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Canva’s Strategic Partnerships: A Year In Review

How we're supporting some of the world’s leading brands to unleash the power of visual communications through strategic partnerships.


We’re all living and working in an age where communication is more visual than ever before. It’s a visual world. It’s a visual economy. From infographics and illustrations to videos and even Venn diagrams, they’re all part of how we tell stories about our businesses, projects and plans. In today’s world, every business is a content business. This means everyone has to communicate visually to capture the attention and affinity of their audiences.

Canva is on a mission to empower the world to design. This can mean different things for different businesses and over the last few months, we’ve had the opportunity to support some of the world’s leading brands to unleash the power of visual communications through strategic partnerships. Our approach to partnerships is unique and guided by these key principles:

They’re never off the shelf. Each partnership is bespoke with our philosophy focused on creating long-lasting relationships which are mutually beneficial.

We craft in collaboration from the ground up. We work across organisations, ecosystems and communities to bring ideas to life.

We put our product at the centre of everything. It’s not about plastering our logo everywhere. We want a deep and thoughtful integration so our product can drive value for our partners, their customers and communities.

We drive value and align on values. Shared values guide the behaviours to collaborate effectively. Our most impactful partnerships involve a shared vision of what we want to accomplish and shared values on how we operate.

From sports and media, to entertainment, tech and creative, we’ve partnered with leading organisations across a range of industries to help them unlock their creativity and communicate visually to achieve their goals.

Sports: Kicking creative goals on and off the field

In this digital and globalised era, sports fans’ loyalties are no longer forged by geography. Teams and players attract fans from anywhere on the planet, and their passion is strongly intertwined with visual brand identity. A teams’ colours or emblem can evoke a wide range of emotions, and the ubiquity of social media means fans are easier to reach but more competitive to engage. Canva helps sports teams engage their fans and power their brand. We’ve struck a multi-year partnership with the Philadelphia Eagles to achieve both of these goals. Managing assets across an ecosystem of partners is essential, so Eagles employees have use of Canva’s brand management tools to create, manage and share visual content across departments while maintaining brand consistency. It also enables them to easily share their brand assets and guidelines with their extensive network of corporate partners for use in their own marketing and communications materials.

These days, not all sports are played on the field. Esports is a booming global industry where skilled video gamers go head-to-head for on-screen glory. We’ve partnered with Garden State Esports (GES), a career-oriented esports non-profit, to teach up and coming digital athletes the power of visual communication. Students participated in a competition hosted by Canva where they had to design a logo based on their school’s emblem, using Canva’s free library of thousands of templates, images and fonts. GES are pioneers in education and esports development and as the world’s fastest-growing sport we expect more interest in this space over the coming years.

Media: Engaging and growing audiences

The media and publishing industries have undergone a seismic shift - and it's showing no signs of easing up. The digital revolution has fueled a content revolution, illustrated and accelerated by the rapid rise of streaming platforms. No discussion of streaming would be complete without a mention of Netflix, which reigns supreme with over 213 million paid subscribers. In a time where millions of people are streaming more than ever, Stranger Things quickly became one of Netflix’s most popular shows. We recently had the opportunity to partner with the streaming giant to launch a fan engagement campaign around Stranger Things Day. We developed a collection of templates to enable fans to design and share across the major social media platforms whilst remaining strictly on brand with the unique aesthetic of the show. Collaborations like this, coupled with our deep integrations across newsrooms globally, allow media brands to stand out and build trust and connection with their audiences amid fierce competition.

Entertainment: Scaling the creative process

For many, visual storytelling means cinema. From Pulp Fiction to The Blair Witch Project and Memento, London’s Raindance Film Festival has been premiering cinematic classics for nearly three decades. This year, Europe’s biggest independent film festival had a different feel to it - because it's the first film festival to be designed entirely with Canva. The team at Raindance Film Festival were already big fans of Canva and their use of the platform accelerated throughout the pandemic. Our real-time collaboration functionality enabled them to remotely onboard creative agency ‘What is Bobo’ who were tasked with designing every creative asset for the festival with Canva. Raindance was able to manage the entire creative process at scale using Canva to collaborate and share ideas with the agency. Together, they created everything from the film titles and poster artwork, to programs, billboards, advertising and social media graphics.

We also brought the magic of Canva to the Edinburgh TV Festival, one of the most prestigious media events in the UK and across Europe. Front and centre of over 2,000 delegates and 200 of the industry's best speakers - including Whoopi Goldberg and Greta Thunberg - as the Official Digital Design Partner, Canva empowered their nimble in-house design team to create all the event's content and social assets for the week prior to, and the first week of, the festival. Think e-newsletters and web content, social media assets and more!

Tech: Bringing ideas to life

Building a startup is a rewarding but immensely challenging endeavour. As the tech industry continues to boom, most founders are always looking for a competitive edge. In a crowded market, they need a compelling story to stand out, and visual communication has emerged as a critical tool for success. We recently partnered with early-stage venture capital firm Antler to provide founders with the skills to elevate their brands, perfect their pitches and bring their ideas to life. We’ve also partnered with early-stage, sports and esports-focused venture capital firm, Stadia Ventures to empower their ecosystem of partners and startups to visually communicate. With close to 60 startups in Stadia’s portfolio, they’ll learn how to craft the perfect presentation to get everyone to rally behind their groundbreaking ideas. At Canva, we’ve been through the pitching process, and fortunately, we know a thing or two about how to make an impression that counts. We’re very excited to be supporting the next generation of innovative businesses that’ll drive a huge impact.

Creative: Unlocking creativity

At its heart, Canva is a tool for creatives and creativity. We’ve been empowering our community to unlock their creativity since the very beginning. One partnership that really excites us is our collaboration with Design & Art Direction (D&AD). As the official design partner for the 2022 D&AD New Blood Awards, the benchmark for creative excellence in design and advertising, we’re giving entrants access to Canva where they can make use of premium templates, fonts, videos and features to respond to briefs set by some of the world’s leading brands including Audible, BBC, Disney, Duolingo, Google Fonts, Netflix and Penguin.

Looking ahead to 2022

Our considered approach to forming partnerships has resulted in 2021 being a breakout year for Canva and our partnerships program. As we look ahead to 2022 and beyond, we’re continuing to partner with brands across industries to help them unlock creativity and communicate visually.

We’ve already had success with brands in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, but true to our mission to empower the world to design, we’re also excited to be exploring partnerships across Asia and South America. Stay tuned for more updates.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in partnering with us we’d love to chat. Drop us a line at [email protected]

Written by

Jonathan Harley

Jonathan leads Canva's strategic partnerships program, bringing the power of visual communication to leading brands across the globe.


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