Comparing Three Web-Based Graphics Programs

Canva. Ribbet. BeFunky. PicMonkey. Pixlr. Design Wizard. Snappa. I’m absolutely positive you’ve heard of at least two of those web-based graphic design programs. While one can do a lot with these without spending the money for more features, sometimes a little extra oomph is needed to help a design pop. And, in turn, your website or social media content pop as well.

While I’ve never used Design Wizard or Snappa, I have dabbled in the other four. However, I don’t believe Ribbet exists as it did when I once used it, and Pixlr runs way too slowly on my (rather crappy) Chromebook. All that really narrows today’s contest down to three contenders: Canva, BeFunky and PicMonkey.

I’ll go ahead and say this right now: I’m a bit biased towards BeFunky, as I do pay its monthly fee of $6.99. Because of my constant usage of this particular program, I’ll use it as a base for the other two. Let’s begin with BeFunky itself.


BeFunky

With the photo editor, you can work on one of your own, or practice with one from their library. The Portrait Enhancer is a step-by-step tool where you can make whatever adjustments you like with the options available. Along with the Portrait Enhancer are the usual blurring/smoothing, tilts and tins, color levels, exposure, cropping and enhancing options. From there you can easily apply effects, frames, overlays, texts and textures. There are definitely more options available with the $6.99 level over the free, so the price for those adjustments alone is absolutely worth it.

Next is the collage maker. Layouts include grids, photo wraps, Facebook covers and Pinterest content templates. Want to edit a photo after adding it to the collage? Simply select the photo and open it in the editor. Your work will be saved in the collage maker. You can also customize the background color, spacing, width/height of the collage and corner rounding. Don’t feel like messing with any of that? Use the Lock Aspect Ratio to make things easier on yourself.

Finally, there’s the graphic designer section. Last year BeFunky’s editors added SO MANY MORE options than they had in 2019, and that made me really happy. You can create anything from Facebook and Instagram story graphics to small business advertising to menus, brochures and postcards. Like a particular design and the edits you made to it? You can easily save it to your BeFunky account or as a file directly onto your device for later use.

In terms of their pre-loaded stock libraries, their team also added so many more graphics and design elements the past two years, modernizing the out-of-date options they, once again, had in 2019. Colors of all of these elements can be curated to fit the look you’re going for, and I really appreciate that function (which I believe is offered only under the paid subscription).

Pros and Cons of BeFunky

Pros: Large libraries of royalty-free stock photos and design elements, photo editing software, ability to add watermarks to personal images and projects, ability to save projects and return to them
Cons: Sometimes sluggish in loading large files, limited draw adjustments, no video building software

PicMonkey

PicMonkey, once a free program, now has two annual memberships. The basic costs $72 per year, or $7.99 a month. Their Pro monthly membership is $12.99 a month, or $120 charged once a year. As with BeFunky, let’s take a look, first, at their photo editing interface.

Under the free trial for PicMonkey, you can not only edit in layers, but do edits such as color adjustments, change exposure and other. Add effects like Orton, Tucson, Dusk and Tranquil (just to name a few), add textures and frames. While PicMonkey’s textures and frames selection is smaller than BeFunky’s, its interface isn’t in “dark mode” and may be easier for folks who have certain eye conditions to use.

Next, let’s look at the collage feature. PicMonkey offers over forty grid layouts for photo collages. To create a collage, simply select the one you want and add photos from there. Keep using their photo library, or upload your own, use the layers tab to adjust or just drag and drop. Just like with BeFunky, you can adjust the spacing and corner rounding. To adjust the collage’s background color, simply click on it and choose from the color wheel popup.

Pros and Cons of PicMonkey

Pros: The “themes” option, with graphics, fonts and images to match it, the draw option, layers and text options.
Cons: Limited in design options, only offers photo editing and collage design, long browser loading (could depend on your device and internet speed)

Canva

At $12.95 a month ($119.40 annually [discounted to $9.95 a month under the annual plan]), Canva is for a more serious designers, though “newbies” can dabble in it as well. There is a learning curve when it comes to this program, so don’t get frustrated if you don’t understand it right away.

One of the many fun offerings Canva specializes in are family trees. I was looking for a build-able template I could use for my novel series, and they’ve got free options you can play around with.

What I really like about Canva is their font and element selections. It took a long time for me to accept the fact that sometimes, in order to create what you want to do online, you’ve got to pay for use of a service. In this regard, Canva is completely worth it with those two sections alone. In fact, I may be rethinking my, well, bias for BeFunky.

Another function of Canva to consider is their social media designer. I really like their templates for Instagram stories, as well as their more modern designs over BeFunky’s. However, this function will only be worth it if you’re incredibly active on those platforms.

Pros and Cons of Canva

Pros: Vast photo, video and element libraries, account sharing, thirty day Pro free trial
Cons: Each new project automatically opens into a new tab (not always ideal), slightly jumbled interface, a few sections could use a revisit from their editing team


BeFunkyPicMonkeyCanva
Cost (USD)$6.99 a month$7.99 a month$12.95 a month
Free option?YesNo / one week free trialYes
Download formats.jpg, .png, .pdf.png, .svg, .jpg, .pdf.png, .jpg, .pdf, .mp4, .gif
Basic Offerings-Graphic design
-Photo editing
-Collages
-Graphic design
-Photo editing
-Collages
-Graphic design/builder
-Resumes and Schedules
-Website builder
-and more
Templates-Social Media platform graphics
-Marketing and Advertising
-To-Print graphics
-Build-able blank templates
-Photo collages
-Social Media platform graphics
-Marketing and Advertising
-To-Print graphics
-Build-able blank templates
-Photo collages
-Social Media platform graphics
-Marketing and Advertising
-To-Print graphics
-YouTube clips/short videos
-Photo collages, family trees
Elements-Photo and graphics libraries (more options under paid account)
-Filters, fonts, frames, effects, etc.
-Photo and graphics libraries (more options under paid account)
-Filters, fonts, frames, effects, etc.
-Photo and graphics libraries (more options under paid account)
-Filters, fonts, frames, effects, etc.

After that ENTIRE blog post, it really all boils down to this: user preference. Do you prefer simplicity over all the offerings? Or do you want all the offerings? Or something in between? Personally, I want something in between, and that’s why I particularly enjoy BeFunky. I’ve never been one to enjoy having multiple accounts (and yet I do all my bill pay online, all my banking, all my writing…), so I’m definitely going to take my time to decide if I really want to continue on with Canva or not. PicMonkey is not my preference at all, but it could be a good option for someone just starting out in building WIP aesthetics or photo editing.

Other than interface preferences, users also should consider the monthly fee for using programs like these. In my humble opinion, BeFunky’s $6.00 USD price is more worth it than PicMonkey’s $7.99. If you’re a bit more advanced in your design abilities, then Canva may be more your speed. And hey, if you love each editor for different reasons, then by all means, go for whatever combination you like. You’re paying for those pixels; just make sure that, in the end, you find whichever one you subscribe to is worth it.

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