Why Figma’s acquisition is bad for designers
Figma took on a giant, now it’s part of their team.On Thursday morning, Dylan Field, Co-founder and CEO of Figma announced that the company was acquired by software giant, Adobe. In his statement Field called the acquisition a “new collaboration.”“There is a huge opportunity for us to accelerate the growth and innovation of the Figma platform with access to Adobe’s technology, expertise and resources in the creative space. For example, we will have the opportunity to incorporate their expertise in imaging, photography, illustration, video, 3D and font technology to the Figma platform.”Figma announced its acquisition by its main competitor, Adobe.Missing from the official announcement was the price tag for the acquisition which TechCrunch reported at a cool $20 billion.Figma started in 2011 with the aim of making creative tools for the browser. Joining the marketplace against Adobe XD, Invision Studio, Framer and Miro, Figma primarily targeted visual designers working on digital products.The biggest point of difference between Figma and their competitors was the ability to work collaboratively within a file in the browser. Gone were the days of passing off files between the designers and other stakeholders. Figma made it easier (and fun) for teams to work together in real time.Forbes described the company,“As Google Docs did for word processing and GitHub for code, so Dylan Field’s Figma is doing for design. Employees at companies like Netflix, AirBNB, Zoom and Discord are all users.”Part of Figma’s appeal, aside from the bright and bold branding, was that the company listened to the needs of designers and were quick to respond and implement solutions as they came up. From components, to design systems and animations, features were robust and ran quickly in a browser. Compared to competitors, Figma’s interface was streamlined and intuitive. It was a bare bones software with all of the essential tools that a designer needed. This was a welcomed contrast to Adobe programs which are notorious for feature bloat and unexpectedly quitting on users at random times. The reliability and responsiveness of Figma coupled with their many learning resources made it easy to adopt. Additionally, Figma’s Community feature made it easier for designers to see how others were using and pushing the tool. Community-generated plugins and templates made it easy to customize one’s workflow.In a 2021 survey by UX Tools, Figma dominated a designer’s toolkit not only for UI design, but for other essential tasks like managing design systems and versioning.In a 2021 survey from UX Tools, Figma was widely used by designers for tasks outside of UI design.A darling for new designersAlthough Figma’s pricing model was confusing for enterprise users at times, Figma’s freemium plan was a welcome feature for designers wanting to learn about UI/UX design. Going beyond the 7-day trial or 30-day trials that competitors offered, Figma lowered the barrier (completely eliminated) for entry to UI/UX design by providing their product for free. This was a win for self-taught designers, students and anyone who did not want to shell out money for another monthly subscription.Good for business, bad for designersPerhaps the sale should come to no surprise, Field was an undergrad at Brown’s Computer Science program and dropped out of the program to join the Thiel Fellowship, which encourages young people to skip or “stop out” of college in order to pursue new and innovative ideas. » Read More
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