The Dead Pixels Society podcast

Expanding the graphics market with Canva

August 22, 2020 Gary Pageau Season 1 Episode 16
The Dead Pixels Society podcast
Expanding the graphics market with Canva
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Show Notes Transcript

Gary Pageau of the Dead Pixels Society talks with Aaron Day, Global Partnership Lead, with Canva. Day discusses the Canva business model, how the company is partnering with leading leaders like FedEx Office, and a sneak peek at the future of photo printing.

Founded in 2012 by Melanie Perkins, Cliff Obrecht, and Cameron Adams, Canva is a graphic design software solutions provider helping users to design presentations, social media graphics, and more with various layouts, images, photo filters, icons and shapes, and fonts. The platform combines a drag-and-drop design tool with a stock library of photographs, illustrations, and imagery.

Valued at $6 billion, Sydney-based Canva is considered to Australia's most valuable private tech company.

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Hosted and produced by Gary Pageau
Edited by Olivia Pageau
Announcer: Erin Manning

Gary Pageau  0:06  
Hello, and welcome to the Dead Pixels Society podcast. I'm your host Gary Pageau. And today we're joined by Aaron Day the global partner should lead of Canva, one of the most exciting startups in the graphic art space. Hello, Aaron, how are you? How are you today?

Aaron Day  1:09  
Thanks for Thanks for including me on the podcast this morning.

Gary Pageau  1:12  
So first for those people who aren't aware of Canva, can you kind of give us a rundown on a little bit of the company history?

Aaron Day  1:22  
Sure. So Canvca's been in business since 2013. The company was launched by Mellon cliff. The idea around the the launching and sort of the inspiration of the business was to sort of make design easy and simple for everyone. Melanie and Cliff had both had were involved with operations where they were either teaching design or involved with design and a business and it just was very complicated. So the business was launched with a single goal of democratizing design and bringing it to everyone. And seven years later, you know, we we are now the largest Online design software platform in the world. We have a very simple user interface for people to go on and design just about anything. Social media, print, presentations, video, infographics, you name it, we have thousands of different template types. And we also have become a pretty large content company. Most people don't know about Canva is that, you know, while it's a really simple to use design tool, you also have a massive library of content that you can use, which makes the design process much simpler. So that's Canva. We're across the world. We're in 190 countries, we are native and 102 languages. So quite an amazing growth story over the last seven years.

Gary Pageau  2:42  
So what's the business model for Canva? How do you guys earn your valuation?

Aaron Day  2:48  
Well, so so we really have about five product lines. If you want to think about it that way. We have Canva free which is a basic camera design tool. You can go online, you can download the software, it's free, anyone can use it. You can use the tool, it has lots of functionality, as you start to use it to more become more of a repeat user and maybe, maybe someone who's going to use it for their daily life for their business or for a lot of a lot of social media posting, you can upgrade to Canva Pro, and what you what you get there, that's that's the first revenue stream that Canva gets. what you get for Canva pro basically in a subscription fee service is you get access to, you know, 60 million images, a massive content library, a whole bunch of new feature sets that lets you let your job just just just be easier when you're designing stuff on a regular basis. We then have a product called Canva for enterprise which is our first b2b product. And that's that is more a controlled private environment where you can create designs and templates and you can share them with your company with your employees across across your enterprise and it allows for things such as brand control and collaboration, content management, that also is a SAS software for a fee. And that's a new product. And then we basically we make money through through, you know, we make we earn our valuation through through content sales, you know, delivering premium content. But but the majority of our users are free users. So across the world, the majority of the people using Canva for users, and then they they benefit from that by making their life just simpler with what things are doing in design.

Gary Pageau  4:33  
So in terms of the business side of it, I think what's interesting about it is you have that brand control aspect to it because I think a lot of companies that are maybe medium sized companies where they have a style book or a graphic look or something they're trying to do, and they have different areas within the company who may be creating graphics, maybe creating a social media post or an event or something. And you know, as we all know, creative people can be creative and then go off plan. So, like the brand control aspect, I think of it, I think is actually very compelling to those kind of companies.

Aaron Day  5:11  
Yeah, you know, the, the thing that I love about our brand control is it's got, it's got different levels of functionality. So you can do something as you could have a creative designer and a company design a set of templates, they could lock down part of the template and leave some of the other parts of the template open for partial editing, share that with the entire company. And now the company can move faster because you're not waiting for minor edits that might need to happen to a template. You can also share like, brand kits and company sort of company themes and company logos and company colors across so everyone's designing sort of it on brand, which is one of the things that we feel is really out of whack, right? A lot of companies you know, if you look at their brand they have really they spend a fortune on promoting their brand, but then you see their brand all over the world and it doesn't matter. We're really focused on helping them giving them tools to make sure that everyone that touches the brand designs on brand. So that's that's that's the beauty of the product.

Gary Pageau  6:10  
So your role primarily with the companies in terms of partnerships, and you've announced some recently that I've actually kind of butted up into the printing space. You've partnered with FedEx Office. And with Office Depot, can you kind of describe how that works in those contexts and how those business are using Canva to serve their customers?

Aaron Day  6:31  
Sure, so a little background first is, surprisingly, I would say a majority of the people who use or use Canva every day, don't realize that you can actually print from Canva. So you can go to You can design a post or you can design a T shirt, and you could actually order that T shirt and you can actually order it and have it delivered to you in 104 countries. Looking at the business and what the consumer wants. We thought Look, it would be amazing to take the power of our design tool. embed it in the world's most popular e commerce sites for print. So if you think about where the majority of prints being ordered today, it's places like FedEx Office, Office Depot, other places around the world a lot, a lot of a lot of medium and small sized web print companies are doing very well. But but for the most part, none of them have a design tool embedded. So what we do in the partnership team is we embed the camera designer, our editor and our catalog into other ecommerce platforms, other web platforms. We don't know who the end user customer is, we don't we don't know. We don't we don't get that private data. We just empower our partners to give the power of the camera design tool to their clients. And hopefully we see a very nice uptick in in in print sales for our partners. That's our that's our goal. Plus we get a lot of people using Canva.

Gary Pageau  7:49  
So, so people are naturally a Canva customer per se they're a FedEx Office customer, right?

Aaron Day  7:55  
Yeah, they would they would remain a FedEx Office customer in this city. scenario or an Office Depot customer in this scenario, but they would have the full ability of using the Canva design tool to create any, any print templates that they would want to create an order.

Gary Pageau  8:13  
So you've also made some inroads into mobile with some recent announcements.

Aaron Day  8:18  
Yeah, so so what we do in the global partnership team is we have two focuses, we have focused on integrating Canva into, as I said, ecommerce, and when the print platforms, we also have an emphasis on trying to integrate Canva into tech platforms, places where we know there's going to be a lot of usage and there's going to be a lot of need for design. So we recently announced a partnership with Samsung, where Samsung will have Canva pre installed on their mobile devices, starting with tablets, and then mobile phones. And the goal there is allowed. It's really focused towards small businesses to allow small businesses have the ability to very quickly launch templates for social media print, communication, presentations, proposals, things like that. Just to make their business simpler, we really think that we're going to help reduce the cost structure and return time for small businesses by having sort of just an embedded experience with, with our software, pre sort of pre installed on, on, on mobile devices.

Gary Pageau  9:17  
So will they have on let's say, the Samsung Note, let's say somebody's creating a flyer for their business, then they can have that printed through their Samsung phone.

Aaron Day  9:30  
They could, they could, they could go in and they can, as you can see, now they could have multiple channels for distributing it, they want it to print it on their phone and have it delivered to their home, there'll be multiple ways to do that. If they wanted to print it and pick it up in store. There'll be options for that. So the idea here is that we were going to make it very simple for them to do to use the power design tool to to get their print. Either shipped to them or picked up in store.

Gary Pageau  9:55  
Now that mobile app does that have the same phone capability of the full blown Canva experience with, you know, millions of stock images and all of those features.

Aaron Day  10:08  
In Canva world, the technologies is universal. So there's really no difference between what you see on Canva on a desktop, a mobile app, you know, the web view, you might have a different, you know, different view size based on the device you're viewing it from, but the capabilities and functionalities are all the same.

Gary Pageau  10:27  
And as these tablets and phones are getting huge, I mean, it's a pretty compelling experience from a graphic design standpoint.

Aaron Day  10:34  
Yeah, it's, you know, we spent a lot of time focusing on how to try to make the user experience better for mobile because obviously, you don't have as much screen space. But the core functionality is the same you have that you have access to all the same content, templates, design tools, all the same solution.

Gary Pageau  10:51  
So as Canva has added images, stock images, and That type of content. Also, I noticed you're getting into animations a little bit, some animations. Is is, is that really the direction is going for the upward market in terms of adding more personalized content, photos, graphics, that kind of thing?

Aaron Day  11:18  
Well, we in the last year, we there's been a lot of movement at Canva. You know, we bought a couple of stock photography companies. Last year, we formed a partnership with one of the largest stock Dogra companies in the world, to making sure that that our users were designing something don't have to go looking for content. Then we launched Canva video and Canva music. We recently announced a partnership with a music company where there's now 30,000 music labels on Canva. So it's in the editor. We launched app store so that third party companies can develop supporting apps. And that's one of my favorite things that we've done is we've got three categories of apps sort of design enhancement apps, workflow apps, and publishing apps. And so we're letting we're letting the world come in and create apps that will provide additional value to our users. Which means if you think about it strategically, we're putting the customer first. We're not saying that we had to build everything ourselves, we're looking at the customer and saying, What do you need? And how do we get it to you as quick as possible. And if someone can build an app that provides me better than we can in a shorter period of time, we've opened it up. So that's that's a wonderful thing that we're doing as well there that I think that I think will really enhance the design experience in Canva.

Gary Pageau  12:30  
So give me an example of one or two of those kinds of third party apps.

Aaron Day  12:37  
Well, so So one example of an app when a publishing site would be something like we're connected to Google Photo where you can actually just grab the Google Photo App inside of Canva and not have to, you know, drag and drop images. It's just there in the editor panel. Okay. We've got we've got interfaces with MailChimp, so if you want to do an email campaign, You can use it, you can download the you can download the app and integrate it into an email campaign. There's some new apps coming around the print and photo business where you'll be able to do some extra photo editing. There's a bunch of apps that we have now in design side that allow you to add special effects to photos and designs where, you know, you can you can, you know, do a tone effect or a video effect to an image. So there's there's a lot of different areas there, that we're focused on it, but it's all about just just giving that giving the user the ability in the editor to just add more and more, you know, features to their design.

Gary Pageau  13:42  
So in terms of the quote unquote, photo space, you mentioned Google Photos, are you seeing much interest from what we would think of as traditionally photo companies for using Canva to enhance their products?

Aaron Day  13:56  
Two ways I'll address that question Gary. So first of all, the ability to import tagged images that have data to them into Canada and be able to sort of have themes and have sort of, like kinda like like similar content as I'm building a template of a design and I want to have like and kind of images the ability to have those images show up that are that are liking kind of has a lot of value to our designers, right. So So we think that being very strong and photo is really important because you know, people were people were are either searching or uploading enormous amounts of photos to put into their design. So that's, that's one area. The other area is that we really believe that the idea of being a traditional photo printer is changing in that taking, taking, taking the idea of photo and blending it with a theme or our new content, is really the way things are going to go with it. Right, so instead of just printing a photo book and having 40 pages of photos, what we would like to suggest is print a photo book and understand where the photos came from and have it intelligently match themes to those photos. So that when when those photos come up and let's say you were I was on a trip to rocky mountains or Colorado now themes of the mountain show up that I'm able to drop my photos into, and it just creates an easier and more and more beautiful product when it comes out as a print product as well. So so we're really really thinking about how the traditional photo experience gets enhanced with the intelligence of our of our content, our templates. So

Gary Pageau  15:39  
I think from a technology standpoint, it's quite apparent that the graphic arts and the photo people are coming much much closer together right there used to be a photography workflow and space needs to be a graphic arts workflow and space and now, you know, most if you walk into a photo lab these days, it looks like a print shop. Right? The digital press and cutters and binders and all these other equipments. So really you're kind of hitting that sweet spot.

Aaron Day  16:07  
Yeah, you know what I think the one thing that we're going to see coming out of COVID is that that there's been a sort of a .. how do I say this speed up in the process to move to more personalized digital print across across the entire world, right? I mean, those, the the longer the longer run jobs with all the automation coming around it. And what I really see happening is that the traditional graphic art side of the business and the photos out of business are both benefiting from all the new automation and workflow, right, so much easier to get a set of high end photos into something that you want to print with the tools that are out there today. And Canva is part of it. But there's also some other really good companies out there that are are building technology that allows that, that workflow to to merge right. You No, obviously, obviously, there's a lot of photos out there in this world with with smartphones and cameras, everything that are sitting there, and I think people are trying to figure out how to use them more so.

Gary Pageau  17:09  
So I may I point was Canva always, you know, having AI as part of their, their, their backbone, their portfolio, or how soon is that come into play? Because, you know, I've seen a lot of AI coming into the industry the last couple of years, it seems like they're all going for the same sort of offering like Canva has. So is this something you've cooked up yourself? Or is? Or is How is that? Yeah,

Aaron Day  17:35  
I think I think as, as our founders launch, the company thought about the business. We're a global company, when you think about a global company, and you're producing pre built templates that we want people to use to help them design, you know, design better make it simpler for them design, those templates have to be relevant, right? So so you have to be able to localize templates and content to where the person is the person who's that's using the software right? So if I'm in if I'm in Manila versus if I'm in New York City, what we serve them needs to be different. So there's AI required there, right? There's, there's, there's intelligence that has to be put in to the system to localize the design tool. So I think foundationally just from from the very beginning, how we were built, it was it was it just ingrained in our in our NDA right, that it has to be very intelligent. And as you go forward, then you think about everything else that you bring into it. The ability to to localize video, and music and other content, really is really powerful. So we are our base DNA is around, you know, really, really strong AI. So.

Gary Pageau  18:38  
So in terms of the company, how would someone if someone was interested in becoming a partner with Canva, how would they go about that process?

Aaron Day  18:48  
So right now is automated as we are in many ways, the way you become a partner with Canva right now is you reach out to me. You will start to see in the near future, some stuff where there's a poor and stuff like that you can go on. If you're interested in being a print partner where we're Canvas designed to be embedded in your website or your e commerce site or your web to print solution, then you reach out to me, you can go to backslash button. And that is where you would potentially integrate Canva into a social media platform, or into a tech platform, a much a sort of a much more simple integration. But if you want an integration, where there's going to be a transaction where a design is going to be executed in a shopping cart for fulfillment, and you you're basically today, you come to me,

Gary Pageau  19:37  
sLet's say for example, I was a platform provider for photo websites, and I've got all the normal tools. I've got a book builder, I've got, you know, image enhancement, I've got, you know, all of those great goodies, where, but I don't have a graphic design tool, how would be the process to be involved with With Canva in that way, would that just be pinging you? or?

Aaron Day  20:02  
Yeah, so so you ping me and we look at it, we talked about what the design flow should look like. And then we basically, we presented an SDK center development kit to to you for integrating their the canvas solution in allowing the editor in the design tool to be embedded inside of the site. It's actually pretty powerful. When you think about it, a lot of these photo sites have so much other, you know, really valuable component. But what they're missing is, is that piece where they forced their client to grab all that data, leave the site, go grab an off the shelf design tool, build it and then come back to publish the product, right? You can just are designed to write into your site and allow those consumers stay there all the time and do what they need to do.

Gary Pageau  20:45  
Well, and I think one of the valuable tools for that Canva has is the ability to intelligently resize for different formats.

Aaron Day  20:56  
It is it is like I said before, on an The top one of my favorite favorite solutions that Canva has is what I call magic resize. Where you can actually design a poster and with one click of the button, have it Resize to a greeting card or to a sell sheet. You can even take a poster and put it on a T shirt, right? It just, it's just a beautiful, beautiful functionality, right. And if you're a retailer, if you're someone selling prints, and you think about like the value that brings that person going, going to your site to buy a photo, or canvas or a photo book, they may just not know how to build another product, right? And if you can give them right side by side and additional product without any requirements from them, probably see quite a nice upsell in what comes to your shopping cart. Right? And that's what we're really focused on is giving those partners the ability to add more revenue to their to their shopping cart, or if they can do it, it's they just know that it's too painful to do. Right? Yeah, it takes too long you know, and you know, and weakness JSA here's your here's your canvas, your T shirt and your photobook. All from one design on your site. What a beautiful thing, you know, for them.

Gary Pageau  22:09  
Mm hmm. Great. So, is there anything you can tell us coming down the pipeline in terms of Canva developments you want you can share?

Aaron Day  22:22  
What I will tell you is this is that I think the world's going to be very excited to see our next generation photo product. We were launching here in the next few weeks, the whatever you want to call it, Gen three Gen four, have a new photo book product. And I'm super excited for your community to see it Gary. I think they're going to love what they see and and just just just sort of how we how we've taken you know, all the existing technology to add it to our flair to it, right. So really excited about that and, and where we're going in the near future. So

Gary Pageau  22:55  
Great. Well, thank you very much Aaron for your time and have a good one. week.

Aaron Day  23:00  
Thank you

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