The Figma Story
Here's how Figma's CEO Dylan Field went from a computer science apprentice to the CEO of a $2 billion company that's competing with Sketch and Adobe
You know how hard it can be to quickly produce designs and deliver them for such a fast-moving internet-oriented world that we live in today. However, lucky for you, designers nowadays are spoilt for choice as new tools are coming up on a regular basis. One designing product that is worth mentioning is Figma.
What is Figma?
Figma, founded by Dylan Field in 2016, is a browser-based vector graphics editing tool that can be used for UI as well as UX designing while collaborating with teammates. It aims to give designers, of any skill, a chance to create and prototype their artwork rapidly, together with their co-members. Figma's mission is to make design accessible to everyone through its API.
Revolutionizing Aspect of Figma and Problems it Overcomes
It is well known that there are tons of graphic editors available, but despite the fact that designing is meant to be done collaboratively, most tools allow one person access only. Due to a lack of the uprising online collaboration technology in designing platforms, it had become difficult for designing heads to supervise their corresponding teams, and that's what Figma revolutionized.
Absence of a tool that allows online collaboration forces you to sit and spend hours together designing. The feasibility for you to check up on your teammates whenever and wherever doesn’t exist and that is the problem that Figma overcomes. Figma allows you to collaborate with your colleagues as you do in Google Drive - you can view and edit a design file online.
“We saw that even though the design is inherently collaborative, popular design tools were single-player and offline at the time.” - Dylan Field, Founder of Figma
Who is Figma for?
Figma is for employees, designers, students, freelancers or anyone who is looking to showcase their creativity through virtual designing can use it. However, ideally, it's for social media and website owners, like you, who need a platform where you can design and animate to be able to get more traffic. Figma is especially advantageous for team projects, where collaboration is mandatory.
Small Enterprises need a graphic tool where the whole team can design together and large organizations need a platform where their expert designers can create eye-catching displays to promote their brand. Figma has many freelancers, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and large organizations as its users. Some big brands include Microsoft, Zoom, Deliveroo, Spotify, Uber, Dropbox and many more.
Top Case Studies
“I was really impressed with Figma’s support of real-time collaboration with multiple designers brainstorming and working on the same design.”- Shawn Lan, Head of Design at Zoom
Zoom is a top video calling application that is a great cloud-based tool for communication as it is user friendly and operational on all devices. It has a very small design team, with 1 designer to every 10 engineers, which meant that they needed a tool that would allow the designer to collaborate with the engineers as spending hours talking to each and every engineer was proving to be suboptimal. The Zoom design team was also having a problem because they were having to use disparate tools, inhibiting their workflow. They were using Sketch, Invision, Framer and Zeplin. Every time they changed the app, they were required to sync up all these files. “For a single project, we would push out revisions to the various tools 10 to 20 times and then had to manage reviews across multiple tools, versions, and stakeholders,” says Lan. They were wasting a lot of time that they could have used more productively. Steven Crosby, the designer was too irritated by the excessive number of tools he was having to use. While researching, he came across Figma and he was attracted by the speed. He didn’t have to spend hours changing apps as he could perform all he needed to in Figma, making his process so much faster. In less than no time, the whole design team recognized the power of Figma and so everyone started using it. Hurdling past this workflow obstacle really improved the overall design process and team. Zoom loved Figma to the extent that even their data science team began using it. Figma is still contributing to making Zoom’s designing sector better, keeping their mission sharp in their minds.
How to use Figma?
Watch this playlist and have a look at this guide by Figma to get an overview of how it works and how you can optimize it to make great designs!
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Figma has a range of advantages over other designing tools that will help you efficiently design your projects, but, like anything, Figma has its disadvantages. To begin with, let's discuss its pros.
- Online Collaboration: As we discussed earlier, Figma provides full access of your designs to your teammates so that you can collaborate and design with them.
- Has a range of plugins: Figma has a variety of different plugins available such as for Airtable, ProtoPie which are very helpful when designing. Unsplash also launched a specific plugin for Figma and people have reviewed it to be effective.
- Supports Sketch and GIF files: If you are currently a Sketch user, exporting your designs to Figma won’t be a hassle as it 100% supports Sketch files. You can continue editing your design after exporting them to Figma, without any issues! Along with this, you can also import GIF files into Figma and prototype them anytime.
- Design code available for web developers: Figma allows you to export your design as a code as well which the web developers can use to further customize the designs.
Now that we have discussed the benefits of using Figma, let's explore what makes Figma inconvenient.
- Reliant on the Internet: The greatest disadvantage of Figma is that it is completely reliant on the Internet. You cannot edit the graphics if the Internet is unavailable, not even on the desktop version of Figma.
- Smart Animate needs improvement : All features of Figma are really good, but the Smart Animate tool can be made better and there are better options in the market if you are looking to mainly use the animation tool.
Its Competitors - Figma Vs Sketch Vs Adobe XD
Today, Figma mainly competes with Sketch and Adobe XD as they are all such powerful designing tools. Figma, considered an all-in-one tool is especially good due to its team collaboration attribute, something that no other complex graphic designing software has. It is quite strong for advanced designing and plugins like Figmotion. However, though Figma provides complicated prototyping and animating, Sketch has been reviewed to work better and is considered much easier to use. Adobe XD is an amazing solution as well, especially its Smart Animate tool, but for other attributes it isn’t as up to the mark as aforementioned software.
How Figma has Grown Over the Years
Figma had aimed to fulfil the mission of providing online collaboration for its users through its API system and they have done that very eloquently. It has had over a thousand updates over the past 4.5 years and it has had additions like Smart Animate. It is continuing to create new features that would satisfy its customers.
Figma Funding and Revenue
In 2013, Figma started off with a seed funding of $3.8 million, then in 2015, Figma reached Series A funding and raised $14 million. Later in 2018, Figma achieved a Series B funding round and got $25 million, then Series C funding of $40 million in 2019 and lastly $50 million in 2020. Currently, the company is worth over a whopping $2 billion.
Figma is completely free of charge for up to two people collaboration and 3 projects, giving you a great opportunity to check out the software and know if it's the right product for you. In this version, you get a 30-day version history, unlimited cloud storage and free viewers and many more features. However, if you do have a budget for a greater subscription, i.e. $12/editor or $45/editor per month, then this tool can do wonders for your enterprise as the latter plan provides services like Org-wide design systems, centralized teams, private plugins, plugin administration, shared fonts, SSO (+ advanced security), design system analytics and many more.