The image of a global tight-knit design community enabled by Figma. That's what you are looking at - a heat map of file shares and invites sent on Figma, across the Globe. But how did it get there? How does one even start on a mission that's so massive in scale? Let's go down the rabbit hole!
A 19-year-old dropout from Brown University took $100,000 from Thiel Fellowship to start a business with his (then) teaching assistant. The 0 to 1 journey, like for any other startup - was a messed up one. Their initial idea was to build a drone company. (Fortunately for us 😄) They failed to pivot around this idea mostly because they couldn't build anything in the space without hurting people or violating their privacy.
Dylan Field and Evan Wallace knew they were up against the Adobe pack, so they had to be in it - headstrong. For a couple of years, they operated in private beta and launched Figma for the public only in September 2016.
This is where Figma stands today - market leaders for interface design and a valuation of $10 billion. 👇
And the impact Figma has had on the design community globally...
Dylan wanted to make Figma the Github for designers. He believed that design should be more open, cloud-first and on the Web. They built multiplayer capabilities in Figma for designers or teams to collaborate and work together over a design. This was a revolutionary idea back in 2015 when they built it. But designers adapted and they were comfortable with the idea of collaborative openness of their designs. In a competitive space, with competitors like Adobe, InVision, Sketch and more, Figma differentiates itself on its web-based multiplayer approach.
But this wasn't it - Dylan had bigger plans.
In 2019, 3 years after the public launch, he took a step forward towards this vision and launched the beta version of Figma's community.
🤝 With Figma Community, designers and even organisations can share live design files that others can inspect, remix and learn from - and understand how the design went from being a blank page to something so wonderful, step by step.
Dylan Field with Jenny Wen (Sr. Product Designer, Figma) did a live demo and public launch of the online community and the upgraded collaborative workspace. Here are three key takeaways from their conversation:
Launch of Figma Community
If you ask a Community Manager what are the toughest KPIs they work on, it would be - retention of existing users and engaging the community. Figma hacked these objectives - there was no stopping their growth fire.
💥 Amazing curation of resources for use
The community-created designs are thoughtfully arranged on the community, for anyone to easily duplicate or remix them. It also helps to keep a track of what the designers you follow, are up to.
🏅Top design-first companies are a part of this community
Airtable, Slack, Uber and the who's who of the design first communities are onboard! How exciting is that! You can track what they create, duplicate it, learn from designers of these brands and show off your creations to them!
🧑🤝🧑 Super active networking and synchronous chat community on Slack - 12K+ 'Friends of Figma'
Meet and network other designs, solve roadblocks with the help of the community, attend workshops and webinars to improve your skills and be on top of tips and tricks of creating better designs with the community.
But like they say, the community is not built in a day! You need to have a strong base and a well-researched framework for you to be able to succeed and nail each milestone. Figma defined 4 main stages towards building its community:
🧐 Stage 1: Define community member personas
🧏 Stage 2: Listen to your member aspirations and feedback
🚀 Stage 3: Elevate and Amplify - build on the momentum that's picking up to scale
🔁 Stage 4: Enrich and Repeat
These are some pretty strong ideas on how Figma built this tight-knit community of designers globally! To know more about their community ops, check out this video with Amanda Kleha (CCO, Figma) where she talks at length about how the Figma community was built and operates today.
Amanda Kleha (CCO, Figma) talks at length about how the Figma community was built and operates today.
Overall, Figma has thought through every value add a point for a designer and solved for it through the community - this is what makes Figma win in this space! 🏆
Figma took its community experience a notch up by introducing FIGJAM - a punny name for an online whiteboard for teams to collaborate, brainstorm, map out process/design flows, and more.
Introductory video explaining FigJam.
FigJam functionality includes sticky notes, emojis and drawing tools, as well as shapes, pre-built lines and connectors, stamps and cursor chats. FigJam works seamlessly with Figma - you can move your sketches to Figma and shape them into the final piece!
Dylan and the team are truly turning around the designer tool space and simplifying it. With the rise of creators in the Web3 and crypto space, we are super excited to see how they will contribute to the rise of Web3 and NFTs! 💰
Leaving you folks with some wall of love for the Figma Community, by the community! We love them too ❤️
Liked our content? Subscribe now to receive a weekly curation of Community-Led case studies, good reads, news, events and jobs from the community space! 👇
And to truly offer something that has any value, the argument put forth is an approach to build an organization inside-out. Why does my organization exist in the first place?
Lattice has manifested what it wanted to stand for as a people management platform and is looking to do so as people find more value not just in the product, but the community that comes with it.