Canva's Growth Story to a Thriving Community of 185 Million

PLUS: How to stay afloat in the swarm of Gen AI resources

Howdy fellas!

Spark and Trouble are back with yet another one of their favourite AI products, along with a bunch of interesting latest news around the hub!

Here’s a sneak peek into this week’s edition 👀

  • Product Lab: Canva’s Magic Studio

  • Truecaller partners with Microsoft to let AI answer calls

  • A new AI automation can generate impeccable Figma mocks from PRDs

Time to jump in!😄

PS: Got thoughts on our content? Share 'em through a quick survey at the end of every edition It helps us see how our product labs, insights & resources are landing, so we can make them even better.

Product Labs🔬: Canva’s Magic Studio

Canva is yet another one of our go-to products. Like many other small businesses and freelancers, the entire marketing content of “The Vision Debugged” is created on Canva. All the amazing posters and posts you see, thanks to Canva.

Product Labs: Decoding the AI Matrix - Canva’s Magic Studio (source: Created by authors)
Tap the pic to get a better view

What’s in it for you?

Back in 2012, Melanie Perkins noticed something while teaching design at a university: traditional design software was way too complex and inaccessible for the average person.

So, she teamed up with Cliff Obrecht and Cameron Adams to launch Canva in 2013, a graphic design platform with a mission to empower everyone to design. They believed that design shouldn't be exclusive or complicated, and Canva was born to make it accessible, easy, and enjoyable for anyone, regardless of their design skills.

Canva has certainly delivered and democratized content creation for freelancers like us & now is taking the next step (keep reading to know what it is).

Over 25 billion designs have been created on Canva since its launch and over 185 million people use Canva every month - that’s a whopping 280 designs each second! 🤯

Canva got AI Magic (quite literally)

AI in Canva is like eating at a buffet, there is something for everyone and it gets hard to keep track of if you tried all the dishes. Still, we will try to do justice to the dishes we tried, hopefully, we didn’t miss anything. Last year, Canva got a magical makeover and launched Magic Studio - a suite of AI-powered features.

Introducing Canva’s Magic Studio

Content Creation and Ideation
  • Magic Design: Generate design ideas based on keywords or a short description

Magic Design: Instagram post generated with a single sentence, with multiple options!

  • Magic Media: Generate videos & images based on a text prompt

Magic Media: This short animation was created just using a single text prompt

Image Editing
  • Magic Eraser: Effortlessly remove unwanted objects from your photos

Magic Erase: Playing hide and seek with the cat

  • BG Remover: Remove backgrounds from images with a single click

  • Magic Expand: Increase the dimensions of the image to fill a page as needed

  • Magic Edit: Replace or edit any object in an image with another

    Magic Edit: Make the white cat brown with a few clicks & words


If you thought the buffet was done and you’ve not had your fill yet, here are a few more…

Content Manipulation
  • Magic Morph: Change the style of elements

Magic Morph: No questions which is morphed. Prompt - “Inflatable reflective gold foil party balloons”

  • Magic Grab: Extract specific elements from one image and place them into another

  • Magic Switch: Transform any design into a doc or any language

Magic Grab: Make the cat fly from land to water easily

Text and Animation
  • Magic Write: Give an AI upgrade to your content or generate new content

  • Magic Animate: Add basic animations to text and graphics

Magic Write: Back to the fundraiser for dogs, here we generated content from scratch. Prompt - “Write a passage raising awareness about saving street dogs and inviting people for a fundraiser”

Canva joins hands with other big guns

Canva has strategic partnerships with other AI products. It takes a village, well they bought in the village with all their partnerships for various tasks.

  • Runway - for text-to-video generation

  • Dall-E & Imagegen - image generation

  • MelodyMuse - music generation

  • NeiroAI - live avatars

  • Sketch To Life - convert sketch to image

  • Swapme AI - image enhancer

Glimpse of the app integrations in Canva

Canva has leveraged established AI models like Dall-E and Runway for image and video generation. This emphasizes their deliberate choice to use proven & familiar technology, playing on the user’s Familiarity Bias.

Familiarity Bias: People naturally gravitate towards things they recognize. Repeated exposure can even increase preference. Leveraging familiar design patterns in new experiences can bridge the gap between the unknown and the comfortable.

Again, these are just a few of the apps in Canva’s AI marketplace. Canva can now also be integrated into Slack, Asana, and Google Ads and the list is endless (well not really but you get the drift).

What’s the intrigue?

Canva celebrates the big one-o!

10 years of Canva and now Canva is gearing up for another exciting decade. Canva has focused on consumer customers so far, but it is now levelling up and expanding to cater to enterprise customers with Canva for Work.

The future of work is being reshaped by three fundamental shifts:

  • Growth and importance of visual communication

  • Proliferation of workplace tools

  • Rapid rise of generative AI.

Canva is focusing on 4 core business functions: Marketing, HR, Sales, and Creative domains first.

We watched the Canva Create’s keynote and the awesome features they’ve set up for Marketing. A new bulk creation feature allows users to generate multiple design variations from a single template, saving time and ensuring brand consistency. By uploading content in a spreadsheet, users can automatically create a campaign's worth of on-brand assets.

Additionally, integrations with major ad platforms like Google, Amazon, and Meta streamline the ad creation process, enabling design, optimization, and ad preparation within Canva.

Finally, Work Kits, a collection of pre-designed templates for common marketing tasks, provide a starting point for projects and can be customized to fit specific needs. Integrations with project management and digital asset management tools further enhance workflow efficiency.

Spark and Trouble are eagerly waiting to see what’s in store for the other business functions 🫢 

You Asked 🙋‍♀️, We Answered ✔️

Question: The space of generative AI is mutating like an amoeba, each day there is a new species and I feel like drowning in this pool of AI. How can I keep abreast of the latest developments and also learn in depth about gen AI?

Answer: McKinsey’s research highlights that generative AI features could contribute up to 4.4 trillion annually to the global economy. What a time to be alive!

Here are some quick & easy ways to keep up with this seemingly menacing pace of Gen AI development:

  1. Keep track of novel AI models: Meta’s LlaMa family of large language models (LLMs) and other efficient foundation models have emerged. Keep an eye on advancements like StableLM, Falcon, Mistral, and Llama

  2. Stay curious and engage with the community: Read research papers from platforms like arXiv, (or condensed blogs and articles from publications like Towards Data Science, if research papers sound like a stretch). Attend conferences and webinars virtually or in person.

  3. Follow (credible) AI Influencers on Social Media: Follow experts on social media who talk about the latest advances in AI, like Zain Kahn, Andrew Ng, Ronald van Loon (and even Tezan 😉), and participate in discussions.

  4. Get your hands dirty and implement generative models using TensorFlow, PyTorch, or Hugging Face Transformers. Modify pre-trained models like ChatGPT, DALL-E, and StyleGAN.

  5. Lastly and most importantly, read The Vision, Debugged 😋

Well, that’s a wrap!
Thanks for reading 😊

See you next week with more mind-blowing tech insights 💻

Until then,
Stay Curious🧠 Stay Awesome🤩

PS: Do catch us on LinkedIn - Sandra & Tezan

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