I am a HUGE Canva fan and have used it for almost ten years. I discovered it in 2014 and have not looked back at my alternative. All the competitors have yet to come close to the features and designs of Canva. One is on the horizon that has the money to take on Canva. Microsoft released their design product called Designer.
Currently, Microsoft Designer is free for the public to use. However, I managed to miss this footnote the first time I logged in to use the service. “The current free preview does not include all planned features to come; we will be adding more over time. Once the app is ready for general availability, it will be available both as a free app and with more premium features available to Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscribers.”
My first impression was the service is very limited, and it’s more of a “upload a picture, and we will design the rest.” They are leveraging heavily on the AI aspect. If you aren’t aware, Microsoft has invested in OpenAI’s ChatGPT and will release its own AI service called Copilot across its entire office suite and Designer.
According to the Microsoft website, here is what you can do today: “Get started with your ideas in Designer by simply describing what you want. Powered by generative AI technology, get one-of-a-kind images, including accompanying text and visuals, and design suggestions to meet your needs.” The features Fill, Expand background, Erase, and Replace background are coming soon.
One final tip I will give you if you plan to use the service is to use the desktop Edge browser for more features and functions. There are no apps, and it won’t work on tablets or mobile.
My overall impressions are it’s not a Canva competitor yet. However, that said, there is real potential with the service and the backing of Microsoft. Some cool features are not in Canva, like the drawing that turns into a picture. I will keep an eye on the service, but I will stay in Canva and let you know what the paid version of Designer includes. I have a MS 365 account for Office.