*If you decide to purchase a subscription with either Placeit or Canva please click on one of my affiliate links so I can feed my plants :)
This is a comparison piece on the usefulness of Placeit.net and Canva.com in regards to T-shirt design and Print On Demand services. Both are popular tools for Print-On-Demand entrepreneurs looking for accessible design tools to create designs at speed whilst maintaining a high standard.
- What are Placeit and Canva?
- Price Plans
- Design Templates
- Mockup Designs
- Social Media Templates
- Graphic Design Customisation
Summary and Score
Final Score: 3–2 Victory to Canva
Canva and Placeit were created to serve different purposes. In my humble opinion, Canva empowers users to create unique designs that actually appeal to esoteric niches whereas Placeit’s slot-in-your-design approach sacrifices flexibility for fast execution of generic work. Also Canva’s free version gives an opportunity for users to try before they buy.
However, Placeit does have a fantastic mockup collection and has tailored categories that favour video game influencers that Canva cannot match. If you’re 100% certain social media marketing will define your success more than the designs themselves, then Placeit might be the better choice.
You should actually get both if you’re starting your own branded business. $20 a month for unlimited access to logo, merchandise and social media designs is a fantastic investment. Think about it, how much do you spend on takeaways, in any given month? Probably more than that.
What are Placeit and Canva?
Both tools have a host of overlapping services and features that include designing products and marketing assets with intuitive interfaces tailored towards non-designers. But their initial purposes and specialities are vastly different.
Placeit has always been known for it’s mock-up service. This is where you upload your design to the website for it to show how it would look on a range of merchandise from T-shirts to Coffee Mugs.
Canva is a design tool built to replace the likes of Photoshop by making designing high quality visuals extremely accessible. Hence why it is an in-browser experience with no downloads required whatsoever. It is like PowerPoint with supercharged design features.
Both tools are in-browser applications that allow you to create marketing mock-ups and graphic designs using commercially available design assets and typography. No downloaded applications needed.
We’re all on a budget whether we’re starting a full-time business or using a side hustle to raise some extra cash so pricing is very important. Still in an ideal world I would recommend getting both, considering how cheap they are.
Placeit costs either $15 monthly basis or $8 if you pay annually. There is no free-version with Placeit.net.
Canva on the other hand has a free version for you to familiarise yourself with the tool before investing fully. The main incentive to getting the Premium Plan at $9.99 per month is being able to use a transparent background on your designs. Without it, you will have to remove the transparent background in another application like Photoshop. When it comes to Print on Demand, having a transparent background for your designs is VITAL.
Potential Dealbreaker(s): Free version and transparent backgrounds
If you’re getting into Print On Demand, you’re probably designing with T-shirts in mind alongside other merchandise such as Travel Mugs, Backpacks and Phone Cases depending on whether you’re using Spreadshirt, RedBubble or Merch on Amazon.
Placeit probably has the largest selection of t-shirt design templates that can also be applied to other products. Ever since I signed up myself the website’s selection has grown exponentially. Even so there are a few areas where I believe Placeit excels or is beginning to establish itself.
It’s logo design tool is a brand lifesaver, they used to charge for individual logos but sometime in 2019 they included it into its basic plan for everyone. The logo designs also make great t-shirt designs. The other areas are video games/gaming marketing assets where Placeit has invested a significant amount of effort into providing design templates for eSports teams and gaming themed assets. Then there’s the growing selection of anime and manga design assets in response to their increased popularity in mainstream pop culture.
Canva also has a collection of T-shirt designs available on their free and premium plans but covers a lot less ground than Placeit if we’re talking distinct niches, themes and topics. And when it comes to POD, tailoring your designs to niches and target audiences is very important. But there’s a specific reason for that which I will explain in the Graphic Design section.
Dealbreaker(s): Design Templates Collection and Gaming/Anime Assets
This is actually a short section because only Placeit offers mock-ups on POD products. Mock-ups are essential if you need to create Facebook Ads and possibly other social media platforms. And if Canva decides to add mock-ups, it will still be lightyears behind Placeit given how expansive Placeit’s mockup collection is. It is the brand’s bread and butter.
Dealbreaker(s): Mock-up collection
Social Media Templates
Placeit’s social media templates are quickly improving particularly in growing platforms such as Twitch and Instagram. I can already see an increase in video templates which are very useful for social media advertising.
Canva offers the same array of social media templates covering all your content needs including daily Instagram posts, quotes, Facebook Page banners, Social Media Profile Pictures with appropriate sizing for each platform. I believe where Canva actually edges Placeit ever so slightly is their brand kit packages and tutorials around brand building. If you’re looking to create all of your brand assets in one place, Canva’s browser application makes it super easy to do which you can access at any time. It is literally built for small business owners or brand managers in mind. Once you decide on your colour palette and logo design, Canva’s service will do the rest.
Dealbreaker(s): Brand Building Features
Graphic Design Customisation
This section is important because it is completely dependent on your Print On Demand strategy.
Placeit’s range of design assets and graphic design templates are borderline unlimited. You upload your design directly into the template and the integration is complete. Done. It is fast and seamlessly with minimal adjustments. It’s magic but you have to have either a complete design that slots seamlessly into the Placeit template or sift through hundreds of assets to upload into that specific template. This design experience favours those who simply want to create hundreds of designs no matter how generic they look with nothing but a text change.
If you’ve been paying attention to any of the big influencers in the print on demand world, you’ve realised that you need to create hundreds of designs before you are able to make consistent income. Also if you’re one to capitalise on trending topics which is a viable strategy for quick returns then every second counts. You are competing with hundreds, possibly thousands of other designers waiting to pounce on a trending topic. In Placeit, you’ll log in, pick a template, upload an image and upload it to your chosen platforms in a matter of minutes.
Canva takes a completely different approach. There are templates and design assets available to you but here you are given complete control of how to implement them. This makes sense because Canva’s purpose is to replace the likes of Photoshop which means empowering the user to create truly, unique designs. Some will argue this is inconvenient and requires too much effort for a Print On Demand setup but my personal experience has shown why this is better than Placeit’s plug and play methodology.
Majority of the money I have made on Print On Demand has been with designs created in Canva, not Placeit. This is because Canva gives me the freedom to create truly unique designs that can be tailored towards niche audiences. Considering how saturated Print on Demand is becoming, your design needs to stand out amongst 10s of 000s of designs within each niche.
Most successful POD experts will admit that they make the majority of their sales from less than 10% of their designs. There are many reasons behind that but unless you intend to upload 100s of designs in a short space of time, it is better to spend a few more minutes to create a unique design in Canva than to create 10 extremely generic designs in Placeit.
I know that last piece of advice is controversial and goes against what you’ll hear in the POD-sphere but I have this feeling that a lot of people reading this are interested in how to make money without having to create 100s of designs that they have no passion for.
Dealbreaker(s): Print on Demand Strategy — Hit and Hope (Placeit) / Creativity (Canva)
I’ve been doing POD for 12 months now and I have discovered a lot of useful sources to build up my knowledge. I feel it’s appropriate to list the experts who will benefit the readers of this article.
Top Recommended Influencers for Print On Demand:
- Greg Goffried — Teespring And Affiliate Marketing Expert, very digestible on a surface level
- TheMoneyGame — RedBubble Expert who has great advice on the latest tools to use
- Lisa Irby — RedBubble who has great tips on designing for Niches
- Ryan Hogue Passive Income — Merch on Amazon Expert and does regular Niche updates
- Wholesale Ted — Covers all Print On Demand from Shopify businesses to Teespring T-shirt design tips
Let me know if you want me to do more of this stuff. I have a few ideas for new articles going forward :).