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Canva report: AI and visual communication are booming

We surveyed more than 3,700 global business leaders on the drivers and impact of visual communication.

In a world where attention spans are fleeting and information overload is the norm, the power of visuals has emerged to simplify complex ideas and connect audiences like never before. From captivating presentations to engaging videos and compelling data visualizations, visuals have become the currency of communication, allowing organizations to cut through the noise.

We recently worked with Morning Consult to understand why and how global business leaders across sales, marketing, and HR are increasingly investing in visual communication platforms to drive growth and engagement and the role AI plays in elevating productivity and creativity.

Canva’s Visual Economy Report 2024 surveyed more than 3,700 business leaders from 12 countries, including the US, UK, Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea and India, to uncover why they’re leading with a visual-first approach.

We learned that 82% have used AI-powered tools to produce visual content in the past year, and 77% say communicating visually has increased business performance, whether it’s accelerating content creation, more engagement, or better collaboration.

Let’s dive deeper into our key findings.

Investments in visual communication platforms are rising

Business leaders globally are under increasing pressure to be more efficient while also finding new ways to innovate. That’s why 73% are investing more in visual communication platforms than the previous year. Enticed by the business benefits on offer, leaders across sales, HR and marketing are elevating visual content to increase outputs and stand out from the crowd. 90% of sales leaders surveyed said using visuals in collateral accelerated sales cycles. Similarly, 89% of HR leaders shared that using visuals in the recruitment process shortened hiring cycles.

As organizations look to unlock the efficiencies of a visual-first approach, they’re deepening their commitment to Canva. There are more than 130,000 teams in companies with more than 1,000 employees, including brands like FedEx(opens in a new tab or window), Salesforce(opens in a new tab or window) and Expedia(opens in a new tab or window), supercharging their work with Canva.

AI is accelerating content outputs

The rapid rise of AI is revolutionizing the content creation process, empowering organizations to produce high-quality content at unprecedented speed and scale. 90% agree generative AI has improved the quality of visual communication. 73% also believe AI-powered tools are enhancing their team’s productivity. Marketers are turning to AI to create visual assets at scale, HR professionals are drafting onboarding guides, and sales reps are using AI to help craft the perfect sales script. This saves valuable time, allows them to put their energies into more meaningful areas, and lets the technology do the heavy lifting.

While generative AI tools are gaining widespread traction, some reservations about unintended consequences exist. The top concerns are copyright infringements (70%), accidentally sharing sensitive information (70%), and bias in content generated by AI (68%). These risks are top of mind for us, too. That’s why we developed Canva Shield(opens in a new tab or window), providing AI indemnification to eligible Canva Enterprise customers as well as robust trust, safety, and privacy controls to give teams peace of mind when creating content with Magic Studio(opens in a new tab or window), our end-to-end AI-powered design platform.

Democratizing design in the workplace

Our findings revealed that visual communication tools are used universally in all surveyed markets and are critical to facilitating communication, collaboration, and increasing efficiency. Whether you’re in marketing, internal communications, HR, or sales, the ability to build engaging presentations, visual documents, video, and more is now table stakes.

92% expect employees in non-design roles to possess at least some design acumen to be effective communicators. Consequently, 68% are now training those outside of design roles to meet a certain threshold of design competency. What was once considered a specialized skill has become foundational for all types of professionals, evidenced by the fact there are more than 1.7 million people who list Canva as a core skill on their LinkedIn profile – a number that’s grown 80% in the last 12 months.

At Canva, we believe design can supercharge workplaces around the world. Part of our own onboarding program includes a Canva Design School session where we educate new starters on the foundations of design literacy and visual communication. Our goal is to fuel creative confidence from the get-go so that communicating visually becomes second nature in how our team thinks, works, and collaborates.

Today, visual communication has become critical across every team, profession, and industry. This is why more than 185 million people and 90% of the Fortune 500 create, communicate, and collaborate with Canva each month. In this newfound visual economy, communicating visually is critical to how business leaders hire, market, and sell.

Interested in learning more? Dive into The Visual Economy Report 2024(opens in a new tab or window).

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