Digital Designers Take Professional Collaboration Tools and Riff on Them

Bonnie Kate Wolfe

has already spent 12 hours on Figma making Taylor Swift fan art.

Figma, a popular professional collaboration tool often used to design and prototype user interfaces for applications and websites, caught Ms. Wolf’s attention after she saw a friend use it to create realistic portraits. Mrs Wolf has already used it to make knitting patterns and digital versions of board games to play with her friends during the pandemic.

The tools are so simplified that I really like them because there aren’t a lot of unnecessary bells and whistles – it’s just a matter of shape and color, said Wolfe, a product designer for Netflix Inc.

Collaboration software is experiencing a pandemic, not only as a means of working remotely, but also in what could be called unauthorized use. Online meetings on platforms like Zoom and Remo, for example, are starting to give way to happy hours and the occasional magic show.

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The companies that offer these tools typically sell them as professional products, but they also encourage their use outside of school.

Microsoft Corporation.

For example, the Teams product has been expanded to include virtual travel functionality.

Adobe Inc.

is currently testing a plug-in for its Adobe XD Experience Design product that it hopes to roll out widely later this year.

But the users have their own ideas. For example, Adobe XD has been used to create presentations for clients, summaries and 3D models for scientific research. People play word games and other drawing games on the interactive whiteboard program Freehand from InVision App Inc. And Figma is not only used for designing user interfaces, but also for creating presentation folders, interior layouts and off-site meetings.

According to a study by Forrester Inc. companies will spend about $162 billion on experience design software this year, about $36 billion on consulting and agency services, and $81 billion on in-house developers.

They say executives, including IT and marketing managers, are investing more in design.

Andrew Hogan,

Principal analyst at Forrester. It’s arguably two to four times larger than it was five to 10 years ago, he said of the design industry.

Figma is generally used as prototyping software, but it has expanded into illustration and other new applications.


Figma Inc.

Many companies can’t hire enough designers, they say.

Dylan Field,

CEO of Figma Inc. They realize that if they don’t have a good design, they will be ruined. Sir, I want to thank you for your support. Field uses Figma to play with his team and even helps plan the wedding, he says.

As companies become more design-driven and Figma tools become more accessible, especially on mobile devices, people are going to use them more and more, says Janvi Jhaveri, founder and CEO of Jack Strategy LLC, a design and product strategy studio.

Tools like Figma and InVision help with that, and data and information can easily become a habit, Jhaveri added.

They become life management tools, she says.

Figma has been steadily developing its eponymous product since its release in beta test in 2015. The company promotes a plugin ecosystem that allows third-party programmers and designers to provide software add-ons that work with the product, and in 2019 introduced the Figma community, which allows designers to upload files that anyone can build, play with, or reshape as they see fit.

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Figma closed its latest funding round in April and raised $50 million, which it says values the company at $2.05 billion.

He declined to say whether it was profitable.

In the past year of working from home, Figma’s collaboration capabilities have made teams feel like they’re in the same room.

Shannon Rhee,

Product designer at Brex Inc, which provides financial services to small businesses.

Rhee uses Figma for her daily design work, she says. Last April, she also created a virtual outdoor space for the product development team, with areas for team building activities, such as For example, paint animals requested by team members. But she also used it to make greeting cards and other things for employees.

She also used Figma to help a friend decorate her apartment.

It became much more common during the pandemic, Rhee said, for people to use Figma for personal reasons. I’ve never seen people use design tools for this kind of fun.

And it could be used on a larger scale, she added. It has become a design tool that seems very accessible to non-designers, she added.

Email Anne-Marie Alcantara at [email protected].

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