Figma – the Top Collaborative Digital Design Tool Taking the World by Storm

Technical Advice - 25.08.22
A purple graphic with designs that says Figma

It’s hard to believe Figma’s been around just a handful of years. Figma launched in 2016 and is now one of the most successful companies on the planet building tools for creators. 

A two-billion-dollar company, Figma is transforming the design world into a collaborative one. And by building a professional design tool on the web, Figma has made design accessible to all. 

It’s a remarkable David and Goliath story. Dylan Field, a young 19-year-old college dropout, took on the world’s leading software giant Adobe. 

And he didn’t do it alone. 

After meeting Evan Wallace, an aspiring software engineer (nicknamed the Computer Jesus at school), the duo worked together to bring their visionary dreams to life. With Dylan’s Thiel Fellowship funding of $100,000, their startup journey began. The one thing they knew back in 2012 was that they wanted to work with creative tools and revolutionise the digital tool space

Building a professional design tool on the web. 

The key to unlocking Figma’s web-based design solution lay in a Javascript API for graphics, called WebGL, which they knew could be used as an interface design tool. 

Four years of tech-heavy development later Figma launched, but convincing the sceptics was going to be the real challenge. Designers could not believe it was possible to bring design online and work independently of their desktop as Dylan Field tells Patrick O’Shaughnessy, host of Invest Like The Best podcast.

Said Field: “For Figma, one thing that we assumed early on was that people would want to work in a browser and we can make that a great experience. And that was something where everyone at the time thought we were a little bit crazy for."

Figma design has revolutionised the way we work too. 

The more people involved in the design process the better. And in the remote environment it’s become an essential tool that we use to collaborate internally, and also with our clients. 

Figma offers a complete end-to-end experience. We work on Figma from the initial project idea to the design phase and through Figma, we can even present working prototypes for review to our clients.

With our agency specialising in B2B and Professional Services sectors, we aren’t always collaborating with qualified marketers. We are often dealing with full leadership teams.  Figma allows us to get into a visual stage much more quickly and this can really speed things along when dealing with broader groups of people with different leadership roles.

Because we can all be in the same file working collaboratively together, Figma makes it so much easier to collaborate at speed and at scale. The design platform has truly made supporting people through each phase of project development a seamless process.  

Here’s why Figma is a great digital product: 

  • Speed Download, upload, drag or edit –  the system is optimised for maximum performance. 

  • One-Stop Design Solution Because all of your design elements are in one place you don't need to switch to another software solution. 

  • User-Friendly Figma has everything you need to design and build projects fast. 

  • Work Anywhere It’s platform-agnostic allowing users to work across a variety of devices. 

  • Accessible To All You don’t need to be a professional designer to be able to use it. Our entire team of content writers, project managers, analysts and strategists all work on Figma. 

  • Real-Time Collaboration We can work in sync on the same file and not overwrite each other. We can even engage in each other's work.

  • Ease of Communication We can share our thoughts and views of the work and address any technical or design problems spotted. 

  • Presentation We can present working prototypes to clients of projects in the early phases and get their feedback. 

  • Auto Layout Add to frames, or move components, the elements will rearrange, resizing to fit – saving you time.  

  • Auto-Save You don’t need to press ‘Save’ – inputted content saves automatically.  

  • Brainstorming Figjam’s virtual whiteboarding tool helps us brainstorm. And elements like a cursor chat, or emoji reactions, make the space more human. 

  • Live Chat You can jump on a voice call too! 

  • Community Resource Reach out to Figma community members to show your work and get feedback from like-minded industry pros. 

  • Slack Integration You can get Figma notifications and comments directly in Slack. 

Figma is the design tool for everyone bringing entire teams together to collaborate and do their best work. Let’s face it: before Figma, UX/UI designers were limited. They could only design through installed software that required multiple licences and had no live collaboration. 

But Figma recognised a need in the market and built a professional design tool that is disrupting the digital design space and changing the way people work. 

See here for more on Figma’s story and vision for the future, which is to make design accessible to everyone.