Canva’s Success Tale in the World of Design

Product-led growth
February 2, 2023

Most successful unicorns have gone through the trials of time and many rejections before they blossomed into an inspiring success tale. Canva, an Australian design platform, has an interesting narrative of the same.

 Image Credit- Canva’s Pinterest

In August 2013, the business was introduced to a small number of users, and a few reviews on tech blogs. Within five years, Perkins made headlines as one of tech’s youngest female CEOs at just 30.

“Our goal was to take the entire design ecosystem, integrate it into one page, and then make it accessible to the whole world,” said Perkins.

Canva is a user-friendly and simple online design tool. It offers users templates for a range of creative activities, including making invitations or business cards.

To to use them on their projects, users can also contribute their photos and artwork. Although Canva is free to use, users can upgrade to a Pro account for a fee to access additional features.

 Image Credit-Huffpost-Canva co-founders Melanie Perkins, Cliff Obrecht and Cameron Adams.

From High School Yearbook to full blown Design tool - The early days of Canva

Melanie Perkins first had the thought when she was only 19 years old – the teenager would teach others design programs as a side job, but students thought the platforms from Microsoft and Adobe were "extremely hard."

So Melanie and her partner Cliff Obrecht (Canva co-founder and COO) started small and established an online school yearbook design company, Fusion Books, to try out their concept with limited finances and commercial expertise. The company was successful and is still operating today.

Changes through the years

The timing of Canva was impeccable. Instagram and Twitter were changing how companies communicate with their users. Everyone's internet presence was all of a sudden very important to them. Canva was the ideal tool for users to build their online presence in the most aesthetically pleasing manner. Of course, there have been considerable updates as the tool has grown over the years. Let’s check out a couple of them below.

1. Canva's Logo

“Refine, not rebrand.”

The original intent of the Canva logo was to capture the effortless flow that comes with being creative.

Since the company has grown significantly since its inception, alterations have been made to the logo to allow it to work in a broader range of products, from little buttons to massive billboards. As a result, you can recognize Canva's new logo from a distance or up close, on any device, anywhere, because it glows with a radiant gradient.

You can read more about it on their Medium.

2. Video Suite

Video is always compelling. In 2019, Canva debuted its Video Suite. Reiterated and re-launched in 2021, this platform combines straightforward editing, recording, and collaboration tools with thousands of customizable video templates and a sizable media collection in a single, user-friendly interface.

3. Game Templates

In 2021, they introduced virtual games. Through virtual gaming, you may effortlessly play games and keep in touch with your friends and coworkers. Play multiplayer games like chess and checkers in real time with your friends.

You can even create games and quizzes!

Canva's explosive growth is a result of its constant product innovation, which is upending several industries simultaneously, including design, collaboration, stock images, publishing, video, and more.

After seven years of building towards a grand vision, their growth was fast:

  • 1 million users in 2014.
  • 6 million users in 2015.
  • 2 million+ designs made in 2020.
  • On track for $1 billion+ annualized revenue in 2021.
Image Credit- Glassdoor

By October 2022, Canva announced the milestone of more than 100 million people designing with Canva every month!

What makes Canva so Successful?

Several elements contributed to Canva's success.

1. Easy User Interface

First off, using the platform is quite simple. Any new user can quickly become proficient with Canva's user interface. It is intuitive and doesn't require extensive training. A massive selection of templates and tools makes it simple for consumers to produce designs with professional appearance. Update the templates to add the text or modify the locations, and the design is complete. There is no need to look further because hundreds of thousands of stock photos, graphics, and movies are available.

2. Freemium Model

Canva has a freemium business model, meaning that basic usage is free. Anyone may sign up for free and use the tens of thousands of free stock photos, graphics, and movies to create any number of designs. This helps build a habit in the user, who will later pay if they want to advance their design.

3. Excellent Organic Growth Strategy

Social media accounts for a sizable chunk of Canva's website traffic. As a result, social media is a fantastic platform for Canva to interact with and engage its audience.

All of this takes place without paid marketing, because the goal is to inform customers about the product rather than try to sell it to them.

What's new?

Canva recently introduced Visual Worksuite

Canva's suite of tools takes you through every stage of your workflow. It's an end-to-end solution for businesses, nonprofits, educators, content creators, and anyone who wants to make an impact with visual communication.

“We’re not trying to compete head-to-head with Google Docs,” says Cliff Obrecht (Canva co-founder and COO)

Additionally, Canva will enhance its print services and provide its background removal technology to videos as well.

With this new initiative just hitting the market, Canva will be the center of attention for all propagating Product-led Growth. And we’ll be watching them, just like everyone else!


Mahima Arora
Associate Product Marketer at
A marketing enthusiast, trying to influence society by means of media and drive sustainable good.
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