News, Insights and Stories from the Australian and New Zealand tech ecosystem.

Startup Canva kicking Photoshop from the top spot

Remember that old school graphics editing software called Photoshop and its countless buttons with tricky names that you hesitantly click on hoping one of them will do what you want it to?

Well, forget it because Australian startup Canva has just announced the launch an online graphic design platform that affords even the least technical person the ability to create professional designs free of charge.

Canva is marking the next stage in the evolution of graphic design by bringing together a simple drag-and-drop design tool with a library of more than 1 million photographs, graphics and fonts from some of the world’s most talented photographers, illustrators and designers – enabling people with all levels of design experience to “frictionlessly” bring their creative visions to life.

Users can also upload their own content or pay $1 per premium element when they publish their design.

“Canva has re-imagined a world where design is simple, and every idea can be beautifully presented in print or online,” says Canva Co-Founder and CEO Melanie Perkins.

“Unlike traditional desktop design software, Canva is web-based and brings all the tools together in one place.”

Canva Screenshot
Canva Screenshot

Given how heavily we are influenced by images – whether it’s a painting or a website banner – marketing agencies, bloggers and small businesses are constantly under pressure to convey messages through visual data. Canva’s simplicity makes it easier than ever to meet such demands.

“Even the local corner store is now expected to have a Web and social media presence. Canva enables everyone to create professional quality designs,” says Perkins.

So how did it all start?

Melanie Perkins, Co-Founder  and CEO of Canva
Melanie Perkins, Co-Founder and CEO of Canva

The journey began in 2007. Perkins was a university student with no money, and no engineering or business experience. All she had was an “absurd” amount of determination to solve a problem.

“I first had the idea when building the product of our dreams was not even a remote possibility,” she says.

At the time she was teaching students how to use programs like InDesign and Photoshop, but students found the programs “hard to learn, and even harder to use”.

“I imagined the future of design would be entirely different. It would be online, collaborative and very simple,” says Perkins.

Ever since, Perkins and Co-Founders Cliff Obrecht (COO) and Cameron Adams (CPO) have pushed through obstacles to transform their idea into a business reality.

In fact, Canva closed a $3 million seed funding round earlier this year allowing them to move forward and launch their product today.

Their vision and technology was backed by prominent technology luminaries including Facebook Director of Engineering and Co-Founder of Google Maps Lars Rasmussen, Yahoo! CFO Ken Goldman, Twitter investor Bill Tai, including funding from Matrix Partners, InterWest Partners, and 500 Startups.

Rasmussen said he was excited by Canva’s potential to change the future of design: “Facebook and Twitter have created a world where anyone can instantly share experiences with friends, yet an online design tool suitable for us all to use is entirely lacking.”

“The design market is ripe for disruption and I believe Canva has the answer.”

What now for professional graphic designers?

While Canva’s simplicity enables the person with very little design flair to create something special, this is not the end for graphic designers.

In fact, professionals designers will be salivating once they get their hands on the product, because it allows for faster way to create layouts and collaborate with clients, removing the need for frustrating back and forth email exchanges.

“One of the biggest issues designers face currently is the time it takes to make revisions of a design, as it goes through the client’s approval process. Pages and pages of text revisions and PDF markups are sent back and forth before a final approval is reached,” says Perkins.

“This wastes a lot of design time and is often one of the most frustrating aspects of design for both designers and clients.”

With Canva, designers are able to easily create their design and can send a link to their clients. Clients can then make text revisions directly in the design.

On top of that, designers can earn money by contributing their own graphic elements and layouts to Canva.

Canva will be rolled out to limited users in the U.S. and Australia starting from today. Users can join the waiting list to gain exclusive early access. You can sign up at www.canva.com.

Summary of key features:

  • A simple new way to design. Easily turn your ideas into designs for Web and print.
  • Search and drag simplicity. Search Canva’s integrated library of stock photographs, graphic elements and cut-out images then drag-and-drop to create your design.
  • It’s online and free to use. Canva is entirely online so there’s no expensive software to install.
  • Choose from one million images and hundreds of fonts. Design with 1 million photos, graphics and fonts, or upload your own.
  • Collaborate with anyone, anywhere. Canva lets you share and edit your designs with friends, clients and coworkers.

Check out their video for an exclusive sneak peek > Canva: Design is All Around Us

Canva team2
Canva Team




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