Sydney, Australia – Global visual communications platform Canva has unveiled new suite of workplace products to empower anyone to communicate visually, on any device, from anywhere in the world. The new products were announced during Canva’s latest global event, ‘Canva Create Conference’.

The new workplace product suite includes ‘Docs’, which makes traditional text documents more visually appealing, while also including key collaboration features like comments and real time collaboration; ‘Websites’, which has responsive professional-level website templates, customizable domains and adjustable page heights; ‘Whiteboards’, which comes with a range of features designed for brainstorming and team collaboration, from sticky notes to images and diagrams; and ‘Flourish’, which makes it possible to turn dense data and statistics into simple, clear and easy to understand interactive data visualisations.

Other products include ‘Video Background Remover’, ‘Remote Control for Presentations’ and an expansion of its ‘Print’ feature, which allows anyone can print more than 35 products through Canva Print and have it delivered to their doorstep in record time. This includes everything from invitations to flyers, photo books and hoodies, mugs posters, and much more.

Melanie Perkins, co-founder and CEO at Canva, said, “Visual communication is becoming an increasingly critical skill for teams of every size across almost every industry. It has been incredible to see the continued growth of Canva over the last few years, as more and more people embrace the power of visual communication to unlock their creativity and achieve their goals.” 

She added, “With the launch of our new Visual Worksuite, we’re bringing simple design products to the workplace to empower every employee, at every organisation and on every device.”

Canva’s new visual worksuite comes as the company marks the milestone of more than 85 million global users. As enterprise usage soars throughout a variety of professions and industries, Canva is rapidly becoming the design platform of choice in the workplace.

Singapore – Creative digital production house Shuttlerock has announced its latest initiative called ‘Creative For Good’ which invites non-government organisations to use their creative productions services for free as part of their long-term social impact strategy.

Said initiative was first catalysed into existence by Shuttlerock’s commitment to the ‘Pledge 1%’ movement, where companies donate 1% of their time, product, profit and/or equity in an effort to support and accelerate the progress of mission-driven organisations.

The production house aims to equip them with the digital creative and marketing knowledge they need to gain traction in their online fundraising, volunteer recruitment and awareness efforts. By offering up creative services at no cost, NGOs are able to gain access to the same world-class technology and services as leading enterprises.

Jonny Hendriksen, CEO and founder at Shuttlerock, said, “I’m so proud that we’ve grown Shuttlerock to a place where we can start giving back to our people, our communities and our planet. ‘Creative For Good’ is the first step in our long-term commitment to driving positive change.”

He added, “We deliver impactful video creative to the world’s biggest brands every day. It’s time we extend that success to those who are focused on making the world a better place: to those promoting equality, tackling climate change, enhancing sustainability and improving our communities.”

In addition, Shuttlerock will be donating 1% of its product and 1% of its time as part of the program’s dual offering: the Creative Accelerator arm, which offers three months of free access to Shuttlerock’s CaaS (Creative As A Service) cloud solution. 

Furthermore, NGOs will be able to brief and order handcrafted video creative as well as have access to tutorials and other educational content designed to help marketers master the power of digital creative.

Singapore – Sneakers and apparel marketplace Ox Street has announced the launch of its Asia-focused experimental creative studio ‘OX Street Labs’, which will act as an incubator for up and coming Asian artists to co-create limited edition designs that are inspired by the region’s culture. 

OX Street Labs will work with a selected group of SouthEast Asian designers who are radically changing the narrative for fashion-forward Asian consumers, and will give Asian artists a voice and platform to share their designs. The studio will spearhead regional Asian collaborations, made by local designers from Bangkok to Manila. 

“From the very beginning, our intention with Ox Street was to champion Southeast Asia as the future centerpoint of culture, and disrupt the global fashion marketplace. Southeast Asia is underrepresented in the global creative sphere, and with Ox Street Labs we continue to forge a path to more global recognition of local street cultures,” said Gijs Verheijke, founder and CEO of Ox Street.

The creative studio’s launch comes in response to the opportunity of showcasing unique brand collaborations against well-known Western apparel collections such as The Ben & Jerry Dunks Nike and Off White as well as recently the MSCHF x Satan Nike Air Max.

“Local artists and creative concepts from this region don’t always get the recognition they deserve. Ox Street Labs means we can help Asian designers build their artistic platform faster,” Verheijke added.

First edition Ox Street Labs 2021 releases include the Sheng Shiong x Nike Dunk SB, the NDP x Air Jordan 1 ‘No. 4 Camo’, and the Songkran x Nike Dunk High. These limited editions are one of ones, and can be commissioned with Ox Street Labs.

Ox Street has recently expanded its Southeast Asia presence, notably in the Philippines and Malaysia last February this year.

Sydney, Australia – Online design company DesignCrowd, headquartered in Australia, has just announced a fundraise of A$10M to help drive the growth of its new product BrandCrowd. The round is pre-IPO fundraising, taking the company’s total capital raised to over A$22m.

DesignCrowd, which was founded in 2007, helps businesses crowdsource graphic, logo, and web design from designers around the world. Its new platform BrandCrowd is a foray into the DIY design market, enabling entrepreneurs and small business owners create their needed logo designs and other related designs, such as business cards and social media materials. 

The new capital will primarily be used to invest in product development and marketing of both of the platforms, and to expand both of its teams.

Alec Lynch, founder and CEO of DesignCrowd, said that online DIY design is a large, global, and fast-growing market, and the BrandCrowd platform has allowed it to successfully expand to the market. 

“Over the last 2 years, BrandCrowd has driven significant revenue growth for us which continued last year despite the global pandemic. BrandCrowd has also allowed us to develop a subscription business model for the first time to sit alongside our existing DesignCrowd marketplace business,” said Lynch.

Manila, Philippines – User Experience Philippines (UXPH), a local-based non-profit organization that provides connections and resources to the local design community, has recently concluded its annual conference held online on November 14 and 15. 

The event was attended primarily by attendees from various sectors, ranging from UX/UI designers by profession, students, SME founders, and media practitioners.

Opened up formally by Aldrich Tan, UXPH’s managing director and CEO/co-founder of digital banking suite NextPay, Tan stated that the prime focus of the convention is to stress on the importance of collaboration and community in the design community.

“Our mission is to grow and nurture the Filipino creative community through sharing and collaboration, and raise the design standards and practices within our country; to help uplift the lives of our society. We envision an empowered culture where products and services are built mindfully and sustainably,” Tan noted.

The event was also graced with a short message from Design Center of the Philippines’ executive director Maria Rita Matute, in which she stressed the importance of designers as leaders of change.

“We as designers are called to lead the change for the better. It is time we show how we can use design and design thinking to pave the way forward, not simply towards a new normal but a better normal, a better forward, but we cannot do it as individuals [for] we are stronger together,” Matute stated.

Designers towards change and transformation

One of the prime topics being focused on in this conference is the importance of user interface and design towards change, breaking the norm, and moving towards the 21st century.

“Designers have the responsibility to share the skill that we have—this gift that we have to more people because ultimately what we, our skill as designers it’s not just to create change, it is to enable change,” Daisuke Yukita, senior interaction designer at IDEO Tokyo, a global design firm.

Yukita stressed in his talk titled “Designers as Enablers of Change”, that there are four points to note that design creates change:

  • compelling content that creates emotional impact 
  • tangible prototypes that generates momentum
  • authentic voices from users that propels decision making
  • unlock the creative potential of the people that we work with

On the other hand, Lisa Gokongwei-Cheng, SVP for digital transformation and corporate services at JG Summit, stressed the importance of digital transformation amongst businesses, whether a small-medium enterprise (SME) or a traditional conglomerate company.

“[Digital] transformation is not an end state, it’s a journey. We keep iterating our operational model as we learn. In a few months, we probably will learn a few more things, or realize that some of these [are] wrong. The point is to keep pivoting,” Cheng stated in her talk titled “Lessons in Digital Transformation in a Corporate Setting.”

Accessibility and democratization: the future of UX/UI

While UX/UI have strived over the years providing accessible interfaces to many products and services both in the physical and the digital world, there is still room for improvement of such prototypes that describes both practicality and futurism.

Julian Charles Serrano, an accessibility consultant at Catalyst International, discussed keystones of web accessibility which includes usage of accessibility guidelines, accessibility training, and testing or auditing.

“When you make your content accessible, you’re going to show everybody that you took your time to understand the needs of people with disabilities, and provide them with content that they need,” Serrano stated, stressing that blind and deaf people often rely with tools such as magnifying tools and text-to-speech reader to understand online content.

On another realm, Phil Balagtas, experience design director at McKinsey Design notes that the future fares better for the UX/UI world as digital transformation strategies have helped device new services such as AI-oriented vending machines or prototypes of modern-design PPEs and face masks.

“There is no one future: there are multiple futures and multiple possibilities that could arrive. Once we are able to map out those possibilities, we could prepare for different types of scenarios. We could use these to plan out our next agenda for today.”

Other speakers of the convention came from companies like Dropbox, Tokopedia, Eskwelabs, Shopify, IBM, and scores of others.

MARKETECH APAC is an official media partner at the UXPH Conference 2020: Designers as Navigators of Change, which was held from November 14 to 15, 2020.