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Taking Creativity Beyond The Canvas With Canva

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Note: This interview is published on 2018. Some of the screenshots used in this article may be outdated. Please also read our Canva review – which discuss more about our user experience with the graphic tool.

Designing is a skill that not everyone is adept at. Some might be born with an eye for design while others, not so much. Canva, on the other hand, believes that everyone can and should be able to design something simple yet beautiful.

As one of the leading platform for online graphic design, we were particularly ecstatic to be able to chat with the team at Canva and understand how Canva came to be, their team’s vision, and where they intend to be in the future.

A Collaborative Platform For Art

She (Melanie Perkins) realised the future of design was going to be simpler, online and collaborative.  – Liz McKenzie, Head PR of Canva

The idea for Canva came about when CEO Melanie Perkins, then a university student, was tutoring other students on how to use an existing design software suite. She noticed that it took a long time for her students to feel remotely confident to design with even something relatively simple.

She then thought of creating a platform that allowed users to create beautiful designs collaboratively in simple ways to help make designing easier. This gave birth to the initial concept and business idea of Canva.

Before Canva was actually launched, she and partner Cliff Obrecht decided to test the idea by tackling a niche market first and to prove that her new approach to design was both possible and needed.

Melanie with her two co-founders, Cliff Obrecht (centre) and Cameron Adams.

This led to Fusion Books, a software platform that students used to design their school yearbooks. The success of the idea was the nudge that Perkins needed to take her concept to a wider level.

“After it kept growing for a few years they decided they were ready to broaden it out and tackle the whole design space and launched Canva.” Notes McKenzie on how Canva’s origin came to be.

Creating A World Where Everyone Can Design

For the team at Canva, the idea was always to be a platform that anyone can use to easily create and design anything they want in a simple and easy manner. It was this philosophy that powered Canva’s vision and it’s core design.

“The Vision for Canva is to empower everyone to design anything and publish anywhere. As such, Canva provides a simple way for everyone to create beautiful graphics for web and print. It’s a drag and drop platform that’s been designed to be incredibly simple to use.”

Beyond just being an incredibly intuitive graphic design platform, the team at Canva knew that the conventional design tools were just not up to par with the demands of current technology.

Example: Facebook ad image we created using Canva.

“Many of the workplace tools that have become staples over the last couple of decades no longer satisfy the needs of today’s workforce. They were developed before the internet era was born and their core concepts remain the same today.” McKenzie says on their platform technology. “We have had the opportunity to reimagine productivity tools from the ground up to cater to what everyone needs today. The ability to communicate your ideas visually has never been more important.”

To give users the tools and means for creating beautiful graphics without being bound by traditional methods was one of the main focus for their drag-and-drop UI. The other was to make sure that everyone can use it.

Because we want everyone to be able to create beautiful and professional designs, our focus is on creating an entirely new kind of design software, one that is simple and intuitive, rather than focusing on how to replace the existing option.

By inventing an entirely new method of design, Canva has positioned itself to be a unique player in the graphic design world, and most importantly, set them on a path to success.

Achieving Success Beyond The Canvas

Ever since Canva launched their site in 2012, they’ve been steadily and rapidly achieving numerous milestones and success throughout the years. Today, the company has been able to boast quite a number of achievements, some of which includes:

  • Having more than 10 million users registered in Canva, in 190 different countries – from Kazakhstan to Bhutan (there have even been a few signups in North Korea!)
  • Their platform is offered in 108 different languages including Spanish, French, German, Russian, and Portuguese
  • There have been more than 850 million designs created on Canva so far.
  • More than 20 designs are created on Canva every second.
  • Making the platform accessible on desktop, iPad, iPhone and Android.

While some of these achievements are quite outstanding, the biggest success that Canva experienced so far is to have the company valued at USD$1 billion in January 2018. This basically puts Canva as one of the most valuable private companies in Australia today.

With the financial success that Canva is experiencing and reaching unicorn status, the company has started to look outward in order to grow. As of 2018, they have been actively looking for and acquiring smaller start-ups to further expand their presence.

Canva Plans & Pricing

Canva plans – Start for free (forever!) or get advanced features for as low as $12.95/user/month.

Features That Are Beautiful By Design

In order to be a platform that truly allows freedom of design, Canva had to create a system that offers all the features that a designer would need.

Some of those features include:

  • Image cropping
  • Add text into photographs
  • A thought bubble and speech creator
  • Editing, straightening and enhancing images
  • Frames for photos and images
  • Badges and sticks for websites

Currently, they offer three plans for it users – Canva, Canva for Work, and Canva Enterprise. Their basic plan, Canva, is free and gives access to their basic drag-and-drop editor. Despite being free, the plan gives users the ability to access over 50,000 templates, 1GB of storage, and photos starting at $1 each.

Those in need of a more powerful tool can opt for Canva for Work or Canva Enterprise. Canva for Work offers more features and functions that professional designers would want, such as unlimited storage and folders, uploading custom fonts, team functionalities, and more.

Canva Enterprise includes all of the features in Canva for Work and added company-specific features such as onboarding incentives, dedicated account-manager, and 99.9% uptime SLA.

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What The Future Holds For Canva

Given the success that they’ve achieved, the breakthroughs in graphic design approach, and reaching unicorn status for the company, it looks as if there’s no more new area left for Canva to venture.

That couldn’t be further from the truth. For the folks at Canva, there’s still much work to be done for the company and the need to further refine their vision for a universal design software.

We have only achieved 1% of where we think we can take Canva. Our vision is to enable people to take their idea and turn it into a design as seamless as possible; we think we have made some big steps in this direction already, however, we are just getting started.

It’s clear that Canva is not resting on their laurels anytime soon and are ready for bigger and better things in the future.

A Canva For Everyone

We would like to give thanks to the team at Canva for taking the time to share with us about the company, their inner workings, their vision, and most importantly, their future. It’s clear that the people at Canva are striving to be the ultimate graphic design software for creatives and non-creatives alike and we hope they achieve their goal.

Try for Free: Visit Canva Online

Photo of author

Article by Azreen Azmi

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