of Canva and what they have created – it is flat-out awesome. It has created access for people to create and design without having to spend a bucket of money on University and software subscriptions – I firmly believe these kinds of tools are the future.
  3. Canva will no-doubt continue to grow and enhance and so will browsers and their capabilities and this is where I believe Software Companies are on the back foot, as knowing how to provide their sophisticated software tools through a browser or application is going to be the key to moving forward – spoiler alert, they are onto this. Adobe Premier Rush for video editing and Lightroom for photo editing on the iPhone for example are both super fantastic to use and the results are often professional grade which is outstanding.
  4. If a client came to me with professional photos, a serious brief and a hefty budget with strict deliverables on time-frames and professional execution, I would be using Adobe Suite of Software without even thinking about it.Canva wouldn’t enter my mind as a tool to use in my workflow.
  5. Software is specifically designed to work with the hardware on your computer. Software is always ready and waiting for user input, sending signals to the hardware when necessary. The hardware then responds by accessing data stored as bits on memory chips. Sounds technical but I don’t need my expensive software struggling to open a high-res photo when I have a deadline to hit. I don’t have time to wait for a browser to load the tools I need over the internet – just get it done = software.
  6. An internet browser is software that allows you to view websites, search the web and access online content. It typically consists of a graphical user interface (GUI) that displays text, images and other media from web pages. The most commonly used browsers are Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Apple Safari. It is not software. Browsers can store only small bits of data and only for a session, meaning when you close your browser, it’s all gone.
  7. The future view here is;
    You don’t needs skills, you need tools.
    And both Indesign + Canva are tools.
    So use the right tool for the job.


Using our Templates: Shameless Plug

If you have your own staff or team you could use our design templates and follow some of the training we provide here on the website.

Here at Adgenix – while we don’t have thousands of templates yet, nor do we cover all categories, the Templates we do have are known for the clever ideas already instilled into them. They’re easy to use boasting only 3 layers. They can be changed to any language you need. They have loads of components and you can mix & match with design components from many other places to make your own design.


Conclusion and Final Thoughts

In conclusion, both Indesign and Canva are powerful tools for graphic design, each offering unique features and capabilities. It’s not a fair comparison to perform as Indesign is a professional-grade software designed for bigger and more complex design projects, while Canva is a user-friendly web based tool that is accessible to a wider range of users. When choosing between the two, consider your design needs, access to design resources, and the level of complexity you are comfortable with.

I really hope this research guide helps.

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Written by : Adgenix

We're the designers at the Template Foundry banging out templates & design assets for your projects. Our goal is to get you working with our templates as quickly as possible and start making better designs for your business today.