News & Analysis

Canva for Work: The magic is in the way it facilitates team collaboration

- August 11, 2015 3 MIN READ

Today, Sydney-based startup Canva, founded by Melanie Perkins, Cliff Obrecht and Cameron Adams, officially opened up its new Canva for Work platform to its four million users. The milestone coincides with recent celebrations of the company’s two year anniversary and 30 million designs that were created using its platform.

The new iteration of the Canva design platform has been created to cater to the needs of over 200,000 business users that are already using the platform. In fact, over 250,000 different domains have been registered on Canva, which is how the team was been able to identify exactly which businesses are using the current version of the platform and what they are using it for. Some of these organisations have up to 180 employees, according to the data analysed by the company.

Canva for Work has been eight months in the making. From a user experience perspective, the goal was to create a platform that enabled teams to create consistent, effective and inexpensive graphic designs. Creating such a simple front-end, however, requires a flawlessly executed engineering job. Having used it personally, I feel Canva has definitely achieved this. The previous bandwidth issues that caused the site to lag occasionally when millions of people were on the platform at once also seem to have disappeared for the most part, creating a seamless experience for the user.

What’s become obvious since the launch of the product is that Canva for Work is not (at least, not right now) a competitor product to Adobe’s Creative Cloud design tools like I previously have suggested it could be. In fact, what the Canva team has done is tap into the individuals within organisations that are not designers but still need design skills in their everyday work life to create things like social media graphics, presentations, business cards and sales proposals.

“Canva is extremely popular with individuals who create things like social media graphics, presentations, and business cards,” says Perkins. “It has saved them time, money, and allowed them to create graphics that look professional without needing to learn the expensive desktop design tools.”

Companies like Huffington Post, Upworthy, Lonely Planet, Hubspot and Yelp are already signed up and using the platform to create their social media graphics and marketing materials. But the winning feature by far when it comes to Canva for Work is the way it has been designed to facilitate team collaboration.

The platform has features like photo libraries, a brand asset and custom template section, and most importantly a way that team members can communicate within the platform effortlessly. Think Google Docs for the amateur design space – it’s powerful stuff.

These features make it easier for stakeholders within a business to do their work. Features like templates allow for team members to get on with what they need completed without having to wait for a traditional design job to be completed. The ability for team members to edit work and create templates in real-time means that things like copy can be checked quickly, and graphic designers within organisations can focus on the high-level important tasks.

“Too often graphic designers are overstretched and pressured with competing priorities from all corners of an organisation,” says Perkins. “Canva for Work enables them to centralise all their assets, collaborate more easily, and oversee a brand’s image by providing remixable templates, images and design assets that other teams can use to create on-brand graphics.”

The price point for Canva for work is affordable at $9.95 a month (paid in full for 12 months) or $12.95 per month otherwise.

According to the founders, another feature launching in the not-too-distant future is an “experts” program connecting users of Canva with design professionals and agencies who will work with users on their projects.

To date, Canva is backed by $12.6 million in seed funding, the most recent being a $6 million round led by existing investors Silicon Valley’s Matrix partners and Shasta Ventures, as well as Asia-Pacific based firms Blackbird Ventures and new to the Canva family AirTree Ventures.