Canva acquires professional designer software suite Affinity

Canva acquires professional designer software suite Affinity

Example of the Affinity interface.

Sydney-headquartered graphic design and visualisation tool giant Canva has announced the acquisition of UK-based Affinity and its parent company Serif for an undisclosed sum, although co-founder and COO Cliff Obrecht told Bloomberg the cash-and-scrip deal valued the deal at "several hundred million pounds".

Serif has been around since 1987 and over the first two decades of its existence built creative software for Windows and a suite of apps, before a pivot to more operating system-agnostic apps for creative professionals that culminated in a five-year "gamble" that threw away old code and led to the launch of Affinity Designer in 2014.

Today the Nottingham-based group with 90 staff also operates Affinity Photo and Affinity Publishing, and in 2022 the company launched Version 2 of its apps which are now used by three million people worldwide for photo editing, illustration, graphic design and page layout.

Affinity CEO Ash Hewson (left) with Canva's head of Europe, Duncan Clark.
Affinity CEO Ash Hewson (left) with Canva's head of Europe, Duncan Clark.

 

The platform is used to create everything from complex multi-layered graphics to detailed technical diagrams, art and illustration, logos, mockups, documents, magazines and much more.

"Visual communication is now ubiquitous in the workplace and investing in strategies that enhance our B2B offerings is core to the future of our business," says Obrecht, Canva's COO.

"The past few years have seen a dramatic increase in the need for effective, efficient, and compelling visual communication. 

"From internal communications teams producing onboarding materials to marketing teams scaling global campaigns, the world of work is becoming an increasingly visual place. As the volume of content and channels increase, designers have become inundated, spending more time editing and less time creating."

Obrecht says that by joining forces with Affinity, Canva will be able to "unlock the full spectrum of designers at every level and stage of the design journey".

"Affinity shares our vision for powerful simplicity and accessibility. In the same way we’ve spent the last decade building an all-in-one platform to make visual communication seamless and accessible, the Affinity team has been developing and evolving a lean, powerful, and dynamic suite of creative tools loved by designers around the world," Obrecht explains.

"From our very first conversations, we knew Affinity’s vision to pioneer simple yet state-of-the-art technology was a perfect match with our own mission to empower the world to design – which includes enhancing our capabilities and offering for professional designers.

"While our last decade at Canva has focused heavily on the 99 per cent of knowledge workers without design training, truly empowering the world to design includes empowering professional designers too."

Screenshot from the Affinity software.
Screenshot from the Affinity software.

 

Affinity CEO Ashley Hewson says since the inception of Affinity the goal has been to empower creatives with tools that unleash their full potential, fostering a community where innovation and artistry flourish.

"We've worked tirelessly to challenge the status quo, delivering professional-grade creative software that is both accessible and affordable," says Hewson.

"Canva’s commitment to empowering everyone to create aligns perfectly with those values. We couldn't be more excited about becoming part of the Canva family and can't wait to see what we will achieve together."

The news marks Canva's first acquisition in nine months since the purchase of SlidesCarnival in Spain, with other European acquisitions in recent years including Kaleido from the Netherlands, SmartMockups from the Czech Republic, London-based Flourish, and German companies Pexels and Pixabay. 

Canva is now used by more than 175 million people across 190 countries and in more than 100 languages, and opened its European office in London in May last year.

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