Figma is a design tool that is predominantly web-based with additional desktop applications for both MacOS and Windows. It is utilized as a prototyping tool and editor for vector graphics. It is quickly becoming a favorite among businesses and design teams because of its ease of use and tools for collaboration between designers and project managers. Figma is also very accessible for anyone in the company that wants to be involved, from CEOs to back-end engineers. This tool is easily learned by designers and non-designers alike, making it very appealing for the planning, designing, and execution of projects.
What exactly is Figma and who uses it? Figma is used in a plethora of fields. UX/UI designers, graphic designers, front-end web developers, DevOps engineers, product designers, web developers, and more can all utilize Figma to create a website, application, or product. Companies like DropBox, AirBnb, Kimberly-Clark, Zoom, Uber, GitHub, and Square all use Figma for everything from user workflow to website design
The history behind the program is an interesting one. Figma began as an idea by college students Dylan Field and Evan Wallace in 2011 who were looking for a more accessible and collaborative design process and prototyping tool. Through a fellowship opportunity and multiple supportive investors, the two were able to make their vision come alive. It was released to the public in 2016 and expanded in 2019 when Figma launched, “The Figma Community,” where members can share their creations and resources for others in the community to use.
Figma’s popularity is increasing because it is easily accessible by users since it is web-based and used through the cloud. Collaboration can also happen in real-time and is simple to use. Projects are constantly saved while users work and version control is also available. Teammates working on a project can see what edits were made, make comments, and even revert to previous versions. Because team members no longer have to create strings of emails or utilize DropBox for project versions, collaboration is easy among designers and the most basic plan is free to use.
Figma also has an interconnected and active community that creates resources, additional tools, and illustrations that are open to use. Plugins are available to add styles, troubleshooting tools, design kits, and more to a design project.
The software can be used for a variety of graphic design tasks. Websites can be designed from start to finish. Figma is great for website design and wireframing. Companies can use the tools provided to design prototypes for usability testing. It can also be used for the interface design of mobile apps and creation of social media content and graphics.
One highly-regarded feature is that companies can create design systems whose components can be reused throughout the company. This allows for design consistency among projects within a company. Most notably, whatever the use, key players involved in all aspects of the design development can communicate and see progress being made.
Figma also now has an online interactive white board called “Figjam” which allows for easier brainstorming among design teams. Users can participate in “design jams,” workshops, and use sticky notes to collaborate on projects. Figjam has a variety of templates such as user flow templates, mind maps, and more that are created as resources by the Figma community.
If you already have a background in design, or are an independent learner, Figma’s website offers multiple resources for learning the design platform. The Figma community is also a great resource to use when learning this program. Online companies like Design Lab offer free trial tutorials that will walk you through the basics of the program and allow paid versions so that you can dig deeper into lessons.
Looking for a more structured way to learn this program or are you looking to jump into a career in UX or UI Design and want to learn Figma? There are courses and tutorials that offer lessons specifically in Figma for careers such as UX Design, UX research, or UI design. Bootcamps are a great way to learn the skills required in both in-person and online formats. Many bootcamps for careers such as UX/UI Design offer instruction in Figma as part of their curriculum.