Canva buys Serif (who owns Affinity Designer)

I know there are some Affinity users here, thought you might find this interesting.


Interesting. Correct me if I misunderstand Canva but they seem like very different markets. Canva seems to be aimed at people who want turnkey template-based designs, an app-ified user experience. Affinity was seemingly trying to disrupt adobe.

I wonder what it’ll look like going forward and how it will affect the current trends toward groupthink and the increasingly swift path to copycat design language.


Yes…I got the email this morning and was going to post it as a point of interest, as well…for those who are interested. Glad you posted it.


kinda, but not really.

think of Canva as a competitor for Adobe Express.

and Affinity as a competitor for Illustrator.

So they’re acquiring a second direct competitor, and creating a pair of products that can work with each other.


Interesting. I’m not familiar with express.


adobe is driving express HARD with their users. i was at max last year and probably a full 1/4 of their sessions were based on express. and they’re releasing new features in express before the core apps sometimes. it’s a huge market for them, especially in the enterprise space.


Starting the countdown to Affinity becoming subscription software …


Ulp…I didn’t even think of that. I will hate that, but now am so immersed in Affinity that I’ll probably fall for it.


Adobe is trying hard to keep Canva from eating up all its lunch with Express. It’s a pretty nice product, but the kids (and I mean under 20s) ALL use and love Canva.

For a lot of people now, Adobe products are like using a jet engine to drive to the store. They want some text, they want an image, they want it in the right size for tiktok and IG. Don’t need 4 color separation and prepress features.


I think a lot of it comes down to what you’re trying to do. Canva is great for individuals, but for an enterprise, i definitely recommend express (and i’m working on moving our communications team from Canva to Express now). the key to express for the enterprise is that Express has access to Adobe’s creative cloud libraries. so we designers can create lots of assets, place them in libraries, and then non-designers can grab those library assets and pull them into their express projects. to me, that’s a killer app feature for enterprise. and those same libraries can be used in the core apps as well.


Yes, that’s a good step for them, I agree with you. Asset management is a major headache. I am from the old days, where a young crop of proto-designers learned the ropes on cracked software and then grew into corporate jobs that bought licenses. Those people are important for future growth. My daughter’s school gave her the full CC suite and it was like pulling teeth to get her to install it. Canva just provides everything. IMO Express is very very important for ADBE future.


i wish i had a free license.

adobe thinks express is their key, too. i was on a call with our rep today about how they’re modifying libraries (which, thankfully, is exactly what i’ve been asking them to do for 2 years), but they said (like so many other things) they’re going to implement everything in Express first, and then migrate to all the other apps.


From the announcement:

Canva’s business model is subscription, are there any plans to change how Affinity is sold?
There are no changes to our current pricing model planned at this time, with all our apps still available as a one-off purchase. Existing Affinity users will be able to continue to use your apps in perpetuity as they were originally purchased – with plenty of free updates to V2 still to look forward to!

Edited to add latest info:


“At this time”.

I think we all know it’s coming.


I think I’ve officially reached the Adobe old timer state. I pick up most new software quite easily, but Express totally puzzles me.

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One can either take their pledges to the community at face value or choose to disbelieve right up front.

I choose to believe them, as Serif has yet to go back on any promises (to my knowledge), plus life is just too @#$! short to assume everyone is lying about everything. ¯\(ツ)

YMMV of course.



It’s not that they are lying.

That sounds like a typical response with plenty of wiggle room. They are not announcing changes “at this time.” They are aware they can’t claw back the single-payment perpetual use licenses they have already sold. They will leave the licensing model for version 2 of their product as it is. We’ll see how quickly they announce version 3 with a new licensing model and, stop updating version 2.

Unmaintained software will eventually become unusable and, there are things they can do to make eventually come sooner.

There is a long list of examples of exactly this happening available.

They may realize that’s part of Affinity’s appeal over Adobe’s suite. So, who knows?

I’m not trying to make anyone feel bad for using or continuing to use Affinity, even if future versions require a subscription.


I don’t assume everyone is lying all the time, I just know the market forces at play here. Canva’s business model is subscriptions, at some point they’re going to want to unify their offerings. It seems extremely likely to me that they’ll convert affinity to subscription model or roll it into other products and start fresh.

Time will tell. This may play out over the course of years but my strong feeling is that they’ll want to get recurring revenue out of the users. Just look at glowforge’s clumsy path to try to force subscription, the 100kb limit on aura (and presumably spark) users is exactly what @evermorian and I are talking about… turning the screw to prod subscriptions.

All the confirmation I need — the market lives and dies on revenue streams:

Canva, the popular design platform that has taken the world by storm, is not currently publicly traded. However, that may be changing soon. According to CEO Melanie Perkins, the company is planning to become publicly traded in the near future.

“We’re very much focused on IPO-ing the business,” Perkins said in an interview with the Australian Financial Review. “It’s something that’s on the agenda for the future.”



I just don’t see the wiggle room in “will always.” ¯\(ツ)


Will always be offered. Doesn’t mean it’ll be the same.

“Sorry the pricing has changed and the single user license is now $699. That’s the fair price.”

“Oops we got bought by a third party, new terms.”

“The economy has changed and the business model is no longer sustainable. It pains us but we have to change…”

Tell me you’ve never heard versions of these things. Adobe. Sketchup. Fusion 360. Glowforge. This may be their best intention at this point but they wouldn’t be the first company to do major changes to their business model following an acquisition and they definitely wouldn’t be the last.

I’m just saying that I would take it all with a grain of salt. Things re:pricing may not change for a long time but they’re almost certainly going to change — they just got bought, after all. What would be the point of getting bought up if there weren’t changes to come?