How Does Canva Make Money? Canva Business Model In A Nutshell

Canva is a graphic design platform renown for its simplicity and the fact that it is freely accessible to users. The platform follows a freemium model, where users are prompted to subscribe (Canva Pro) to get more features at $12.99/month. Other plans comprise Canva Enterprise ($30/month). Other services are Canva Print (allowing consumers to print a chosen design on physical material) and the Marketplace, where designs are sold at one-time, and Canva takes a cut of the sales.

Origin story

Canva is a graphic design service allowing users to create presentations, posters, logos, business cards, e-books, documents, and social media graphics. The company was founded in Sydney, Australia, by Melanie Perkins, Cliff Obrecht, and Cameron Adams in 2012.

It was Perkins in particular who provided the impetus for the formation of Canva. While studying at university, she noted that existing design platforms offered by Microsoft and Adobe were extremely difficult to use and also expensive. As a result, she set out to make design accessible to everyone – regardless of their skill, ability, or means.

To test the viability of her idea, she and Obrecht created an online school yearbook design company called Fusion Books. The service was an immediate success and exists to this day, but Perkins was intent on expanding the concept. In 2010, she was invited to pitch her idea to Silicon Valley investor Bill Tai.

Two years after her initial pitch, Canva secured the backing of major investors and a team of tech engineers to build the platform out.

Canva revenue generation

Canva is free to use, but the company has added several income streams over the years.

Here is a look at each.

Canva Pro

Canva Pro is a premium subscription plan packed with additional features for $12.99/month. The plan is aimed at graphic design professionals who need access to premium animations, fonts, and priority support.

Canva Enterprise

Canva charges $30/month for their Canva Enterprise plan. As the name suggests, this plan is perfect for large businesses who need to manage design teams, assign roles, create shared folders, and grant various access rights.

Educational institutions receive a discount on the plan, while non-profit organizations can access Enterprise features for free.

Canva Print

Canva Print allows consumers to print a chosen design on physical material. This may include business cards, postcards, flyers, invitations, or t-shirts.

Canva charges for this service according to the type of physical product, order volume, and country of residence. In some cases, customization requests will also attract an additional charge.


For those with no desire to sign up for the Enterprise or Pro plan, Canva charges a one-time fee for single usage of a premium design.

For every sale, Canva takes 35% and gives the remainder to the design creator. For content sold in the Pro subscription, creators receive 50% of the net revenue earned less taxes and payment processing fees.

Design school

Canva also offers a range of online and in-person classes relating to design, branding, and social media. Each is run and hosted by Canva employees with relevant expertise.

Online classes are offered for free while those conducted in person start from $5.

Key takeaways:

  • Canva is a graphic design platform that aims to level the playing field in design. It was created by Australian university students who recognized that existing design software was expensive and had a prohibitively steep learning curve.
  • Canva makes money through two subscription plans. Canva Pro is ideal for single users while Canva Enterprise is best suited to businesses that need to manage design teams.
  • Canva also drives revenue through a marketplace service, allowing users to purchase content as and when they require it. The company also makes money by printing designs onto physical items such as t-shirts, postcards, and business cards.

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