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Canva, a leading DIY graphic design platform, has undertaken a rapid integration of generative AI capabilities over the past year to automate and enhance creative workflows for its users. Named Fast Company’s 2023 Design Company of the Year, Canva provides a timely case study into how companies can strategically deploy AI to transform user experience and unlock new levels of accessibility and creativity.

Embedding AI Over the Long-Term

Rather than an overnight shift, Canva’s AI integration has been a multi-year strategy in the making. Early efforts 6 years ago focused first on using machine learning to provide personalized design recommendations from users’ own portfolios. The acquisition of AI background removal startup Kaleido in 2021 marked a pivotal milestone, with the feature becoming wildly popular among Canva’s 100+ million monthly users.

This long runway allowed Canva to judiciously assess user needs, fine-tune AI models, and lay the data infrastructure required to embed cutting-edge generative AI responsibly across its workflows.

Transforming Core Workflows with Generative AI

At their 2021 product summit, Canva outlined a vision to establish AI as a creative “co-pilot” enhancing each stage of the design process. Powerful new generative capabilities now achieve this goal by radically reducing complex workflows for both professional and amateur users:

The Democratization of Design Continues

Underpinning moves like the Magic Design tool is Canva’s mission to democratize graphic design. By handling tedious, technical efforts behind the scenes, Canva’s AI augments users’ creativity rather than replaces it, allowing more people to produce professional visual content.

Early user feedback on its generative features has been overwhelmingly positive. Paired with the platform’s signature ease-of-use, Canva is reachings new audiences and expanding graphical literacy globally.


In leveraging generative AI’s unique strengths, Canva unlocked innovation across multiple facets of graphic design with speed and responsibility. Its tools showcase how AI and human creativity can combine to drive progress in democratizing creative skills and unlocking new visions. As adoption continues in 2023, Canva’s case will offer key insights for companies navigating their own AI journeys.