Leave Figma bros alone

Is it really so wrong to enjoy a feature rollout?

Mikołaj, looking slightly to the right from behind.

Mikołaj Biernat

Jun 26, 2023


3 min read

Last week, thousands of designers, developers, and product managers got together at Config — Figma’s annual conference. For the first time ever, it was hosted in person in San Francisco, though many also joined virtually to watch the stream from around the world.

Besides dozens of talks featuring the industry’s favorites, the real hype was about the new product announcements. For the past few years, Figma has proven that they can deliver cutting-edge features. So after months of a few minor updates and a teaser, users were ready to hear about the future of their beloved tool.

And the team did it again. As they presented variables, more advanced prototyping, and Dev Mode, the design Twitter went bananas. The live audience cheered like they were sitting at the original iPhone announcement. I doubt that even they expected such enthusiasm; "Is it silly that we're freaking out about a font picker? Guess not!".

“Well, actually…”

But not everyone shared these reactions. Some people started tweeting the not-so-hot “tools don’t matter” take. They suggested that “[…] if you’re a good designer, the tool you’re using will not affect the quality of your work.”.

They’re not wrong. After all, the tool is nothing more than an extension of the mind. But who said you can’t be a good designer who knows how to use Figma exceptionally well?

Config happens once a year. You have the whole rest of the twelve months to focus on the important stuff. Is it really so wrong to, for a moment, celebrate new features added to the design tool you’re staring at every day?

Tools do matter

There are some obvious benefits of being excellent at using your tools — like the ability to work faster and therefore stay in the zone more easily. But what’s more interesting is how the right tools can make designers better at their craft. 

Take Config’s announcements.

I bet not all designers are familiar with the concept of a variable in computer science. It sucks because getting it has made the development process click for so many people. Wanting to learn, some might be intimidated by a Codecademy course because it’s on foreign ground; they don’t feel comfortable with code. But with variables now available in Figma, they’ll be naturally introduced to the idea in their sandbox. And once they get a grip on the variables, they can see how they translate into development.

Others avoid including anything outside the happy path in their prototypes because they’re sick of dealing with the noodles. I don’t blame them. But a half-baked prototype can skew the usability test results or ruin a pitch. Now, with the improvements to prototyping, it’ll be so simple to create more realistic prototypes — which will give people more precise feedback and help them make better decisions, effectively promoting their growth as designers.

But should they ignore all these new features because “tools don’t matter”?

There’s a line, though

That being said, of course you can cross the line. Some fanatics take their Figma obsession way too far. For them, using the tool is a personality trait.

Yes, counting “Figma” as a skill is silly. Fixating on plugins and hacks is a waste of time. Dismissing someone just because they use a competitor is ignorant.

But is that Config’s fault? I doubt it.

So leave Figma bros alone. Let them have fun. It’ll all return to normal this week.