Industry’s Affinity users to welcome Canva investment

Mar 27, 2024 at 12:15 pm by admin

Serif’s Affinity apps – seen by many as a non-subscription option to Adobe’s Creative Suite – have been snapped up by Australian online design giant Canva.

For Canva co-founder and chief operating officer Cliff Obrecht, the deal – which covers the UK Serif’s Affinity Designer, Photo and Publisher and is reported to be worth “several hundred million dollars” – is “the final piece in the jigsaw”.

Online design company Canva, launched by Obrecht and his high-profile wife and partner Melanie Perkins, and Cameron Adams in 2013, is the classic Australian success story now worth $26 billion and with 175 million users worldwide.

So far the pitch has been has been to non-professionals, but the Affinity acquisition changes that, moving it into a space occupied by professional designers and creatives who have in recent years relied on the Adobe suite of products.

History here takes us to the start of desktop publishing with Paul Brainerd’s PageMaker, and the complex alternative of QuarkXpress. It was the reliable arrival of InDesign, from Postscript developer Adobe – following its acquisition of Aldus PageMaker – that came to dominate the market, and it has become an integrated staple of many newspaper content management systems since.

Adobe took the opportunity of its near-monopoly to put its design suite under a subscription umbrella, but this has contributed to the welcome with which Affinity’s photo editing, vector illustration and desktop publishing tools were greeted. Not only the affordability and one-time purchase model, but also the performance of its three key components have since endeared it to users, especially those of Macs. (Read this early assessment by GXpress columnist Kevin Slimp in November 2020).

Serif’s 90-person team will join Canva, ensuring not only continuity in the development and support, but also their technology’s integration into Canva’s increasingly AI-powered solutions. Future Affinity users will be able to “craft designs and templates with Affinity to scale across organisations with Canva” and there’s the certainty of future investment in the products.

Canva has made several strategic moves in recent months, including a business-focussed TikTok partnership. Based in the UK, Affinity joins a number of other European companies who have become part of Canva, including Flourish, Kaleido, SmartMockups, Pexels, Pixabay and SlidesCarnival, the company says. 

The promise of chief executive officer Ashley Hewson – who says Affinity “always worked to challenge the status quo” – takes on an interesting new perspective.

Peter Coleman

Pictured: Affinity’s intuitive design software, as featured by Canva (top) and (above) vector software; (below) the Affinity team

Sections: Digital business


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