Canva, the app that famously empowers millions of people to design their own invitations, posters, corporate presentations, etc. staged its first global event Wednesday in Sydney. Feathers, head dresses, sparkles, and a rainbow of colors—as worn by some 1000 employees from Canva offices in Australia—filled The Hordern Pavilion in chilly Moore Park, New South Wales.
The gathering’s theme, as evidenced by the wealth of eye-catching props and costumes, was “The Future is Visual”—which might as well be the multi-billion dollar company’s mantra as it launched a whole new suite of exciting innovations to the Canva menu, among them a complete website-making feature, a feature that can turn everyday work documents into snazzy, fully illustrated reports, and a one-click background remover for videos.
It is indeed becoming an increasingly visual world, Canva founders Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht stressed early on in the program. "Visual communication is becoming an increasingly critical skill for teams of every size across almost every industry," said Canva co-founder and CEO, Perkins, a visual stunner even without her sequined green jacket and pair of sneakers with soles that blink like Christmas lights.
We are moving farther and farther away from a text heavy universe and to get ahead in the game, whether you’re an individual, a small business, a small team or a large organization, effective visual communication is key. “[It is] what separates engaging brands from ones that get lost in the noise,” said Obrecht, citing the market research company Forrester’s data that says “design-driven thinking can deliver 85 percent or more ROI.” The founders even mention that over 10,000 jobs on LinkedIn lists a fluency in Canva as a desired skill among giant companies like Google, TikTok, American Express, Amazon, and LEGO.
While Canva began as an app to basically aid students to make their school yearbooks, with its new “visual worksuite,” it’s clear the audience have expanded to big enterprises, especially those for whom a lot of collaboration takes place, or for those who need to accommodate as many voices in decision making. As it’s own data reveals, “more than 4 million paying customers are embracing Canva for Teams - the company's collaborative all-in-one design solution - to empower their workforce.”
Anyway, here are the latest innovations Canva launched last Wednesday which had all of Sydney’s The Hordern Pavilion clapping and cheering.
As mentioned earlier, this feature effectively transforms your everyday documents, reports, even letters, into fully-illustrated, visually engaging messages. And with just a click of a button, any of these mentioned can be turned into a full-fledged presentation. The feature even makes space for comments and real time collaboration. Users can easily tap into the app’s archive of templates, photographs, fonts and videos—a bank of visual assets that’s now over 100 million-strong.
Remember the time when you were already psyched with having a blogger or tumblr-powered website? That seems almost like a lifetime ago. The Canva website creator’s capabilities go beyond delivering an almost static repository for your thoughts and pictures: this one allows for feedback and business, what with its “analytics feature, which sheds light on site visits and allows the builder to get a pulse on audience and interest.” Needless to say, the app’s visual bank is there to help even the most design-impaired become a little more design-confident. Thanks to “85 million global users who produce more than 180 designs every second.”
Inspired by Canva design head Andrew Green’s grade fiver kid who was making a timeline of the Olympics for school—and who consequently got disappointed with the limited space of his presentation—Green and his team decided to work on a solution: the Canva Whiteboards. As the name suggests, it is a venue to put in a limitless number of information. Or as Canva says it, it’s an infinite canvas. It makes use of sticky notes, images, and diagrams, tracks brainstorming progress, and allows for a lot of collaborations.
Video Background Remover
Move over complicated software. Goodbye cumbersome how-to video. This is as good as it gets: remove background from your video in one click.
Expanding Canva Print
This feature simplifies the process of turning your visual messages into products, whether its postcards or shirts or mugs. It also goes to show how Canva is making visual communication happen both online and in the real world, as the company’s Print Product Marketer Anna Wood explained, “while also being a force for good.” Through it’s One Print, One Tree reforestation program, Canva is happy to report it’s already planted 2.4 million trees and would have planted 5 million more by year’s end across parts of Brazil, Kenya and Nepal.
Turn your data easily into animated and interactive visuals—that’s what this feature does. Made possible when the Flourish team joined Canva last year (Flourish is the app that makes data visualization easy with no cost to the user), now stats and other data can be easily converted into, say, a moving chart or a bubble map, rendering formerly difficult-to-decipher information into easy-to-picture, maybe even meaningful, narratives.
Remote Control for Presentations
No more, ‘Next slide please.’ This feature puts the pace of your presentation completely in your hands. Or in the case of multiple presenters, thanks to this virtual clicker, each person can control the flow of a presentation from anywhere and from any device.
Canva has changed the way ordinary individuals perceive design since its launch in 2013. With these new features, the brand is likely set to change the way employees communicate not only to an outside audience but with each other. “[Visual communication] is now critical for every individual, every company, every non-profit and every team,” said Perkins in closing. “It’s now even critical at school.”
But even as Canva users are only beginning to tinker with the app’s newly launched offerings and exploring their possibilities, the Canva team are already at work fine-tuning the next batch of its innovations, report its founders at the launch. These include turning long text into a snappy, short message, an idea into a picture, an old design into something new—just ask for it. The purpose of design, they say, is to provide solutions. It seems Canva thinks it’s other purpose is to make magic.