Can I Use Canva Images on My Blog or Website?

Yes, you are allowed use Canva’s free and premium stock photos on your blog. However, there are a few rules you need to know about to stay compliant.

Published Categorized as Apps & How-to's, Canva

Finding great images for your blog, especially if you want them to be reasonably priced, is no easy task.

You could try your luck with a free image from Pexels or Unsplash, but they don’t have suitable photos for all topics. Even when they do, half of your competitors are probably already using it for their posts, so you’ll have a hard time getting your blog to stand out.

Stock photo marketplaces, such as Adobe Stock and Getty Images, have every image you could possibly need. However, their prices, including for subscriptions, tend to be high and are certainly not within the budget of every blogger.

Then there’s Canva.

At $12.99/month (or $119.99/year), a subscription to Canva Pro gives you access not only to the easiest to use design tool in the world but to 100+ million stock photos, vectors, and illustrations.

I’m a subscriber, and—when I’m not keen on paying an actual designer two-three hundred dollars for a job—I use it to come up with logos and make Instagram and Pinterest images for my accounts.

The question is, as a blogger, can I also use Canva for the featured images and in-post images on your posts?

You can use Canva Designs with stock photos for the featured and in-post images on your blog. However, if you haven’t altered them as part of a unique composition, you can only export your design in a resolution of up to 800×600 pixels (or 600×800 pixels).

You have to comply with this rule whether you’re a Canva Free user or you’re subscribed to Canva Pro.

If you’re a Canva Free user, any premium stock media you add to your design will have a watermark. To remove it, you have to pay $1/design for a single-use license. Or subscribe to Canva Pro, in which case all design downloads will automatically give you a single-use license.

This, according to a dedicated page on the topic at Canva’s Help Center, is what you should and should not do with stock images, vectors, and illustrations if you want to be compliant (and, by all means, you do).

Now let’s try to interpret what that exactly means…

Unaltered Images

Suppose you have a U.S. travel blog, and you’re about to publish a blog post that helps the reader plan a trip to the Rocky Mountains.

You open Canva.com in your browser, type “Rocky Mountains” into the stock photo search bar on the left side of the screen, and an image of the mountain range at sunset catches your eye.

If you want to use the photo as-is, perhaps cropping it to your desired dimensions and maybe adding your blog’s logo to the bottom right corner so that other people don’t steal it, you’d leave it unaltered:

An unaltered stock photo in a Canva design

You can still use it as the featured image of your post or as a secondary image within the post content itself. However, you are required to export it in a resolution no bigger than 800×600 pixels (for a landscape-oriented image) or 600×800 pixels (for a portrait-oriented image).

If you don’t, and you upload a bigger file to your blog, you’re in violation of Canva’s licensing terms and living in a gray area that could potentially get you in legal trouble. You don’t want to get there; there are companies whose core business is to hunt down people who illegally use stock media and chase them for compensation.

Altered Images

Say that your blog’s theme is wider than 800 pixels, so, to keep your featured image from becoming blurry, you need to export it in a higher resolution than that.

Then, you’d have to alter it as part of a unique composition:

An altered stock photo in a Canva design

This is different because you’ve taken a stock photo and, instead of cropping it in a placeholder and using it as-is, you’ve incorporated it within a featured image that’s unique to your blog.

“By using content in a design or a composition, you’re creating something unique,” Canva’s licensing terms stay. “Once you do, there are very few restrictions on what you can do with your creations. Go wild!”

Now, you can safely export your featured image in the resolution you need to.

Where Do You Draw the Line?

The general rule of thumb when it comes to licenses, and Canva’s are no exception to it, is that they’re meant to be interpreted. That’s why they seldom give you specific examples and detailed guidelines for each and every possible case.

So you end up in gray zones where you have to think for yourself and make informed decisions about what to do compared to what you are explicitly allowed—and forbidden—to do.

Drawing the line between an altered and unaltered image in Canva is one of those gray zones.

I’m 99.9% certain that, if you use Canva’s templates, which make your design work easier by giving you placeholders for your images and texts, your image counts as altered. Some templates are cleaner, some are heavy on the eye and a bit overdesigned.

I’m also certain that, if you create a composition from scratch yourself, adding a heading and shape or two turns an unaltered image into an altered image. Clearly, effects, filters, and overlays result in an image that’s “more altered” than otherwise, though I don’t know where exactly the threshold sits.

What I’m less certain of is whether taking an image, cropping it to fit a design’s size, and adding your logo to the bottom right corner (not as a way to take credit for the work, but as a way to brand the image within your blog) counts as altering it. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t.

Single-Use License

When you buy a license as a Canva Free user or download a design as a Canva Pro user, you get a single-use license for that image.

Translated to blogging terms, you can only use your design as a featured image or in-post image for one post. I’m assuming there’s no problem with it appearing in your category, tag, and archive pages as long as you don’t re-use it on multiple posts.

The best practice here, at least if you ask me, is to create a new and unique Canva design for each image, and to not delete that design from your account so that you have a record somewhere of it.

Can You Use Canva on a Monetized Blog?

You are allowed to use Canva designs for personal and commercial use, so it’s okay if you have display ads and/or affiliate links as a means to monetize your blog, or you’re selling something on it.

If you have funnels or landing pages, and you’re buying ads to get paid traffic to them, you can also use Canva designs for your Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and/or Google ads.

However, if you want to incorporate Canva designs into your products, physical or digital, different terms may apply, and, to know how to comply before you do so, do familiarize yourself with them.

Are Canva Images Copyright-Free?

Some of the images on Canva are free for personal and commercial use, but that doesn’t mean they’re copyright-free. Canva images are copyrighted and licensed to you, the user. This includes templates, elements, photos, videos, and so forth.

Whether you’re a blogger, solopreneur, course creator, make sure you’re familiar with Canva’s license and terms of use before you start using images created with it.

For example, anyone else can use templated Canva logos. And, if you create a logo for your business using one of these templates, you won’t be able to trademark it. You can use still Canva to create a brandable logo, but you’ll need to start from scratch and take your own direction instead of using pre-made templates.

Do You Need to Give Credit for Canva Images?

One question a great deal of Canva users ask is, “Do I need to give credit for Canva images?”

“None of our licenses require attribution,” says Canva’s “Licensing Explained” page, “however it is always welcome!” Attributing the photographer, in other words, is optional.

The page also states clearly that you can’t take credit for unaltered images provided through Canva. When you download a photo, you are given a one-time, non-exclusive license to use it—but it doesn’t became yours to take credit for.

33 comments

  1. Hi Jim – to be sure, if I alter a logo (change text, color, etc.) that is fine to use on my blog? Wanting to double check. Thanks in advance!

    1. Hey Victoria,

      Great question! Canva actually have a dedicated page in their Help Center about that; I recommend that you check it out for the details.

      How I understand it is, you can customize and use the logos as you wish. But, if your logo was created using a Canva template, you can’t trademark it as it’s a non-exclusive license.

      Hope that helps!

      Jim

  2. Hi! Can a company use small pictures from Canva Pro on its internal site with letters on them? I saw the rules for the users, but not for the companies.
    Thank you in advance

    1. Hi, Angelika,

      I haven’t come across anything that prohibits use of Canva Pro images on an internal website by a company. But you may want to make sure that the images don’t exceed the limit of 480,000 total pixels for online publications if you’re exporting these images unaltered (even though this is an internal website).

      Jim

  3. Do the same rules apply for videos as for images? For example – if I take an unaltered video from Canva and use it on my website then does it need be resized to no larger than 800 x 600 (or 600 x 800) in order to avoid copyright?

    Thank you.

    1. Hi, JS,

      You may want to ask a copyright lawyer for a consultation on this one.

      Jim

    1. Hey, Jenifer,

      That’s a great question!

      At “Licensing Explained,” Canva’s FAQ section says “None of our licenses require attribution, however it is always welcome!”

      The other thing the license says is that you can’t take credit for unaltered media. However, I haven’t come across any verbiage that says you should credit authors for it.

      Jim

  4. I already have Canva Pro which I use for editing social media posts. But I didn’t know that I could use pictures from Canva on my blog too. I was looking for other services for cheap images. Then I thought maybe I could use images from Canva. Anyways thanks for clearing my doubts.

  5. What if I make design up (ie – altered), and then resize this same design for different platforms (each time it is resized, it will include minor spacing changes perhaps). Some designs are used on screens (1920×1080 pixels). If there are additional costs to use it this way – how do I go about notifying Canva/ getting quotes?

    1. Hi, Nic,

      Good question.

      The way I understand Canva’s terms, one Canva design gives you one license for the media that’s in it.

      This is something I’ve had to ponder, too. The way I do this is to create a copy of my original design for each new size. So if I have an image with two sizes—say, one for a Facebook cover and another for a YouTube cover—I basically have two separate Canva designs that use the same stock media.

      I’m a Canva Pro user, so I get the license on download. If I were a Canva Free user, my take is I’d probably have to pay to license the stock media in each Canva design separately (even though it’s the same photos).

      This is the fragment of the Terms & Conditions that led me to conclude this a while ago:

      https://www.canva.com/policies/content-license-agreement/#:~:text=Each%20Pro%20Content,containing%20that%20Content.

      Jim

  6. Hi! I am using Canva to write a newsletter for a school library that is published on our website and sent out through email. Can I use an element from Canva with an edited color palette?

    1. Hi, Sally,

      Take my words with a grain of salt—I’m no copyright layer—but as far as I understand Canva’s content license terms, you can. Use on websites and newsletters is permitted there.

      That said, I’d probably create two designs—one for the website and one for the newsletter, even if they use the same modified element—to make sure I’m compliant with the single-use-per-design requirement.

      If you’re a K12 educator or you work for a school, you probably want to check out Canva for Education. They have an amazing program where they give you all Canva Pro features for free upon verification.

      Jim

  7. I just started using Canva images on my website and so far I love the quality of the images. I was wondering whether I’m required to credit the image sources. This article has provided the answer I needed. Thanks!

  8. This article is very useful, congratulations! But I have a doubt, you talk about blog articles, but if I downloaded for example a stock photo (unaltered) for my pay per clicks or newsletters would the 800×600 pixel rule still apply?
    Also, does this number apply to the download format or also to the display? For example, could I download an image at 800×600 and use it on my blog (obviously losing quality) at 1600×1200? What do you think?

    Thanks!

    1. Hey Paolo!

      Good question. How I understand it is that this rule applies to any image hosted and published on the Internet.

      Whether this applies to how you download the file vs. what resolution you display it in… I don’t know, it’s murky waters. You’d probably be better off customizing your graphics so you can use them in the size you need.

      Jim

  9. Hello,
    Is a design considered to be altered if I use two different elements and put them together to make one image?
    And.. if so what if my business name is trademarked already; however I want to place my business name on the imagine I made into one image, is that possible? Can I use and print this as a sticker to place on an item to be sold or use as a business card or as a profile picture?

    1. Hi, Aye,

      All good questions.

      I’m no lawyer and I don’t work at Canva, so you’ll have to take my words with a grain of salt and make your own judgement.

      I think a design is altered if you combine two pieces of media in a unique way. Of course, the more elements you add or changes you make to the original, like changing the background color or adding effects, the better.

      How I take it is that you can upload an image of your trademark to Canva and use it. But if you create an image with Canva stock media or elements, say, a logo, and you’d like to trademark that—you can’t.

      For printing and sales, it’s best to refer to Canva’s terms. There are some specifics about what you can and cannot do, but I don’t know them well, so I don’t have much to tell you there.

      Thanks for leaving a comment and wishing you best of luck!

      Jim

    1. Hi, Mel,

      Thanks for stopping by!

      How I understand the terms is that, as long as the stock video used is part of a unique clip created in Canva (that is, it’s combined with other footage or motion images), you should be able to do this.

      Just remember to take my words with a grain of salt and do your own due diligence.

      Jim

  10. This is really helpful, thank you. I use the free version, and recently paid a fee to develop a logo for a group of women who are doing physical training together. The logo is a canva template that I have added other images and lettering to. I’ve no need to trademark it but I’ve used the logo in the design of our own closed Facebook page and on my social media pages. I want to put the logo onto T-shirts for everyone that they will be able to buy themselves from a printer (ie I’m not making a profit from them). Is this all ok? Am I breaking any rules? Huge thanks in advance.

  11. Hi Jim
    Thanks for the article. My question is, what if I stop my Canva Pro subscription – will I have to delete all the images I’ve used ie will they withdraw the licence for each?
    Thanks
    Ron

    1. Hi, Ron!

      My understanding is, you keep the license for the images you’ve downloaded even if you cancel the subscription. You might want to double-check with Canva’s terms just in case.

      Jim

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