A design platform headquartered in Nottingham has been acquired by world leader Canva.

Affinity was founded as Serif in 1987 to develop a range of low-cost publishing and graphics software for PC before switching focus to a suite of apps for creative professionals using Mac, Windows and iPad. 

Affinity Designer, its first app, was released in 2014, followed by Affinity Photo and Affinity Publisher. 

Today Serif employs around 90 people in Nottingham working on its professional photo editing, illustration, graphic design and page layout product set. It has more than three million users around the world.

“Since the inception of Affinity, our mission has been to empower creatives with tools that unleash their full potential, fostering a community where innovation and artistry flourish,” said Ashley Hewson, CEO. 

“We’ve worked tirelessly to challenge the status quo, delivering professional-grade creative software that is both accessible and affordable. 

“Canva’s commitment to empowering everyone to create aligns perfectly with those values. We couldn’t be more excited about becoming part of the Canva family and can’t wait to see what we will achieve together.”

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Cloud design platform Canva, founded in 2013, is headquartered in Sydney and has more than 175m users across 190 countries. It says the acquisition of Affinity will see it expand into the professional design market.

“Visual communication is now ubiquitous in the workplace and investing in strategies that enhance our B2B offerings is core to the future of our business,” said Canva co-founder and COO Cliff Obrecht. 

“From sales and marketing, to brand and creative teams, the need to create effective and engaging visual content is on the rise. 

“The Affinity team comes with an incredible calibre of talent and technology and we’re delighted to welcome them to Canva as we enter our next phase together.”

Canva’s previous European acquisitions include Flourish (2022), Kaleido (2021), Smartmockups (2021), Pexels (2019) and Pixabay (2019). It opened its first European HQ last year in London.

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