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Canva Website Clone Development

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Alexander Safonov
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Canva is a graphic design platform used to edit photos, create graphics, presentations, emojis, stickers, animation, and other visual content for advertising and posts on social networks. Later, we’ll tell you how to develop a Canva clone — a web platform with similar functionality and design.

Step 1: Definition of a concept

At this stage, you should get a clear understanding of what exact product you intend to develop, what goal you’re going to achieve and what target audience you’re going to attract with its help. Decisions, which you are making during this process, will define how all other development stages will be taking place.

Here is what you should think about when launching your project:

  • Project description. Describe your project in general starting with the functionality and ending with a unique value, which you can provide the potential users with. Besides, you also need to create a brief description of the environment that your project will exist in.
  • Main and secondary objectives. These should be relatively simple, achievable, and, most importantly, measurable goals. When developing a Canva clone such goals can be the number of unique visitors per month, number of paid subscribers, profit. Clear objectives will make it possible for the development team to focus on what is about to have the biggest positive influence on the achievement of these goals.
  • Project’s audience. In the case of the creation of a Canva clone, it’s people, who need to edit a photo, create a presentation, or another visual content easily and quickly. Besides, sometimes the target audience is also potential investors, who can finance the development.
  • Attraction. What things motivate users to use the platform that you created? What brand advantages will help to single it out among the competitors including the original (Canva)? What is going to make people subscribe and buy graphics (templates of posts, fonts, etc.)?
  • Competitors. What websites and apps offer your target audience similar opportunities to create graphics and edit photos? Do a review of competing platforms considering their functionality, strengths and weaknesses, visual branding, and cost of services.

Step 2: Development of a sitemap and a wireframe

At this stage, a UX designer creates a sitemap — a schematic representation of all screens and transitions between them. This scheme makes it possible to see user flows, whether it’s a search robot or a human, and optimize them to a minimum number of clicks or other interactions with the website interface.

How to Develop a Website like Canva?

An example of how a book store sitemap may look like. Source

A sitemap provides web developers with the possibility to understand how an internal architecture (from what and to what page you can go) will look like. Threat the sitemap doesn’t show how the design of site screens will look like or what color scheme or typography will be there.

A wireframe is a schematic representation of the appearance of the website, which is being created, where most elements are presented as blocks. Due to the wireframe, a web developer and a client can understand what the user interface of the platform will contain and how these elements will be placed and where.

How to Develop a Website like Canva?

An example of a website wireframe. Source

Step 3: design development of a Canva clone

At this development stage, designers create all graphic content such as background, logos, buttons, animation, pictograms, videos, and the like. A color scheme, a set of fonts, and typographics are being determined. This choice is made on the basis of the niche and target audience’s preferences, i.e. data, which were collected at the stage of definition of the concept of the web platform, which is being created.

All that is being brought together in the mockup (or a page template). Mockup is a static representation of a fully completed design of a website interface in the form that the ordinary platform visitors will see it in. The purpose of the creation of a mockup is the demonstration of the navigation structure, completed website design, and its contents to the client and the target audience.

How to Develop a Website like Canva?

Comparison of wireframe and mockup using the example of the National Geographic website. Source

Client and target audience point out what they liked and what raised questions or negative reactions. This information is then used to improve the platform. After that, a new mockup is created, which is shown to the client and the focus group again. This cycle has to be repeated until both client and users are fully satisfied with the created mockup of a Canva clone.

Once everybody is satisfied with the mockup, the website prototype is usually created. That’s basically an interactive mockup, where all animations, transitions, videos, and links are working, but the website features aren’t. Due to the prototype, you can understand how the site will look like and how the end users are going to use it, which in its turn will allow receiving more accurate feedback.

How to Develop a Website like Canva?

The difference between wireframes, mock-ups, and prototypes. Source

Step 4: text writing and compilation

Writing and compilation of textual content usually go hand in hand with other stages of website creation. Home page and advertising texts should outline a concept of your site by text (what platform is it and what a user can do with its help) and its main advantages in comparison with the competitors. You also have to create a textual website design: names and descriptions of all icons, sections, features, and elements of an editor – starting with tools and ending with templates of figures.

Copywriters and editors write texts. Thereat subject matter copywriters should write the text for the interface of the editor (and apps). An ordinary copywriter (with the involvement of an editor, proofreader, and a market specialist) can write text for a home page, email messages, and advertisements.

Step 5: Development of a Canva clone

Once you’ve determined a concept, architecture, and design, you can start coding a Canva clone. Usually, when developing websites they create the main page and then add all other pages to it according to a sitemap. Then developers implement CMS, various frameworks, and image editor – the main component of such online platforms as Canva. After that, you need to add interactivity and website functionality.

While you can create front-end (website pages) with the help of website builders or WordPress, which cheapens and accelerates the development, you can create an image editor and some other important features of a Canva clone only with custom development. And you should entrust it not to a freelancer but a development company because an image editor is a too sophisticated software for an individual to develop.

Development company

This article describes in detail where to look and what things to pay attention to when choosing a technical partner: «Choose a custom erp software development company».

The approximate composition of a development team:

  • Business analyst.
  • Project manager.
  • 1 or 2 UI/UX designers.
  • 1 or 2 front-end developers.
  • 1 or 2 back-end developers.
  • 1 or 2 QA specialists.

Tech stack

  • Mobile SDK — Android or iOS.
  • Real-time Analytics — big data, Google Analytics, Hadoop.
  • Back-end development — Node.js, Python, Java, PHP, and Ruby on Rails.
  • Website front-end — Angular.JS, React.JS, Backbone, and Ember.
  • Location tracking — Google Maps and Apple Maps.
  • Payment integration — PayPal, Stripe, Braintree, Internet banking.
  • Notifications — Push.IO, Twilio, Amazon SNS, Map, AdPushup.
  • Cloud storage — Google Cloud Storage, Amazon Cloud Storage.
  • Databases — Cassandra, MySQL, MongoDB, HBase.
  • QR codes scanning — ZBar bar code reader.
  • Support and sales — AppCues, Clearbit Connect, Elevio, GetFeedback.
  • Analysis — Amplitude, Google Analytics, Heap, Mixpanel, Optimizely, VWO.
  • Performance and operations — dmarcian, G Suite.
  • Messaging — Twilio, Firebase.
  • Marketing — Mailgun, Mandrill, Segment.
  • HR — AngelList Jobs, Lever.

Features of a Canva clone

Account creation. All image editors urge the users to sign up and create an account, which is necessary to keep website activity and personalization. On Canva you sign up via email and accounts on Google, Facebook, and Apple.

Integration with social networks. It’s needed in two respects:

  • Simplified registration procedure. It spares the users the need to input registration and personal data by hand because all necessary data can be easily pulled in from accounts on social networks.
  • Possibility to share the created graphics and photos on the social network. For the most part, the main goal of image creation and photo editing is posting them on Facebook or Instagram. Integration of a Canva clone with these platforms will allow sharing graphics in one click.
Integration with a camera. Provide your users with the possibility to take pictures right from the app and download them instantly in the editor for further correction. It will require access to a web camera and a smartphone camera. It would be nice to add a possibility to see how a photo will look like (with an effect) before it’s taken.

Image loading. Aside from the opportunity to take photos, users should have the possibility to upload images from their devices and various external platforms like Instagram, Discord, Twitter, Google Drive, or Dropbox.

Photo editor. It’s obvious that after an image is uploaded, a user will edit it. Here’s what you can do with it:

  • Image editing: image crop, filters, improvements.
  • Custom templates: to simplify and accelerate the post creation on the most popular social networks, email messages, banners, logos, etc.
  • Catalog of images: search for stock images and photos for background and inserts, animation, infographics, icons, buttons, clip arts, symbols, emojis, etc.
  • Adding your graphics: save your images, videos, and photos in the editor to use them when creating new graphics.
  • Uploading mockups in different formats: Canva allows uploading files in the majority of popular formats including JPG, PNG, PDF, and PDF.
  • Collaborative image editing: engage your friends, colleagues, or family members to work together on photos, presentations, etc.
  • Teamwork on projects: combine users into groups and give them tasks to work together on your projects.
  • The planner of posts on social networks: use a Canva clone to make a calendar of automatic posts on social networks.
  • Creation of websites, prototypes, presentations, banners, etc.
Album creation. Albums are needed for the more convenient search for images saved on the website. Don’t forget to implement the possibility to make albums public or private and implement the feature of album sharing on social networks.

Unusual filters. Many apps for image editing became popular due to their unique filters. For instance, Prisma, which turns photos into real paintings. Let us mention Deep Nostalgia, which animates old photos, or Remove.bg, which removes the background from the photos in one click.

Possibility to create stickers, gifs, emojis. You can also implement the possibility to create your own bright stickers and animated images from your photos. What could be cooler than emojis from the photos of your classmates, colleagues, or family members?

Inspiration. You can also follow VSCO’s lead to create a special section for users’ inspiration for new creativity. In this section, you can show beautiful pictures, photos, stickers, presentations, and other graphics created by your site’s graphics editor.

Website settings. In this section, a user is able to customize the website interface and specify his preferences related to the work in the editor: default template, project storage space, saved templates, and the like. Instructions on licenses, guides for photo editing, data display settings, posting images on social networks can be added.

Chat communication. There’s no point in making something like Instagram out of your Canva clone, but added possibilities of communication between users might come in handy especially if your image editor has the possibility of collaborative work on projects. In addition, it will be useful to add the possibility to comment on other people’s work and rate it if this work is public.

Gamification. All popular photo editors make the process of image correction a sort of a thrilling game hereby involving users in closer cooperation. For example, you can turn photo editing into a game to participate in «a competition of the day» and gain votes from other users.

The development cost of a Canva clone

How to Develop a Website like Canva?


Canva Website Clone Development key takeaways:

#1. Step 1: Definition of a concept
#2. Step 2: Development of a sitemap and a wireframe
#3. Step 3: design development of a Canva clone
#4. Step 4: text writing and compilation
#5. Step 5: Development of a Canva clone
#6. Development company
#7. Tech stack
#8. Features of a Canva clone
#9. The development cost of a Canva clone

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Alexander Safonov
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