Recently, I had the opportunity to attend Canva Create as a part of Third Street’s education stipend program. Canva Create is a conference hosted by the online graphic design leader, that touted more than 3,500 in-person attendees and more than 2.5 million people online. As it was the first time the conference was being held in person in the United States – and being an avid Canva Pro user – I knew this was an opportunity I wanted to take advantage of.  

As a creative, I always use Canva for different projects that I am working on. I knew I would get a great deal of knowledge from this convention and the opportunity to hear from the brilliant minds behind one of my favorite design platforms. (And I have to say…this experience certainly lived up to the hype!)

Right Out of the Gate

I was immediately met with a one-of-a-kind welcome from the moment I arrived. As soon as I arrived, I was greeted with interactive Canva booths and was able to begin trying out new features while asking questions about the changes that were coming. I also met with Canva Consultants about ways we can leverage Canva in a greater way, no matter our industry. It was great to be fully immersed in the design world, and it helped me prepare for the rigorous breakout sessions and keynote speakers scheduled for the day.  

My Favorite Part…

Aside from the incredibly engaging activations and keynote sessions, my favorite part of Canva Create was getting the opportunity to connect with other Canvanauts (a new term I learned was coined to describe Canva enthusiasts) to hear the many ways they are using Canva in the work they are doing. Through these breakout sessions and the conversations I was able to have, I discovered ways we at Third Street Digital can leverage Canva in nearly every area of work we do. Through my discussions, I found that – despite using Canva daily – I severely underutilize the platform.  

Underutilized Tools and New Features

Through a session I attended, I discovered I could utilize the new Magic Write AI tool to help curate the messaging I develop for graphics for our clients. While no A/I technology will replace the unique tone and deep brand understanding I bring to my copywriting, I also love the ability to get other variations of my verbiage to determine which one fits the content best. Before attending Canva Create, I was aware of this tool, but what the sessions explained was that it could be taught and grow smarter about a brand’s tone and voice when my prompts contain specific brand guidelines and feedback that I provide. This unique feature is a game changer, as many A/I tools lack this capability. With my new understanding of Canva’s A/I tools, I am excited to explore its capabilities even more to it can enhance my work efficiency and quality.

Another critical takeaway from Canva Create was their resources for presentations. The team at Canva has done an immense amount of research on ways to improve proposal impact and conversion rates, and they have developed several in-app tools and templates specific to marketing presentations as a result. As they explained the features, I recognized the opportunity to connect with our new business team on how we could utilize these new features to make a lasting impact.  

A new marketing feature that was a definitely highlight was the capability to record your presentations directly in the app. This feature is perfect for virtual proposals or reporting – when you would typically be voicing-over the concepts, results or ideas within a slide deck – because it seamlessly enables your actual presentation (along with the deck) to be shared internally. I can only imagine how much gets lost in translation when marketing departments try to recap their meetings with other stakeholders, so it is great to have a tool to help us circumvent the issue.  

I’ll Be Back…And For Good Reason!

When reflecting back on my experience, Canva Create helped me identify at least 20 new ways our team can better (and more efficiently) use Canva. It felt great to be able to bring this knowledge back to my team to discover additional ways we can use the platform to enhance the work we’re producing for our clients. It’s also exciting because 2024 marks Canva’s tenth year, and is serving as the test year for the Canva 2.0 upgrade. That said, I’m sure that next year there will be even more new features for us to test an learn. (It is safe to say I will be attending Canva Create in 2025!) I look forward to the opportunity of this experience again…and next year, I will be able to attend with a few of my Third Street Digital teammates so that we can bring home even more ways to leverage Canva across various areas of our agency – even beyond creative.