Canva is a do-it-yourself graphic design platform, accessed via the web or app, that is used to create social media graphics, logos, videos, posters, flyers, and presentations for commercial and personal use.
Canva’s simple interface makes it super easy to create beautiful, professional designs without any design experience. This has seen the platform become increasingly popular with small business owners, who very often don’t have the funds available to hire a professional designer or marketing agency.
What is perhaps not so simple, is Canva's Content License Agreement, which determines how you can use the content created on the platform.
In this article, we will cover our most frequently asked questions about Canva content, and explain the basics of its licensing terms and conditions.
Using Canva Content
If you use content from Canva to create your own, unique design then there are very few restrictions on how you can use your Canva creation.
Generally speaking, Canva permits users to design and sell templates (from scratch), design and use the content for advertising media and platforms, and design and sell designs on printed merchandise and products. If however, you use unedited Canva content (e.g. an image or content without any modifications or addition of different design elements) then there are restrictions, for example:
There is a pixel limit for online uses (to protect Canva content from being downloaded for use outside of Canva).
You cannot under any circumstances, sell any Canva content on a standalone basis (for example, when creating artwork to be used on merchandise and products that will be sold, you cannot use Canva content as is. You must make the design your own by adding graphics, icons or fonts).
Although “always welcome”, there is no requirement to attribute creators of the elements used in a user's designs. However, one should consider that it is common practice (and the right thing to do) to attribute the creator of the content when being included in a published article. To do this, Canva has suggested the following: “include this note © [Media Element Creator’s Name] via Canva.com next to the image or in the credits section”.
To find out a media elements creator’s name, you can either hover your mouse cursor over the media element, and click …, or click on the media and then on the Info icon from the editor toolbar above.
Except for fonts, basic shapes and lines, Canva content cannot be used in a trademark as you don’t have exclusive rights which you require in order to register a trademark. Remember, all Canva users are free to use the same content.
Canva's standard license agreement states that users retain the copyright to any unique designs they create using the platform. However, the license also grants Canva a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to use, reproduce, modify, distribute, and display the design for various purposes, including promoting the platform, creating derivative works, and marketing the service (meaning they can use your content should they wish).
For designs created by in-house designers, Canva owns the copyright to the design and allows users to use it under the standard license agreement. For designs created by third-party contributors, the copyright ownership and licensing terms may vary.
In summary and in Canva’s words: “As a starting principle, one of Canva’s core values is to be a good human. You should keep this front of mind when using Canva to create your designs. For example, you shouldn’t take credit for another artist’s hard work by trying to sell a design that you haven’t created yourself”.