What is the difference between Canva and Shutterstock?


In the ever-evolving world of graphic design, having access to user-friendly tools and vast libraries of high-quality assets is essential. Two popular platforms that have emerged as go-to resources for designers are Canva and Shutterstock. While both platforms offer valuable features, understanding the differences between them can help designers make an informed decision on which one to use for their specific needs. This article will explore the disparities between Canva and Shutterstock, exploring their unique offerings and benefits.

1. Purpose and Target Audience

Canva: Canva is a versatile graphic design platform that caters to a broad range of users, including individuals, small businesses, and non-designers. It provides a simplified and intuitive interface, making it easy for beginners to create eye-catching designs without extensive design knowledge.

Shutterstock: On the other hand, Shutterstock primarily provides a vast library of high-quality stock photos, vectors, illustrations, and other visual assets. It primarily targets professional graphic designers, creative agencies, and businesses requiring premium visual content for their projects.

2. Design Capabilities:

Canva: Canva offers a wide array of design capabilities, including pre-designed templates, drag-and-drop functionality, customizable layouts, and a vast collection of free and premium images, icons, and fonts. It allows users to create engaging designs for various purposes, such as social media posts, presentations, flyers, and more. Canva’s user-friendly interface makes it convenient for non-designers to quickly create professional-looking graphics.

Shutterstock: While Shutterstock’s primary focus is not on design creation, it provides designers with an extensive collection of visual assets to enhance their projects. Users can search and access millions of high-quality stock photos, illustrations, vectors, video footage, and music. Designers can incorporate these assets into their projects, ensuring they have access to a vast pool of creative resources.

3. Customization and Flexibility

Canva: Canva allows users to customize templates, layouts, colours, and fonts according to their preferences. It offers a range of design elements that can be easily modified to suit individual design needs. Users can also upload their images and incorporate them seamlessly into their designs. Additionally, Canva provides collaboration features, allowing teams to work together on projects in real time.

Shutterstock: While Shutterstock focuses on providing pre-existing visual assets, it does offer customization options to some extent. Designers can manipulate images and graphics within software like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, ensuring flexibility in modifying and adapting visuals to fit their creative vision. However, Shutterstock’s main strength lies in providing a vast library of assets rather than customization features.

4. Pricing and Subscription Models Canva:

Canva: Canva offers a freemium model, allowing users to access a wide range of basic design features for free. It also provides premium subscriptions, including Canva Pro and Canva for Enterprise, which unlock additional features, advanced customization options, and access to a broader collection of assets. The pricing is generally affordable, making it an attractive option for individuals and small businesses.

Shutterstock: Shutterstock operates on a subscription-based model, offering various plans that grant users access to its vast collection of visual assets. Pricing depends on the number of downloads or the specific licensing needs. It caters to professionals and businesses requiring regular access to high-quality visual content.

Pros and Cons of Canva:

User-friendly interface, suitable for non-designersLimited advanced design features
Wide variety of pre-designed templatesA Canva Pro subscription is required for premium features
Drag-and-drop functionality for easy design creationLimited customization options for some elements
Extensive library of free and premium images, icons, and fontsLimited collaboration options in the free version
Real-time collaboration features for team projects
Affordable pricing options for premium subscriptions
Table 1: Pros and Cons of Canva

Pros and Cons of Shutterstock:

A vast collection of high-quality visual assetsLimited design creation features
Extensive range of stock photos, vectors, and illustrationsLimited customization options within the platform
Provides premium resources for professional designersSubscription-based pricing model
High-resolution visuals suitable for print and digital mediaLicensing terms and usage restrictions
Offers various subscription plans for different needsLimited collaboration features
Table 2: Pros and Cons of Shutterstock

Career options in Canva and Shutterstock.

Both Canva and Shutterstock provide valuable resources and platforms for designers, offering unique career options within their respective ecosystems. Let’s explore the career opportunities available in Canva and Shutterstock:

Career Options in Canva:

  1. Canva Template Designer:
    As a Canva Template Designer, you can create and contribute professionally designed templates that cater to different industries and design needs. This role requires a keen eye for design aesthetics, an understanding of user experience, and the ability to create visually appealing and functional templates.
  2. Canva Brand Designer:
    With Canva’s focus on brand identity and customization, becoming a Canva Brand Designer can be an exciting career path. Using Canvas features, you can work with clients or businesses to develop and maintain their brand presence. Canva includes designing custom brand kits, templates, and visual assets that align with the brand’s identity and marketing objectives.
  3. Canva Content Creator:
    As a Canva Content Creator, you can leverage the platform’s design tools and resources to create engaging visual content for various digital platforms. It may also involve designing social media graphics, blog post headers, infographics, presentations, etc. Content creators on Canva often work independently or as part of marketing teams to produce high-quality visual content.
  4. Canva Educator or Trainer:
    With Canvas’s popularity and user-friendly interface, there is a demand for educators and trainers who can teach others how to effectively use the platform. As a Canva Educator or Trainer, you can conduct workshops, online courses, or one-on-one sessions to teach individuals, businesses, or students how to maximize Canva’s features and create visually compelling designs.

Career Options in Shutterstock:

  1. Shutterstock Contributor:
    Shutterstock provides photographers, illustrators, and videographers a platform to monetize their creative work. As a Shutterstock Contributor, you can submit high-quality images, illustrations, vectors, or video footage to the platform. It allows you to earn royalties when your content is licensed by customers for commercial use.
  2. Shutterstock Image Reviewer:
    Shutterstock relies on a team of Image Reviewers to ensure the quality and compliance of submitted visual content. As an Image Reviewer, you would evaluate and curate the content based on Shutterstock’s guidelines, technical requirements, and market trends. This role requires a strong understanding of visual quality, copyright issues, and the ability to provide constructive feedback.
  3. Shutterstock Curator:
    As a Shutterstock Curator, you would be crucial in curating and organizing visual assets within the platform’s vast collection. You would analyze market trends, identify gaps in content, and curate thematic collections to meet customer demands. This role requires a deep understanding of visual aesthetics, market demands, and customer preferences.
  4. Shutterstock Customer Support:
    Shutterstock’s customer support team assists users with their queries, licensing issues, and technical support. As a customer support representative, you would engage with customers via email, chat, or phone, helping them navigate the platform, troubleshoot issues, and ensure a positive user experience.

Notably, Canva and Shutterstock also offer various other roles within their organizations, including marketing, sales, product development, and design management. Exploring career options in these companies can provide valuable experiences within the design and visual content industries.


In conclusion, Canva and Shutterstock serve different purposes in the graphic design landscape. Canva stands out as a versatile platform that enables users, especially non-designers, to create visually appealing designs quickly. It offers an intuitive interface, extensive customization options, and collaboration features. On the other hand, Shutterstock focuses on providing a vast collection of high-quality stock photos, illustrations, and other visual assets to professional designers and businesses. While Shutterstock doesn’t provide extensive design creation tools, it is an invaluable resource for enhancing design projects.

Ultimately, the choice between Canva and Shutterstock depends on your specific needs and the nature of your design projects. Canva excels in design creation and customization, while Shutterstock’s strength lies in its vast library of high-quality visual assets. Consider your requirements, target audience, budget, and design capabilities to make an informed decision and leverage the platform that best suits your graphic design endeavours.

1 thought on “What is the difference between Canva and Shutterstock?”

Leave a Comment