Do you use a graphic design program, like Canva, to make graphics for your blog or business? Me too! I love Canva! But, there are some things you need to know to follow copyright laws.
Is it illegal to resell a graphic created from a Canva template? The simple answer is that YES it is illegal. However, there are some exceptions to this. Let's dig into the logistics!
Canva generally does not allow you to use their graphic templates to make an infographic and then resell it. This is against the law and violates Canva’s copyright.
Simply changing the content of the design without changing the entirety of the design is not considered creating original work. Therefore, you cannot resell this product and consider it your own work.
There is an exception to the resale rule.
Canva has free content that users can utilize for resale. Under their licensing agreement, you can use the free photos, music, and video files on Canva for commercial and noncommercial use.
This means you can create designs for resale using designs that include free imaging, music, or video files. Canva is a great tool to use to upscale your business by creating designs and graphics for you to use, even as a basic Canva user. This is what Canva is intended for!
However, when using a clipart image it needs to be set on a completely original template and cannot be used as the trademark or logo for your business (if you want to make a logo/trademark on Canva, it would have to be 100% originally made by you without the usage of clipart or imagery provided by Canva).
This means you can use any templates you make on Canva for your own business’s flyers, ads, blog post images, IG graphics, etc. You can even sell this template through Canva’s marketplace under Creative Canva Templates. This is a great way to make money through Canva.
Does buying a license through Canva change this?
Canva offers two types of licenses:
Free content, and
Canva Pro licenses.
Free content licenses are for free users that want to use an image, music, or video from Canva that is inaccessible to all non-Canva Pro members. You will need to pay a one-time fee and will only be able to use the purchased item ONCE. If you want a new design with the same image you will need to purchase it again. If you pay a monthly fee to be a Canva subscriber you receive unlimited one-time use licenses for designs but you will need to request the license to reuse the design.
So how does this play into the actual use of the Canva cliparts, images, designs, and videos? When you purchase a design or image you are now allowed to use it for personal OR commercial use. But this is often confused by biz owners as having the ability to sell that template graphic, which is not the case. All it means is that the licensed template is now permitted to be used by your business on templates as long as they are not being sold. Therefore, you can change the composition, colors, and content of the template design to make it your own.
For example, under permitted uses for one-time use licenses, if the content is completely altered and made your own, you can put the template you make on posters, prints, t-shirts and so on. It is critical that you ensure the purchased item is changed enough that it is not recognized as an actual Canva template product. To avoid any confusion or copyright infringement, you should submit the design to the Canva Support Team for approval. Here is the link!
So, how can I actually sell or make money off a graphic I made in Canva?!
You CAN resell an infographic that is a completely original design that you created on Canva.
If you create your own, custom and original design simply using a blank slate on the Canva program, you CAN resell the final product. If you are going to sell original infographics or template designs (such as template pdf, template blog imagery, template IG story graphics, etc.), for legal purposes make sure to mention in your sale that the template is not affiliated with Canva in any official way.
Additionally, ensure that your final product is 100% original, and does not simply copy Canva’s or any third party’s templates.
Can I share my design through a subscription model or allow my clients to use them?
This is a tricky element of Canva as there are some clashing rules when it comes to sharing your designs and content. If it is a completely original design then you do not need to worry. However, if you are using a Canva template design for free or a license there are a few things to look out for. This is based on what you are using the shared material for, who is using it, and how altered the material is.
If you purchased the design or template AND are giving it away for free, then you can share it with your users. However, if your users pay to have access to your content or posts, then you absolutely CAN NOT share Canva material for free.
You may think “Why? I paid for it and it is now my design to use. My license SAID SO!” Though this may be true, if you are giving something away for free as a way to get them to subscribe, then users are paying for the template (technically). Essentially if you openly give it away as a “gift” for them subscribing for a fee that counts as a sale.
If your users are not paying for a subscription or any type of service from you, then you may allow them to use it. However, you are fully responsible if they use the template or design you provided and sell it as their own. Those copyright infringement violations will be at your sole discretion. Therefore it is not a good idea to give these types of designs out for free. If you do, ensure that your user is aware of this and that they will be held liable if this happens.
- If you want to use a design from Canva for merchandise, buy a license and completely alter the design, or create a design using the free content only. It is the best idea not to share the actual digital content with someone else unless it is 100% your original design, or if it comes from Canvas free content.
- You cannot use any design altered or unaltered, purchased or unpurchased as your trademark or logo. Those have to be 100% original as well.
- Canva support is the best resource to ensure you are not improperly using a Canva design.
Using a program like Canva is a great way for you to take advantage of a powerful graphic design hub without having to be a wiz at Adobe products.
That being said, you should be extremely careful not to violate any of the Canva terms and conditions, and be sure to not resell digital designs that are not rightfully yours.
It would be a nightmare to litigate a copyright infringement case with such a large company and that would certainly tarnish your credibility and reputation in the creative community.
Therefore, if you use Canva’s designs, GREAT! Just don’t claim them as your own. If you want to create original designs using Canva’s design platform, awesome! Just make sure that the designs are 100% your creative work.
THIS BLOG POST IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR LEGAL ADVICE. EVERY SITUATION IS DIFFERENT & IS FACT-SPECIFIC. A proper legal analysis is necessary based on your location and contract. Consult an attorney in your home state for advice regarding your contract or specific legal situation.