Here's An Inside Look At Canva, The $3 Million Design Platform For Newbies

Founders Cliff Obrecht, Melanie Perkins and Cameron Adams. Credit: Canva

Design start-up Canva has unveiled an online graphic design platform that CEO Melanie Perkins says newbies can learn to use within 23 seconds.

Today’s launch comes four months after Canva won $3 million in capital from Commercialisation Australia and some prominent Australian and US angel investors.

Canva, which was funded without a prototype, incorporates ideas from Perkins and co-founder Cliff Obrecht’s previous venture, Fusion Books.

It allows users to upload their own images and provides simple templates for designing anything from flyers to corporate presentations, business cards and Facebook cover photos.

Perkins says Canva targets design newbies as well as professionals, with the latter group likely to shave hours off projects by using Canva’s collection of 1 million stock images and hundreds of fonts.

“When [professionals] have a design idea, you’ll have to go and purchase and download stock photography, then you go to a font website, then you go and purchase and download a design layout then you have to cut out the images – that can take up to an hour even for someone who’s really good at it,” she explained.

“Then you receive content and photos via email and you go backwards and forwards many times collecting all that data. Then finally you get to the fun part which is the design.

“We don’t believe that entire design ecosystem is utilising the technology that we have today. [Canva] takes the entire ecosystem and puts it onto one page so people can design very easily and collaborate online.”

Here’s a Canva video that shows how it works:

Canva is free to use, but some elements – like premium stock images – cost $1. Users can preview their designs before committing to buy any elements.

For each dollar Canva charges for stock images, it pays 35% to the graphic designers who created them. Free images tend to have been designed by Canva’s in-house team.

“Our focus is really on growing our user base at the moment,” Perkins said.

“In terms of monetisation, we obviously have the [premium image] library, but this is just the tip of the iceberg at the moment.”

Perkins says the company was born with a global market in mind, but will remain in its warehouse in Surry Hills, Sydney, for the foreseeable future.

Now read: This Bizarre Recruitment Pitch Deck Convinced A Senior Google Engineer To Leave For Australian Start-Up Canva

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook and Twitter

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.