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Why I’m Sold on Figma

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Recently, I worked with my close friend, Lou, at his web design and development studio. He asked me to help out on a project for a media company; he liaises with the clients while myself and another freelancer take care of the designs.

This company’s website was a pretty heavy lift and another designer, Shannon, had already started work on it. The client’s deadline was looming and Lou brought me on to help take it over the finish line.

I was sent a copy of Shannon’s Sketch files and completed the edits assigned to me before sending them on to Lou. Shannon completed hers on a separate copy of the same file, which left Lou to be our file consolidator.

We traded files again and made separate edits. Shannon and I accidentally ended up working on the same edit requests which lead to 2x the work, 2x the time, 2x the money. Overall, not spectacular use of our resources.

Figma, a new browser-based design software, is my solution to these problems. I’ve been using it in my workflow for for the past few months and I am wholeheartedly sold.

Consolidating files will ruin your day one way or another. Duplicate artboards, invisible or unnecessary layers, missed content altogether: it makes for a longer, more stressful day.

In Figma, there’s only one file per project at any given time. Shannon and I could have worked on the same file collaboratively or separately without a hitch. She could have made updates to the the navigation while I edited the images to be more realistic placeholders. Or she could’ve changed the color palette recommendations while I formatted the updated content.

The design process becomes easier, more straightforward and you’ll always have the correct version of your project. As a bonus, you can also shift back to a previous version in the file history (which updates every day you’ve worked on it).

Additionally, there’s this really fantastic thing called Components. They are essentially Figma’s better version of Sketch’s Symbols.

For this company’s website, Shannon had done a lot of the legwork and had created roughly 20 artboards by the time I jumped on the project; no Symbols had been created and every piece of the design was independent.

Had we been using Symbols, we could have edited one single instance of the navigation and those edits would have been extrapolated throughout the rest of the design system. We, as designers, would’ve been able to finish the work sooner, saving time and freeing up hours to complete other tasks.

I wouldn’t call this redesign a failure or a disaster by any means; the website turned out well and the client was satisfied with the work we did. Lou is coding the site as we speak.

Sketch helped us get from Point A to Point B, but after having used Figma, I know that I will recommend it time and again for UX/UI projects. Every aspect of the software is just as intuitive as Sketch, but it’s levels ahead in efficiency, clarity and usefulness.

Figma is currently free to use for any one individual and is also very reasonably priced for teams. I invite you to check it out and see how it can improve your workflow.

If you’d like to know more about Figma, here are some articles written by the Figma team. Or better yet, drop a comment and I’d love to chat!

P.S. Disclaimer: I do not work for Figma and this article was written incentive free. 😬

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