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Exclusive: Canva’s CEO Melanie Perkins is Redefining Design on Web

Design is crucial to content but scares a lot of people. A web startup aims to make the process easier and friendlier

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If you’ve fiddled with designing and experimented with Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, you may understand the struggle of learning these complex tools. But, now there’s a clean and simple online tool to help you design – Canva.

I sat down to chat with Melanie Perkins, Founder and CEO and Zach Kitschke, Communications Head to understand Canva, their inspiration, and what’s in store for India.

Design is crucial to content but scares a lot of people. A web startup aims to make the process easier and friendlier

Aaqib Raza Khan (ARK): It’s been 738 days since you launched, what’s the entrepreneurial journey been like?
Melanie Perkins (MP): We’ve just begun to scratch the surface. We’re pretty excited about taking Canva to more and more people.

ARK: The interface is quite minimal, with very basic tools.
MP: We wanted to enable everyone to design their own stuff. Canva wants to be a one-stop portal for your multiple design needs. People spend years learning tools like Photoshop and Illustrator, but you can get going with Canva in the first 5 minutes.

Design is crucial to content but scares a lot of people. A web startup aims to make the process easier and friendlier

ARK: How did you convince Guy Kawasaki to join you?
MP: It wasn’t very difficult. Guy was already using Canva. One day he happened to share a design on social media, and Cliff (Canva’s co-founder) dropped him a message asking him if he’s available to chat. Guy replied, “Yeah”, and then we met and got him on-board, where he resurrected the title of Chief Evangelist after his stint at Apple.

ARK: Guy said somewhere that Canva wishes to “democratise design”. What does that mean?
MP: We want to make design less tedious so people can create and also collaborate. We’ve just released Canva for Work, which is a nifty tool for workplaces with a greater scope for collaboration and more flexible tools.

ARK: What role has social media played in pushing the value of design?
MP: Immense! The content is much more visual now. A lot of the people are designing their Facebook and Twitter cover images on Canva. A good design attracts a lot more attention, and in the growing media space, it’s crucial to stand out.

ARK: Canva is a good entrepreneurial case study. What’s your advice for Indian entrepreneurs?
MP: India has an excellent entrepreneurial vibe. The people are friendly and warm, and always eager to experiment. We have many Indians working with us and I believe there’s immense potential.

Design is crucial to content but scares a lot of people. A web startup aims to make the process easier and friendlier

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Topics:  interview   Design   Entrepreneur 

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