Pixlr vs Desygner vs Canva: Which Design Web App is Best?

Graphic design is a field that can be easily ignored, but there’s a lot of work behind every design. How something is presented visually can be a make-or-break scenario where your intended audience may not accept whatever you are trying to communicate to them, due to poor imagery.

Designers Laptop

Graphic design is also one of those fields that is almost synonymous with powerful computing hardware but what if I told you that this does not have to be the case? In this article we will be exploring 3 different graphic design web apps. Since they are being run on the web, your machine does not require a great deal of power and should be able to run them well.

PIXLR Web Apps

PIXLR’s web apps help you to adapt to various editing scenarios.

Pixlr Main

After signing up for PIXLR, you will actually have access to 3 different web design apps. They are:

  • PIXLR Express
  • PIXLR Editor

PIXLR Express

PIXLR Express is made for light work. As illustrated in the screenshot below, it allows for the adding of various creative effects, overlays and borders.

Pixlr Express

PIXLR Express allows for files to be opened from a variety of locations. You can open files from your computer, by accessing a URL or by taking a picture with your webcam.

Pixlr Express Open

After opening a file for editing, you will be able to carry out various adjustments, effects, overlays, stickers and add text to your images.

Pixlr Express Edit 1

You also have the option of creating collages with PIXLR Express. There are a variety of layouts to choose from for your collage.

Pixlr Collage

PIXLR Editor

If you want to go beyond making slight adjustments such as overlays to your images then you will need to make use of PIXLR Editor.

Pixlr Editor

With the editor, you can also open images from a variety of sources in order to edit them. You can start with a blank image or open one from the clipboard.

Pixlr Editor 1

There are a number of tools available in the editor such as the color picker, gradient and wand tools. The interface actually looks more like a desktop software.

Pixlr Editor 2


This component of the PIXLR web suite allows users to give their images a vintage look.

Pixlr Omatic

There are plenty of overlays, effects and borders to choose from so that you can obtain the look you desire.

Pixlr Omatic Effects Thumb

These have all been paid features thus far but there are a few premium options which must be paid for which are best observed on PIXLR’s website here.

These PIXLR web apps offer quite a lot of functionality, all available online and it doesn’t require any special hardware.



Desygner is a graphic design web app with lots of templates for creating images for specific purposes.

Desygner Main

Templates are divided up into the following categories:

  • Social Media Posts
  • Header Images
  • Email, Blogs & Websites
  • Marketing Materials
  • Documents & Presentations
  • Invitations & Cards
  • Fun & Miscellaneous

You can also select custom dimensions for your desired image.

Standard Custom Sizes

After you select your desired template or custom size, you can get started on designing your image. You will be directed to the Desygner editor after making your selection.

Desygner Editor

The Desygner editor gives various options for editing your image as desired.

Desygner Editor Interface

You can search for images, templates, backgrounds or stickers to add to the project you’re working on. Items can also be added from your Library if you have unlocked this premium option.

Desygner Library Thumb

You can choose between different templates from within the editor as well. Images and text can also be added. The Customize option allows you to add various backgrounds, image place holders, stickers and shapes. It also allows you to draw.

Desygner Customize

The Import option is another feature available for premium users. It allows for the importing of elements from Photoshop and Acrobat Reader PDF & SVG.

Desygner Import

Please take note of the important Desygner Editor features in the screenshot below.

Desygner Editor Interface 1

Outside of the design capabilities, you can also view the work of others who have chosen to make their work visible to the public under Explore.

Desygner Explore

Finally, there is also a social aspect of Desygner where you can follow or be followed by friends.

Desygner Friends


Canva is an attractive graphic design web app with lots of presets which aid you in designing images for a variety of different applications.

Canva Main

After creating your Canva account, you will be able to design your image based on a variety of different templates or you can choose your own custom settings.

Canva Design Types

The preset templates are as follows:

  • Social Media Posts
  • Documents
  • Blogging & eBooks
  • Marketing Materials
  • Social Media & Email Headers
  • Events
  • Ads

After you select the format for your design you will be directed to the Canva editor which is pictured below.

Canva Editor Overview

There are a few options that you will have for making changes to your design. First, you have a variety of layouts which you can choose from as seen below.

Canva Layouts

You can add various elements to your design as well depending on the look you’re going for.

Canva Elements

Text can be added to communicate messages.

Canva Text

There are a variety of backgrounds that you can choose from as well.

Canva Backgrounds

You will also have the option to upload your own images.

Canva Uploads

The options discussed so far are all free but there are some premium features offered by Canva which you may wish to consider which are illustrated below.

Canva Premium


In terms of stability, I had no problems with any of these web apps when using them. As for effectiveness, PIXLR stands out as being the most powerful out of the three offerings. It offers some functionality that one would expect from a standalone desktop software.

While this may be the case, this is not always desired and you might just need a template to get up and running quickly. This is where Desygner and Canva come in. They offer a number of templates and preset options designed to help you make awesome looking designs with ease.

In the grand scheme of things, there isn’t much difference between Desygner and Canva. I will say however that the Desygner editor’s ruler grid is great for when you want to look at what the dimensions of a specific part of your design are like. This is something that Canva doesn’t offer. Also bear in mind that Desygner is actually in beta. Although I didn’t run into any issues there may still  be some niggling bugs that may get in your way when using this web app.

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To sum up, if you require features like a color picker and generally more advanced functionality PIXLR should do the job for you. If you want to make a design for something that is pretty standard like a Facebook cover or an event poster you should consider either Desygner or Canva.

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Last updated on 10 February, 2022

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