Built in a day: Seven apps ideas from our Hackathon

How a Canva hackathon led to some amazing ideas.

‘You are not your user,’ is a basic tenet of designing and building a product.

Well, for the Ecosystem at Canva, we threw that rule out the window for 24 hours.

Our team got together in the Sydney office, and remotely from the US, New Zealand and around Australia to see what we could build in just one day.

Over 40 participants built 16 apps, and were challenged to push the boundaries of the platform, with AI integrations becoming a big theme of the day. They demoed their apps to an amazed audience, including Canva founders Mel, Cliff and Cam.

We can’t wait to show you some of the top stuff we built and inspire the type of apps you can create. Let’s go.

  1. Create marketing messages in a snap

    One of the apps built takes in facts about a person receiving congratulations or a birthday message, and generates some more creative and exciting copy. Ever struggled to create a snappy message about a product? An app like this could help users create more engaging text for their designs.

  2. Generate brochures with just a few questions

    This children’s book generator wowed the crowd. Just input the character details, the problem to solve, and the moral of the story, and the app generates a 10-page book complete with rhyming text and beautiful imagery. How many of our users would love an app to generate brochures or booklets for their needs?

    Childrens book generator at work!

  3. From photo to editable layers

    We know AI is crazy powerful, but did you know it could be used to split your image into its many layers? This app allows you to separate an image into its component parts as if you photographed them all separately. This means the people in the foreground, the mountains in the background, and even any embedded text can all be independently edited 🤯.

  4. Convert PNGs to editable SVGs

    We know designers are going to love this one. This vectorize app takes any image and transformed it into an SVG. No more blurry image edges. Bonus points for the fact that you could also recolor the new SVG!

  5. Make anything a frame

    Apps don’t have to be all about work. Our engineers like to play too. One engineer built an app that turns any text or font into a frame for photos. This app enables you to make each letter or a whole word the frame. Imagine how fun this would be for all brands out there too?

    The text to frame app doing what it does best

  6. Import 3D models

    We know Canva works in two dimensions. But what if you could get 50% more dimensions? The 3D import app built allows you to import 3D models and objects, preview the model, and select a view to add to your design. This would help people working on complex designs, such as teachers teaching anatomy or car manufacturers viewing engines, get a more accurate look.

  7. A better company catalog of headshots and team info

    Our internally-used Canvaworld app currently holds all of our headshots, so if you ever need someone’s photo, you can just search for them. But what if you need a whole team, or want to look at team history? The upgrades to this app do just that. Import a grid of your whole group into a design with one click! And bar charts? Make them pop by bringing in the headshots to demonstrate the tenure of the team. This visual data will help build all those internal presentations in a snap.

    The CanvaWorld app doing its thing

Feeling inspired?

The quality of apps our team was able to produce in just 24 hours was outstanding, and many of our internal teams are now asking when we can ship these apps.

While many of them were hacks, plenty of these types of apps can be built now! We know our dev community has the know-how to do it. We can’t see what you’ll build next.

More from the Developers Blog