News and insights • Posted on 04 January 2022

Why we switched to Figma

It’s hard winning over the heart and mind of a designer. When you’re so accustomed to a tool, everything becomes second nature, especially when you know it inside and out. Tools really do shape the work you are able to produce in all sorts of ways, so picking the right one is crucial. However, a great design agency can’t afford to be brand loyal. It needs to use whatever tools create the highest quality and most efficient results possible. For our design crewmates, this has come in the form of Figma – an innovative tool which has become our go-to for web design. 

Here, we explain why we made the leap to Figma and how it’s constantly adding value to our clients’ projects.

Issues with previous design tools

Before Figma, we worked with a combination of Sketch, InVision and Zeplin, which often worked together to complete a project. For example, Sketch allowed us to create and upload designs as flat images to InVision, which then produced a prototype to simulate the end product on a device with clickable hotspots. Finally, Zeplin would be used to generate code snippets, specs and assets for developer handoff. This meant each tweak to a design meant changing the InVision prototype and updating Zeplin. This was rather laborious as we needed to constantly synchronise and maintain all the latest versions.

Why we chose Figma

Figma rolls all the best features of Sketch, InVision and Zeplin into one product and has greatly improved our workflow. In our world a fast turnaround is important and Figma offers this to us on a platter. Its browser-based nature literally means all we need is a browser and a sturdy internet connection and there’s no need to invest in any resources to kick things off. It feels much faster and fluid, with no large files to download and easy to use version control for an efficient design to development team handover.

Plugins, quick-fire feedback, code snippets, cloud-based storage and easy prototyping makes Figma shine. However, the ace up Figma’s sleeve is its instantaneous collaboration. Designers can share progress with different members of their team and multiple collaborators can work on the same file simultaneously with little to no friction. Even developers can be invited to projects to freely browse design files. They can inspect elements, export assets themselves and click through prototypes. No more questions like “where is this?” or “is this the latest version?”

How does Figma perform in practice?

Having used Sketch for several years, our designers were thrilled to discover the UI and behaviour of Figma was pretty much the same, making it a quick and simple transition when testing this new tool. We also have the ability to import our project files from Sketch into Figma so all is not lost. The bigger step was getting everyone else on board with it. Often, it’s sensible to build in a testing  period to hammer out any speed bumps – whether it’s the software, the onboarding process or getting to grips with shortcuts. For example, we’d never worked with a browser-based design tool with real-time collaborative features, and there were concerns that this could take time to optimise internally. But we couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s mirrored how we’ve always worked but all within one tool – UI design, prototyping, feedback and project management all in one place. Many designers don’t work directly with developers on projects, especially with remote working coming into play after the pandemic, so learning to work in a decentralised way, but also having an incredible workflow, is pivotal. 

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Written by Charlotte Conqueror

UI/UX designer Charlotte is your go-to girl for simple and effective design that’ll capture your audience’s attention in an instant.

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