bridging the gap for hopeful designers
For anyone interested in experimenting with entry-level graphic design (perhaps as a hobbyist project, or getting your toes into deeper waters), the endeavour can be an expensive one – since Adobe began its move to make its Creative Cloud a subscription package, few avenues to purchase a once-off subscription exist. This means that entry-level creatives have been forced to find alternative applications to get to grips with design, no matter their purpose.
While Creative Cloud remains an industry standard (and for many good reasons), the idea of turning to use it can sometimes feel like using a chainsaw to cut tracing paper when any design work at hand is simple.
Enter DesignCap – an entry-level graphic design suite inteded to tackle the likes of Canva, Over, and a variety of other players emerging into a new space where newfound creatives and professionals seeking a simple solution can play on a literal canvas.
What is DesignCap used for?
DesignCap isn’t designed to take on the likes of Creative Cloud. Rather, like alternatives such as Canva or Over, Design Cap is intended to help its users render high-quality designs without needing significant exposure to design skills themselves.
The platform is intended for users wishing to create interesting graphics for print and digital use. Simplicity is the name of the game, and while DesignCap offers some interesting tools, resources, and outputs, this isn’t inteded as a Photoshop or InDesign replacement; rather, this is an efficient tool for users ready to make the break from Microsoft Office and enhance their next project.
Across the interface, users will be able to create, edit, and save work into a variety of forms; and while the former two offer unlimited scope for free users, it’s the latter option that will require you to pay a monthly fee to use to the fullest potential (more on that later).
Center-stage in DesignCap is the Editor, which can save up to 1000 designs at a time on the top-tier package (more on this later) with pre-built templates for a variety of needs. Intended for use to create social media posts, posters, artworks, or other design use cases spanning digital and print, DesignCap is designed to bridge the gap between amateur graphic designers and elegant software.
With DesignCap, users can create a range of custom elements (such as shapes), insert images and charts, manage text, and further manage modules, which are essentially pre-built elements that combine several of the aforementioned features for use when creating infographics.
Thankfully, useful templates also exist for Facebook and YouTube covers and channel art, along with sizing for generic posts across major social media platforms. Should you begin work on a custom design and run out of ideas, helpful templates remain at your beck and call should you need some fresh ideas. Users can also input their own dimensions, which is useful for creating a range of creative use cases beyond the general presentations or reports one might use in their work day.
DesignCap’s interface is designed to be simplistic, and while it doesn’t offer you the breadth of features you might find in other image tooling services or software, the emphasis here is on getting the job done. Amateurs and hobbyists will be able to get to grips with the platform easily, while intermediate-to-professional users will be able to get stuck in without any issues.
I was genuinely impressed by the range of media that DesignCap offers, even when using a free account; users can access not only up to 5 of their own images, but further access a wide range of quality stock items to enhance their designs.
DesignCap edges over its rivals in this regard, where the likes of Canva offers a mix of free and premium stock images which can alternately make or break the design concept you have in mind.
The platform further enables users to edit configurable elements and modules, which makes creating infographics and other rich designs fairly simple. While your creativity may be limited to what DesignCap can provide in terms of existing media, there’s enough here to get to grips with.
DesignCap Price Structure
DesignCap offers three pricing tiers – at its free level, the platform allows users access to all templates with 5 image uploads and the ability to save 5 designs. Accordingly, that increases to 100 uploads and 100 designs on the basic $4.99 USD package, and 1000 uploads and 1000 designs on the $5.99 USD plus package. On a paid plan, you are further granted the ability to upload a font of your choice – a useful bonus.
Compared to the likes of Canva, this is an interesting offering – where the latter offers a $12.95 per month subscription for up to 5 users at its base price level, DesignCap yields a saving in the event you don’t require collaborative work or to invite teammates aboard. Whether that appeals to you is largely at your preference – however, it’s important to remember that Canva does offer collaborative features, such as real-time commenting and team membership, on its free package.
Where perhaps DesignCap’s offering falls most short is the fact that, on its free plan, downloads are limited to its default ‘small’ sizing per image template – which can make high-quality print fidelity troublesome. For digital uses, however, this shouldn’t be an issue.
Where DesignCap perhaps falls short is the ability to collaborate with teammates, which is a key benefit of rivals such as Canva. Whether you need those tools will be up to you and your specific needs – though a useful benefit of collaboration is the ability to rapidly incorporate feedback into your final design without the need to constantly rework and resave.
Further, DesignCap’s lack of video means that this won’t appeal to everyone, and will particularly lack appeal to creators looking for a one-stop-shop solution to power their social media feeds without the need of a full-time content creator or agency at hand.
Let’s wrap up. If you’re seeking a simple and elegant way to make even more simple and elegant designs for a variety of use cases, DesignCap is a great choice. While it falls short on collaboration and teamwork features, it instead offers useful resources and a great toolset to get new users started. While you’ll undoubtedly unlock more benefit from the service’s paid plans, the platform is ideal for anyone ready to take a step out of Microsoft Office, but isn’t ready to commit to moving to the likes of Creative Cloud just yet.
What are your thoughts? Be sure to let us know your opinion in the comments below!