This of course is the 800 lb. gorilla topic this week in the design world. The news came as a complete shock to Affinity users, prompting discussion and speculation.

My own first reaction was …What?!? but when I read the press release it made at least a little sense. Both have a mission to make design accessible to more people.

Canva’s mission has been to make design easy for non-designers. Affinity’s has been to make it accessible via offering designers an affordable alternative to Adobe.

According to the announcement, Canva approached Affinity and after that, things fell into place quickly.

Affinity users main concern is that Canva will convert Affinity to a subscription product (as Canva already is). Both companies deny any plans for that. Of course that can change down the road.

If the product becomes subscription, many users will likely be upset, as not having to pay a subscription fee was a big part of the appeal of Affinity, which is still less feature rich than their Adobe counterparts.

AdobeWhat it DoesAffinity Equivalent
PhotoshopPhoto editing & compositingPhoto
IllustratorVector graphics & illustrationDesigner
InDesignDesktop publishingPublisher

On the plus side, Canva has scaled to be a billion dollar corporation in roughly a decade. That kind of capital might just be what is needed to scale Affinity features more rapidly.

While Adobe users can purchase Photoshop + Lightroom for about $10 a month, the full Creative Cloud is up to $60 a month. This includes not only the above design apps, but audio, video, and effects, full access to their AI generator Firefly, full featured use of their Canva competitor Adobe Express, and the capability of working on projects from multiple computers via their cloud storage and Bridge.

For some who have content creation needs that span audio, video, and visual this is still a good deal for professional level software. For a lot of people though, it is more than they will ever need or use.

Canva has made great strides in adding new features to their web based app. There is AI generation, bulk import features, storage, and simple video creation.

If you pair Canva with Affinity, you come closer to having all the features a content creator might need at not only a lower cost, but with a smaller learning curve (especially for Canva).

When you consider that, this acquisition helps both companies turn the heat up on Adobe.

Version 3 in beta

Tied to the acquisition announcement was mention of the next version of Affinity suite being in beta.

Affinity users, already feeling somewhat burned by having to re-purchase the software when version 2 was released in late 2022, were quick to notice that mention and speculate whether that would also need to be a new purchase.

Here is where I hope that some change will occur. Having to pay to upgrade to the latest version of software is common, but having to pay the same price for new releases as new customers is unusual.

I hope that with a shorter time frame between V2 and V3 than there was with V1 to V2 (which was at least 4 years after the last app of the suite, Publisher, was released) Affinity will adopt this approach and give their current customers a discount to upgrade rather than make us buy it all over again.

After taking a few days to process the news, I believe this will be a positive thing moving forward. As a user of both apps I am excited to see what the future brings.

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