Why we launched multi-use licenses for stock photography

We offer more than a million photos and vectors in our image library at Canva but until quite recently, there was only one way to buy the premium images (many are free).

What we have offered before was a One-Time Use license. This means you can buy an image contributed by a professional photographer for $US1 to use in your design. You can download the design as many times as you like in the 24 hours after the first time it’s downloaded.

This works for many of our users. But with time, many of our power users found they had established a core group of images they loved and used frequently, and so were often buying additional One-Time Use licenses for the same images.

We want people to sign into Canva and feel like they’ve come to a familiar creative place, like the armchair you sit in where you have your best ideas or the well equipped desk that helps you get your ideas down on the page (or screen!).

To do this, we needed to provide a way for people to build up their own collection of purchased images that they used frequently, and enable them to find the images instantly and use them whenever they wished rather than having to search for new images often.

So we recently announced a new kind of license on Canva and our first multi-use license. This kind of license is known as a Royalty Free license, but because we’re all about clarity we’ve called it our Multi-Use License.

The Multi-Use License is $US10, and it gives you the permission and opportunity to use it in as many Canva designs as you like, forever. They will live in a ‘Multi-Use’ folder in your Uploads tab so they will be easy to find swiftly.

I’ve been working on Canva’s marketplace of images since before we first launched the company over three years ago. The $US1 One-Time Use license is an awesome way of designing because it pushes you to keep seeking out fresh imagery and rethinking your design.

But I’m also excited about enabling people to build up their own folder of images they love and enjoy, and that suit their brand and their needs.

Why introduce the new licenses now?

At Canva, we have about the top ten percent of images offered by the really big stock photography agencies. But the pricing on those sites is extremely complicated because there are many ways to buy the same images: at a different resolution, with or without a range of credit packs etc etc

So we always wanted to keep it simple and add in more licenses as Canva’s capacity and our user base grew. At first, we offered only the US$1 One-Time Use license because it was the simplest to understand for our customers and also the simplest to implement for our engineers.

We know from observing and talking with our users that many people use the same image in their blog or website, and then want to create accompanying social graphics or brochures or similar using the same image.

We are excited to now be able to offer people the opportunity to create their own collection of images to use in Canva whenever they want to.

By marketplace director Lee Torrens

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