How IDOL Academy scaled its business yet stayed efficient with Canva


  • IDOL Academy’s founder has been using Canva since 2015 to support the growth of the school, especially as it continually expands and serves a larger student population.
  • The team leverages Brand Kit, Presentations, Whiteboards, and tools from Magic Studio to make their learning resources more accessible.
  • With Canva for Campus(opens in a new tab or window), IDOL Academy has saved $12,500 per year on software and enhanced productivity and efficiency by 50%.

About IDOL Academy

As the only authorized trade school of its kind, IDOL Academy(opens in a new tab or window) is at the forefront of instructional design education. Established in 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia, the academy offers a unique blend of hands-on training, lifelong mentorship, and unlimited expert feedback, empowering students to become skilled instructional designers and eLearning developers.

The school continues to revolutionize online learning with their IDOL Talent agency, an exclusive network made up entirely of vetted graduates, putting students at the center of shaping the future of instructional design.

The Challenge

Since its inception, IDOL Academy has leveraged Canva's user-friendly interface to establish a strong brand identity.

Founder Dr. Robin Sargent, familiar with Canva since 2015, recognized its value as a centralized, accessible tool and shaped the foundation for IDOL around its technology.

“I used to be a director of learning and development in a one billion dollar recruiting and staffing agency. I had one team member that helped me and needed guidance, and he needed something that was easy," Robin remarks.

As the academy grew, IDOL seamlessly transitioned from a Canva Pro account to Canva Teams, a testament to the platform's ability to accommodate their ever-changing business needs. This strategic use of Canva has enabled IDOL to consolidate resources and share them efficiently across their team.

In July 2023, IDOL expanded once again, implementing Canva for Campus to further mold the learning experience for its 300 students. This move underscores IDOL's commitment to providing accessible, innovative tools for its learners, fostering creativity and facilitating the development of practical design skills.

IDOL Academy implemented Canva for Campus to enhance the educational experience of its 3000+ remote students.

“I’ve taught students how to use Canva from the very beginning, because a lot of them come from a teaching background so they already have some familiarity with Canva,” says Robin. “The learning curve to teach people more complex software is way too high.”

The Solution

With the introduction of Canva for Campus, IDOL Academy has been able to transform their course curriculum and teaching methods, moving beyond traditional video lessons to interactive, game-centric programs.

“When we re-envisioned IDOL Academy, Canva for Campus was an integral part of our plan from the outset,” says Robin. “Now, each lesson is neatly organized as a project folder on Canva for Campus, containing all the relevant templates, documents and resources.”

Build a reliable and recognizable brand identity

The Brand Kit has simplified the process of creating and sharing branded content, fostering a unified visual identity. This is particularly beneficial in preparing students for the future workforce, where digital literacy and personal branding are key skills.

IDOL Academy uses Canva’s Brand Kit as a centralized hub where everyone can access on brand color palettes, fonts, and graphic elements.

“Our Brand Kit is overflowing,” says Morgan Anderson, one of IDOL’s graphic designers. “We have so many color palettes. We have our fonts in there, too. We’ve gotten to the point where all of our graphic elements or anything I create outside of Canva is put into our Brand Kit so everyone can access them.”

The team also utilizes various document types in the classroom and in preparing internal documents, including presentations and whiteboards, further improving their brand management, curriculum designing and student coursework.

The vocational school doesn't just utilize Canva for staff onboarding, teaching materials and marketing collateral. They’re also passionate advocates of Canva for their students' professional development, creating a Canva-specific course for their Instructional Design students.

IDOL Academy offers a dedicated Canva course for Instructional Design students to pave the way for designers in the workforce.

“Everyone at the academy has access to the ‘IDOL Loves Canva’ course, along with all of our other tech training, because I noticed a difference in the quality of student coursework submitted based on what courses they had taken,” says Robin.

Maximize your savings with a single subscription

IDOL Academy has realized significant cost savings thanks to Canva, with an annual savings of $12,500 on software and up to 62% annually on student licenses.

IDOL Academy has saved up to $12,500 annually on software by implementing Canva for Campus.

“I looked into getting another video software suite on a student license at the time for just 200 licenses and it was going to be over $20,000,” says Robin.

“The fact that I can get an entire campus included in one software suite – which includes all the other cool things Canva does – is impressive. And, I can include students on my account.”

AI-enhancements are the future of time management

Canva’s AI-powered features, such as Magic Translate and Magic Write, move IDOL closer to their goal of becoming an international school. These tools enable automatic translation and content creation, making educational materials accessible to students across different linguistic backgrounds.

Quotation mark
It was very exciting to see Magic Translate in action. I won't have to buy something else to translate these documents, because we've built all of our learning materials, outside of the actual e-learning part, in Canva.

Robin Sargent

Founder, IDOL Academy

Other features like Magic Resize, Background Remover and Magic Eraser have significantly enhanced their design capabilities for virtual instructor-led training.

“I love the Background Remover. I frequently combine that tool and the Shadows filter, allowing any subject to fit onto a background seamlessly,” says Morgan.

IDOL Academy leverages Canva features such as Magic Resize, Background Remover, and Magic Eraser to expedite turnaround time of assets.

To top it all off, IDOL Academy has boosted design efficiency by 50% since embracing Canva’s intuitive tools.

“Canva Elements cuts my design time in half,” says Morgan. “I do lean on Canva’s media library a lot for shapes that have already been created and for the photo editing tools themselves.”

IDOL Academy enhanced productivity and efficiency by 50% when Canva for Campus was rolled out.

Quotation mark
It's much easier to drop a photo into Canva and remove the background there than it is in other design softwares where things happen more manually.

Morgan Anderson

Graphic Designer, IDOL Academy

The academy’s approach marks a departure from traditional higher education. As a private, certificate-granting program, IDOL Academy demonstrates best practices at an enterprise level, shaping the next generation of designers and setting a high standard.

“With Canva for Campus, institutions can effortlessly manage internal communication and information dissemination, ensuring easy access to the latest updates on events, deadlines, designs, learning materials and other essential matters. Moreover, the user-friendly interface facilitates seamless collaboration between faculty members and students. Canva for Campus also provides powerful analytics tools for universities to gauge the effectiveness of their communication initiatives. This comprehensive solution is beneficial for any university seeking to enhance its internal communications and designs,” says Robin.

I highly recommend Canva for Campus for universities. It is an invaluable tool that helps students, faculty and staff stay organized through a centralized hub.
Robin Sargent
Founder, IDOL Academy
Annual savings on software with Canva for Campus
Enhanced productivity and efficiency with Canva for Campus

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