News & Analysis

Design startup Canva welcomes former Apple Chief Evangelist Guy Kawasaki into the team

- April 16, 2014 3 MIN READ

Sydney-based design startup Canva has just announced a double slam-dunk, with former Apple Chief Evangelist Guy Kawasaki joining the team and resurrecting his title, along with his social media architect Peg Fitzpatrick who’s coming on board as Canva’s Head of Social Strategy.

Since launching in August last year, Canva has experienced rapid growth – becoming a daily tool for bloggers, marketers and small business owners worldwide. To date, 1.5 million designs have been created on the platform, with an average of 100,000 new designs a week across 330,000 users – all this in less than eight months.

As Kawasaki notes, Canva is the first graphic design platform to truly democratise design – this by bringing together a single drag-and-drop tool with a vast library of photos, graphics and fonts. Whether you need to create advertisements, business cards, social media graphics, posters or presentations, Canva is at your service.

The technology behind the business was built with the purpose of enabling people with all levels of design experience to ‘frictionlessly’ bring their creative visions to life.

“Macintosh democratised computers; Google democratised information; and eBay democratised commerce. In the same way, Canva democratises design,” Kawasaki said.

“You don’t get many chances to democratise an industry, so I seized the opportunity to work for Canva.”

Kawasaki admitted he was an early adopter of Canva, using it to create graphics for his social media posts and e-newsletters.

But how did they catch the gaze of such a high-profile name? Like all good things, it started with a tweet. After conversing with the team at Canva, he was left “enchanted by the company’s vision and desire to change the world.”

Co-Founder and CEO of Canva, Melanie Perkins explained, “We saw a Canva design that Guy had tweeted, so Canva COO Cliff Obrecht reached out. Guy really loved the product and was keen to get involved. He’d initially heard about Canva through his social media architect, Peg.

“It’s an amazing endorsement of the Canva vision to have someone of his calibre join our team.”

The renowned author, entrepreneur, and startup advisor will develop an evangelism program for the company and help it grow internationally. This will involve speaking at events, working with influencers, using Kawasaki’s social media platform to increase Canva’s visibility, securing business development deals and building their content strategy.

Kawasaki will also become an investor in the company, but no numbers are being revealed.

To add to Canva’s social media firepower, Fitzpatrick will join Canva as its Head of Social Strategy. Prior to this, she was Kawasaki’s social media architect, and co-founder of the 12 Most website.

She discovered Canva a few months ago and began experimenting with the platform, using it to create graphics for all the social media accounts she manages.

“I manage a total social media portfolio of over 8 million followers across Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest including a personal social network of over 250,000 followers,” she said.

“My content immediately started getting more activity whether I was posting a new Facebook cover or tweeting an image for marketing purposes. I tried to keep Canva a secret as long as I could because it was one of my secret weapons for awesome social media marketing.”

She couldn’t keep things hush hush for too long because the secret came out, and a new opportunity emerged to work with Canva professionally.

Admitting she was “thrilled”, Fitzpatrick explained that she will be bringing her marketing and social media expertise as well as blogging skills “to help introduce the world to Canva’s charms”.

“I know how much I love it as a professional social media marketer and I know it will change the lives of community managers, brand ambassadors, educators, and professional bloggers as well as small businesses and entrepreneurs,” she said.

“I’m looking forward to building the Canva social media presence and creating a strong resource blog to teach the world to design, Canva-style! I’m excited to be working with the sharp team that Canva has put together and looking forward to what we do together.”

These are some pretty big compliments coming from such reputable names. It’s exciting to see Canva grow into what we envisaged as outsiders.

If you haven’t taken Canva for a spin yet, you can do so via www.canva.com.