Canva thinks you’re doing data visualization wrong

Canva thinks businesses are doing data wrong. And it’s rolling out a tool to fix that. 

The company has announced the launch of interactive data visualizations built right into the graphic design software. These are engaging data maps, charts, graphs that make things seem just that little bit clearer. Most users will have toyed with them on news sites like the BBC. Now, they can add them to their own photos, PDFs, and presentations.

The move follows the acquisition of UK data-viz platform Flourish, as the Aussie firm ramps up its Europe presence.

Data ≠ dull

Data is tricky to present – especially to an audience who may be unfamiliar or unengaged with the topic. An Excel-generated bar graph, faded and static, will struggle in a content-rich world. The death yawn of a thousand sales pitches and PowerPoint slides. The last sigh of a think-piece.

And while the company didn’t put it quite like that, it’s this thinking – that data needs to be like everything else: visual – driving the roll-out. So, there’s no excuse for making data boring. 

Users will already find standard charts and graphs on the platform – we’ve always found them somewhat basic and uninspired. But from today, users can embed Flourish visualizations into their designs. Users get access to native hierarchical treemap and packed circle charts straight from the app, with Canva promising “animated charts, zoom-able maps, explorable diagrams, and more.”

That Flourish is deepening integration into Canva will come as no surprise. It’s not the first by any measure, with the firm counting stock photo sites Pexels and Pixabay amongst its relatively recent acquisitions. Meanwhile, it’s been quietly building out the platform with a free PDF editor, website builder, and AI photo tools. 

Readers may spot a common thread among the acquisitions: they’re all European businesses. Then came the opening of its first European campus in London. It seems the continent is where Canva sees its growth potential, with the company calling it home to some of its “fastest growing and most densely populated markets.” Just don’t tell Adobe Express about Canva’s continental plans.  

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