I'm Vini from the Slidebean Team. In this article, we’re gonna be looking at the Canva Pitch Deck used to pitch their company to investors.
For those of you who don’t know, Canva is a one-stop-shop for graphic design, with their eyes set on non-designer customers. It simplifies creating, and publishing many different documents that would otherwise have to be designed in word processors, or, really complex design tools.
Related article: Pitch Deck examples from successful startups
We love this company for many reasons. First, it was founded by an Australian woman named Melanie Perkins, and it’s always great to hear of a tech company led by women. Second, we feel we have a shared vision of bringing graphic design to non-designers.
Canva has become a true unicorn in the startup community, with more than 300 thousand paying customers worldwide. But the rise of Canva to unicorn status didn’t happen overnight, and it took its founders more than 4 years to even launch the first versions of the tool that we know today.
So with this in mind, let’s dig deep into Canva pitch deck. See what it can teach us, and how we reimagined their slides!
When it first started, Canva wasn’t named Canva. It started off as Fusion Books Online Publishing System. That’s a mouthful!
When doing my overview, the first thing I notice is that this presentation feels too dull. Like if it was for a highschool assignment instead of an investor pitch. It needs to be sooo much more visual, so much more engaging! After all, these guys are selling design, so the presentation has to reflect those values all the way through.
Part of the problem is that the original color scheme of their brand, which consisted only of black, green and white? Wasn’t a very rich palette to begin with. Brands should help you create instead of limiting you. If your brand colors feel too narrow, try adding complementary colors in order to add more variety to your slides.
Second thing I notice is the explanation of The Problem takes waaay too long. Around 5 or 6 slides to be more precise. The screenshots from the Google Docs promo video are really hard to understand when presented so small, and they only add noise to the slides.
If you want to use the resource of a user persona, meaning, telling a story from an imaginary user’s perspective who suffers the problem; it has to be a super compelling and clear story. These things usually work better in video format, so unless you want to go that route I would encourage you to explain this in a shorter, easier way. Always simplify The Problem as much as you can. They say sell the problem, not the solution.
The third thing that calls my attention is that there are virtually no images until slide 9. Literally at the very middle of Canva pitch deck! You need to throw a bone to people, and it needs to be way sooner than this. People tend to have pretty short attention spans, so make sure you capture their attention with a teaser during the first couple of slides.
Another thing to notice here is that when we finally reach The Solution slide, the image and copy are pretty underwhelming. A bolder image, with a more compelling tagline, would have generated a greater impact. Also, using a product mockup is in fact a great way to showcase your product, just make sure you make it a little more photo-realistic, and always with the latest version of the device in which it is shown.
Finally, many of the slides are too text-heavy, and, again, this is a graphic design pitch. The information needs to be either summarized or split in order to avoid clutter, and using more visual resources in order to highlight the story that is being told.
So after this revision, our changes list looks something like this:
I begin by creating a more compelling, edgy cover that feels a little more tech-related. I love using background images because they are hard to ignore, and a good quality photo can make your pitch deck shine from the very beginning. Depending on the content on the foreground, and the image itself, you may or may not require to increase the opacity of the background image in order to help improve readability.
I then took the liberty of splitting the summary slide, into several slides. The reason is that, while all of this information might be important, jamming it up into a single slide heavily compromises the importance of each section. I’ll never get tired of saying this: if there’s absolutely no way to summarize a text-heavy slide, at least split it into several ones in order to make the info more digestible. Your audience will appreciate it.
After this, I also took the liberty of creating a Problem slide, which tries to summarize the original 5 slides. I understand this is a risky move, but if you can’t explain a problem, or a solution, in a few words, this will get really complicated when pitching to investors. Believe me, we’ve been there!
I took some assets from Canva’s current website in order to create the Solution slide. This slide needs to be super compelling and Canva has obviously come a long way in terms of their visual output, so the new image works wonders. The new tagline is also so much cleaner. There’s a saying that if you can’t explain your solution in 7 words or less, you need to go back to the drawing board. Design anything, Publish everywhere.
Always include real images of your product when possible, or mockups if you don’t have real images yet. This validates the concept and helps viewers envision how your product works, and what kind of things you can do with it.
You’ll notice that I created a pretty playful color palette. I got some inspiration from Canva’s most recent branding, but this is something that I encourage you to do regardless. There’s some misconception that a professional presentation can’t use too many colors, but I don’t think this is true. A professional presentation can come in many shapes and colors. It is a matter of implementing them in a balanced and pleasant way.
Finally, I played around with several slide layouts in order the make the slides more dynamic. In some slides, a two-column layout works really well, especially when contrasted with a full bleed image. In others, I used a combination of rows and columns to create a more complex composition. Play around with this. Taking risks with the layout always pays off!
After I’m done with all this, I do a new revision of all my redesigned slides, and I see if anything needs some fine-tuning. I love how this redesign turned out. Canva is such a cool and fresh brand, it provides great inspiration to rethink some of their former work.
If you want to check this and other pitch deck redesigns, visit our Slidebean Pitch Deck Templates. And if there are any other presentations you would like us to review, let me know.