Canva's got a massive update that should have Adobe worried
Web-based design platform Canva is introducing a colossal suite of new brand management products and AI-powered design tools focused on helping entire workplaces streamline their content creation process. Announced today at Canva's Create event, most of these new features are designed to make creating content like social media graphics, presentations, and advertising materials more accessible to those without professional design experience. The idea is this would leave graphic designers free to tackle more pressing tasks. The number of features announced is impressive and could challenge Adobe's ubiquity in some offices.
A new Brand Hub is being added to Canva's Visual Worksuite, providing tools meant to help users remain consistent with their organizations' visual identity. Instead of a shared drive and endless Slack messages to designers, users would now create a Brand Kit with company-specific assets like logos, fonts, colors, and design guidelines. Brand Folders would be set up to group assets together for specific events, campaigns, and projects, and Brand Templates would allow designers to create pre-branded reusable templates for more repetitive tasks like email campaigns.
So far, that sounds a lot like Google Drive but with the word "Brand" added to the mix. However, Canva has some additional tricks that separate this from other cloud storage solutions. Administrators can set some permissions to ensure any content being created in Canva remains on-brand, restricting non-approved fonts and colors. Admins can also approve workflows directly within Canva prior to publishing to prevent multiple drafts from being saved and reviewed elsewhere. There's also a new "Magic Replace" tool that can replace an asset across all of your designs with one click if you just need to update an outdated logo or branded graphic.
The Magic Replace tool is just one of several new AI-powered features coming to the Canva Visual Worksuite. All of them are titled as "Magic," which can get a little confusing when some of the descriptions are so similar. "Magic Eraser" should be able to remove anything that you don't want in an image, whether it's people in the background or an unnecessary object, while "Magic Edit" enables users to swap an object with something else entirely using generative AI.
There's also a "Magic Design" tool that generates a curated selection of personalized templates (such as posters or birthday cards) from any image you upload, plus an AI-powered copywriting assistant that can generate written content from a text prompt that you could use in presentations and website copy. If you don't have time to throw together your own slides, then there's even a tool that generates entire branded presentations for you.
A new translation feature automatically translates any text in a design to over 100 different languages, and video footage can be matched up to the beat of a soundtrack without any manual edits. Canva said that it uses a mix of different AI models as the foundation for these features in addition to building its own systems. Finally, 953 new fonts and a host of non-workspace-specific tools are being added to the design platform that have been requested by its wider community. New editing features for layouts, layers, styles, and gradients are available to jazz up your designs, and alt text can now be generated for images directly within Canva.
You can find more details on the Canva website if you need a breakdown of some of these features, which isn't unreasonable given the sheer size of this update. There's a lot to digest here. Canva already touts itself as an "all-in-one" creation tool, and it's honestly hard to argue with that, especially considering how easy it is to use for everyday graphic design projects compared to more dedicated professional platforms.
There are numerous other web-based design services that provide a similar experience (including Adobe Express), but Canva is the titan of the industry. The company currently claims to have over 110 million monthly users -- an increase of 30 million since launching its Visual Worksuite last September. Adobe's solution to Canva's increasing popularity is seemingly to beat it at its own accessibility game, having recently announced new integrations and AI features for Adobe Express earlier this week. But it might need to do more.