Why I love Canva, and the nitty gritty of Canva design ownership & trademarks

Not that long ago, getting graphics, videos, presentations and flyers made for your  business was an expensive and time consuming process. Finding the right designer who understood your vision, didn't charge exhorbitantly, and could meet your deadlines was a HUGE CHALLENGE.
How do I know? Because I've been in the media and marketing industry for over 20 years, and I used to be a graphic designer! Yep, I was in love with Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign and even back in the day ... Quark Express! Do I have those platforms now? Nope! I just use one ... 

But hang on a moment, there's still a massive need for graphic designers. Ideally, you'll have found your dream one to work with on the birth of your brand, and you'll have a professionally designed brand guide to work with. They'll help you with ongoing work such as your packaging, point-of-sale products, signage, and maybe even your brand evolves. 
BUT one thing that will irk you, is that you're going to need to be producing content (graphics, video etc) at a rapid speed, and if you have to keep going back to your designer for all of that, it may just do your head in! There's never been a time like know, where business owners and marketers are needing to pump out creations as quickly as they are right now. From creating REELS to zoom Backgrounds to Facebook covers to Pinterest ads to what feels like E V E R Y T H I N G ... it's a lot!

So, thanks to Canva, you can now do all the things you need to do on a daily basis, and pump out content as quickly as you need! Canva has revolutionised the way we design and how quickly we can create. I embraced it, and realised that by showing my clients how to do design BETTER, the message they can put out into the world will look profesh, snazzy, and really help with that know, like and trust factor! 

Founded in 2013, Canva is a graphic design tool for making social media graphics, presentations, posters, papers, and any other visual material you can think up.

Users can access thousands of templates even just by using the free version, however the premium membership is where you'll want to head as soon as you've tried it out, because WOW just WOW it gives you everything you need to blow your competitors out of the water! My top tip is to PLAY and ADAPT those templates, or start from scratch. The more you customise their templates the less likely you are to see someone with the same design as you somewhere out there on socials! Brand everything - make sure your logo is on all your designs, and work with your brand colours always. Be memorable, and be instantly recognisable! 

Use your own photos and videos to really customise your designs! The drag-and-drop interface makes it SO EASY to upload your own images and video and either create from scratch, or add them to Canva's design templates. There's not a lot you can't do with Canva, and if you find something, chances are there'll be a workaround, or they'll have brought it out with their next update! That's another super amazing thing about this company. They're bringing out new features what feels like every damn minute!

But to what degree of ownership do you have over designs created within the Canva platform? A lot of people ask me, "do I own the graphics/logos/videos I design on Canva?"

The answer is “It’s complicated!!!” or "yes and no!"

Here’s what Canva has to say about Copyright ownership of Canva designs:
“In relation to who owns the copyright to a design made in Canva, this depends on its composition. Generally speaking, if you’re the creator of an original design, you’re also its copyright holder. However, if you’ve incorporated third-party works (e.g. stock media from the Canva library) into your design, your ownership of it will depend on those third-party rights. Canva gives you non-exclusive licenses to use various ingredients in your designs, including photos, graphics, videos, fonts, and music.”

To put it simply, whatever you submit to Canva is referred to as "User Content," and you control it entirely. However, once you start using the many design components offered on Canva, it quickly becomes a cluttered, gray region.

The original producers of those individual components (Canva or its contributors) claim ownership of those elements; you are just granted a license (or permission) to use them in your design. As a result, you will own the final design because it is your unique structure, but the intellectual copyright owner/creator will control the
individual parts.

But how about logos? Your company's logo is your identity. Your brand identification needs to be memorable and it needs to be YOURS. Maybe you want to trademark it? When you acquire a trademark, you have the exclusive right to use it to differentiate your goods and services from those of other companies.

According to Canva themselves, Canva’s logo templates are customisable and can be used by anyone. This means that your rights to the logo are non-exclusive and you can’t register it as a trademark.

To create a trademark-eligible logo on Canva, there are two ways you can do this:

1. Design an original logo from Canva - it's easy!
Use just the basic lines and shapes provided in Canva's library to create a distinctive and original logo from scratch. You can also use any of the fonts that are available. You won't be able to use stock material (such images and graphics) since Canva can only grant you a non-exclusive license. Because other Canva users can use the same content, using stock content for your logos isn't appropriate for use in a trademark. A logo's elements must be unique to you. 

2. Upload your original logo on Canva
Canva allows you to submit your own logo design. This can be the logo your graphic designer created for you. Upload it as a png file with a transparent background (and a fair few variations of it) and then you can brand all your Canva generated material to your heart's content! All your social media posts, business cards, flyers, presentations, videos, and more.

Remember, this isn’t all there is to it! Canva has over 5 different license agreements that you can choose from. No matter how useful and convenient Canva is to us all, especially to Digital Marketers and content creators like myself – It’s important to still be aware of the nitty gritty of the rules and regulations within these platforms.

If you'd like to give Canva a try - click here and give it a try. And if you'd like to explore doing a course, check out the online community classes I teach for Byron College - and you don't have to live in Byron, you can be anywhere in the world! 

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