Canva: Graphic Design Tool Offers Skills to the MassesSeptember 02, 2013
by Kristen Nozell
Canva is a new online tool that aims to lower the barrier of entry to graphic design, allowing anyone (from professional designers to novices) to design projects including business cards, presentations, blog graphics and posters, with an easy-to-use interface and a vast library of fonts and images. The twelve-person team based in Sydney, Australia, has been developing the technology over the past year leading up to the release of the public beta on August 26, and has already raised over $3million in seed funding.
Critics may be concerned that Canva will devalue the work of professional designers, but the tool is not intended to replace designers, or professional design software such as Adobe Creative Suite. Rather, the platform allows users who don’t have the resources or sufficient need to purchase design software, to create more sophisticated designs than they would otherwise be able to, using (nearly) fool-proof layout tools and a library of images, fonts and graphic elements. For professional designers, the draw is the collaborative aspect, which would allow easy sharing and editing of designs which have been fine-tuned using pro software.
Canva boasts a simple, straightforward interface, ideal for those who don’t want to be bothered with complicated software. Users simply browse or search for an image or font, drag the element into the design space, and move and resize the elements as they’d like. Once a project is complete, it can be exported as a PNG or PDF, or shared through Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Users can also invite friends, coworkers and clients to collaborate directly through the site, removing messy email chains from the design process.
Unlike its pro counterparts, which are notoriously expensive, Canva is free to use, gaining revenue from premium images instead, for which it only charges when the image is published. This means that users can experiment with images and fonts without having to purchase anything, which may prove to be an additional draw for professional designers.