← Blog

You’re a Figma Wizard, Harry!

Figma has taken the design world by storm

UX/UI Design
5 minute read

Uber is a fantastic example of a brand that has completely disrupted an industry. In a short time, Uber has made it easier, cheaper, and more convenient for us to get from A to B. It has forced existing players in the industry (e.g. taxi cabs) to adapt their business models to remain relevant and has encouraged customer-focused innovation.

Why am I talking about Uber in a design blog you ask? Well, I think that Figma is the Uber of UX/UI design tools. Since its arrival on the scene, Figma has taken the design world by storm. In research conducted by the Interaction Design Foundation, Figma is now the primary design tool used by 8 in 10 designers in 2023. This is almost 10x more than its next closest competitor, Adobe XD, which is the primary tool used by only 9% of designers. If you look at most UX/UI roles advertised on LinkedIn, you’d be hard-pressed to find a job description that doesn't mention Figma.

For new designers entering the space or experienced designers using other tools, there has never been a better time to learn how to use this amazing tool. In this post, I’m going to discuss the most important things that you need to learn about Figma when first starting. There is no one size fits all guide and depending on your role you might need to develop other skills, but this is a good place to start.

Understand Figma’s Interface & Navigation

Like with many things in life, you must learn to walk before you run.When you first open Figma, take a good look around and figure out the visual layout of the tool. Figma’s interface is very clean and well thought out. You’ll feel at home in no time.

Developing a solid understanding of Figma’s fundamental tools should be your next priority. This includes, but is not limited to, learning how to create frames and shapes, and experimenting with the pen and pencil tools. Additionally, invest time in understanding how to use the Layer and Property panels, both of which play a major role in your workflows.

Once you have the basics down pat, it's time to move on to playing around with things like colour and text. This will help build your understanding of what is possible on the canvas (and believe me, the possibilities are almost endless).

Creating & Managing Components

Figma’s component feature allows you to create reusable design elements, such as buttons, icons, and menus. Learning how to create and manage components can save you so much time and help bring a level of consistency to your work. As I’ve described in another one of my blog posts, I didn't understand the importance and power of components in Figma when I first started. My typical process would be to design something, like a button, then simply copy and paste it whenever I needed.

While in theory, this approach sounds logical, you quickly learn how flawed it is when you need to make a change. Rather than being able to change the colour of the button and then push it to all of the other buttons in the design, you need to manually go through and make the change on each button. Not only will this make you want to quit your job, but it can equate to hours of additional time needed to finish a design and dramatically increases the risk of creating inconsistencies in your design. Ain’t nobody got time for that! The sooner you understand how to create and manage components the better.

Working with Grids & Layouts

Figma has a variety of grid and layout tools that can help you create designs that are perfectly aligned and easy to navigate. Understanding how to use these tools effectively can improve usability and user experience.

Don't go off the grid!


UX/UI Design Bootcamp

12 weeks · part-time

Spend 12 weeks learning live from industry experts in a micro class. Learn-by-doing with practical case studies and publish your portfolio! 

Prototyping & Interaction Design

By far, the coolest part of Figma is its prototyping feature. This is where the magic happens and you can take a vanilla, static design and turn it into something amazing. The prototyping features in Figma will allow you to create interactive prototypes with animations, transitions and other effects so you can demonstrate how the product would look and behave in real life.

There is so much depth to Figma’s prototyping feature and the sooner you can wrap your head around all the different interactions and effects the sooner you can start to flex your design skills. I recommend starting by understanding interactive components. Personally, this helped me grasp the concept of interaction design, whilst also building out my skills in component creation and management.

Collaboration & Teamwork

Figma is a collaborative tool, which means that it’s designed to be used by teams. Learning how to collaborate with others, share files, and manage comments and feedback can help you work more efficiently and effectively with your teammates. Developing your collaboration skills in Figma is especially important if you’re part of a team that works remotely or you work asynchronously with your teammates.

First hand I’ve experienced just how critical it is to be a team player on the canvas. Leaving a comment or sticky note in the file explaining where you’ve gotten up to, any outstanding work or justifying design decisions can help avoid conflict and scope creep, and prevent double work.

Plugins & Integrations

Figma has a wide range of plugins and integrations that can help you extend its functionality and integrate it with other tools and services. Learning how to use plugins can help you automate repetitive tasks and streamline your workflow.

Figma’s Community is constantly updated with new plugins that can radically help improve your skills as a designer. Sign-up for Twitter pages, subscribe to newsletters and/or join different groups to ensure you are finding out about new tools as soon as it drops and can start integrating it into your workflow. As I’ve said before, Figma’s Community is a magical place, use it to your advantage.

Wrapping Up

We’ve discussed just a few of the most important Figma skills to learn when first starting. If you can master these, you’ll become a Figma Wizard in no time. Remember, learning a tool like Figma is not linear and there is no one size fits all approach. Just jump in, start designing and everything will start making sense.