Canva buys Affinity to fill gaps in its design suite

Canva acquired design software suite Affinity, challenging Adobe's design software dominance.

Canva buys Affinity to fill gaps in its design suite
Canva, a popular online graphic design platform, has acquired Affinity, a suite of design software applications. The move is seen as a way for Canva to expand its offerings and compete more directly with Adobe, the industry leader in design software.

In a strategic move to challenge Adobe's dominance within the digital design industry, web-based design platform Canva announced the acquisition of the Affinity creative software suite on Tuesday. This acquisition grants Canva ownership of Affinity Designer, Photo, and Publisher – established design applications for Windows, Mac, and iPad. These applications offer functionalities directly comparable to Adobe's industry-standard software suite, including Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign, respectively. This move positions Canva as a more comprehensive design solution and a significant competitor to Adobe.

While the financial details of the acquisition remain undisclosed, Bloomberg estimates the deal value to be in the "several hundred million [British] pound" range. This strategic move by the Australian-based Canva is intended to expand its user base, particularly among creative professionals.

Canva boasts a sizeable user base with approximately 170 million monthly active users globally as of January 2024. However, this user base likely doesn't significantly overlap with those using Adobe's Express product. Notably, unlike Adobe, Canva previously lacked its own design applications catering specifically to professionals such as illustrators, photographers, and video editors.

Знімок екрана Affinity Designer 2 із барвистою набережною.

In a press release announcing the acquisition, Canva acknowledged its past focus on serving the design needs of non-professionals. The company stated, "Our primary focus for the last decade has been on empowering the 99% of knowledge workers who lack formal design training." However, the press release continues, "Canva recognizes that truly democratizing design requires empowering professional designers as well. By combining forces with Affinity, we are thrilled to unlock the full potential of designers at all levels and throughout their design careers."

While Affinity's user base of over three million pales in comparison to Adobe's dominance, it possesses a dedicated following. This loyalty stems from Affinity's one-time purchase model, a stark contrast to Adobe's subscription-based approach. This strategy resonates with creatives actively seeking alternatives within the design ecosystem.

In a recent interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Canva co-founder Cameron Adams emphasized the continued independence of Affinity applications from the core Canva platform. However, he acknowledged the potential for future, limited integrations. "Our teams are already collaborating, and we have initial plans for streamlined integrations," Adams stated, "but we believe the core applications will remain distinct."

The acquisition of Affinity, along with its 90 UK-based employees, strengthens Canva's position as a competitor to Adobe within the broader creative software market. Canva's existing user base, drawn to its user-friendly platform, presents a significant opportunity to attract design professionals disillusioned with Adobe's subscription model. This strategic move positions Canva to capture a larger share of the professional design software market.