Figma announces a major redesign using artificial intelligence

Figma is announcing a host of new features at its Config conference today, including a major redesign of the user interface, new AI tools to help people create projects more easily, and built-in slideshow functionality.

Let’s start with the redesign, which aims to “lay the foundation for the next decade,” According to a blog post. You’ll see things like a new toolbar, rounded corners, and 200 new icons. As part of the design refresh, the company wants to “focus the panel less on our UI and more on your work” and create something that is accessible to new users while still being useful to Figma experts.

“UI3” from Figma.
Image: Figma

Figma says this is the company’s third “significant redesign” since the launch of Figma’s closed beta. The new look is being rolled out as part of a limited beta, and users can join the waitlist if they want to try it out.

In addition to the redesign, the main feature addition is new generative AI tools, which look like a useful way to quickly get started on design. It’s basically a Figma-focused version of the “email draft” type AI tools we’ve seen many times.

At a press conference, Yohki Yamashita, chief product officer at Figma, showed me an example of how Figma created an app design for a new restaurant. A few seconds after typing the prompt into a text box, Figma mocked up an app with menus, a tab bar, and even buttons for delivery partners like Uber Eats and DoorDash. It looked like a generic template for a mobile app, but Yamashita was able to start tweaking it right away.

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In another example, Yamashita asked Figma AI to develop a design for a recipe page for chocolate chip cookies, and sure enough, it did — including the AI-generated image of the cookie. Over Zoom, it looked like a pretty accurate image, but I can’t imagine it would be hard for an AI generator to create a basic image of a chocolate chip cookie.

Figma also offers AI features that can help speed up small tasks in big ways, like “AI-powered” asset searching and automatically generated text in designs instead of generic Lorem ipsum placeholder text.

Ideally, all of Figma’s new AI tools will allow people new to using Figma to test ideas more easily while allowing those with more experience with the application to iterate faster, according to Yamashita. Yamashita says in an interview with the edge – Something CEO Dylan Field said the edge also.

Figma AI will launch in a limited beta starting Wednesday, and interested users can join the waitlist. Figma says the trial period will last until the end of the year. While in beta, Figma’s AI tools will be free, but the company says it may have to offer “usage limits.” Figma also promises to provide “clear pricing guidelines” when the AI ​​features are officially launched.

In a blog post, Figma also explained its approach to training its AI models. “All of the generative features we are launching today are powered by off-the-shelf external AI models and were not trained on proprietary Figma files or customer data.” writes Chris Rasmussen, CTO of Figma. “We fine-tuned visual search and asset search using UI images from public and free community files.”

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Rasmussen adds that Figma trains its models so they learn patterns and “Figma-specific concepts and tools” but not from users’ content. Figma will also allow Figma administrators to control whether Figma can train on “client content,” which includes “file content created or uploaded to Figma by the user, such as layer names and properties, text and images, comments, and annotations,” according to Rasmussen.

Figma won’t start training for this content until August 15; However, you should know that Starter and Professional plans are enabled by default to share this data, while Organization and Enterprise plans are opted out.

The company is likely being specific about how it trains its AI models due to Adobe’s recent terms of service debacle, where the company had to clarify that it wouldn’t train AI for your business.

In addition to the redesign and new AI features, Figma adds a potentially huge new tool: Figma slides, a Google Slides-like feature built directly into Figma. Users have already hacked into Figma to find a way to create slides, so now there’s an official way to create and share presentations directly within the app, Yamashita says.

There are some Figma-specific features that designers will likely appreciate. You’ll be able to edit the designs you’ve included in the collection in real-time using Figma tools. (Note that these changes will only appear On deck (Modifications will not currently sync with the original design files, although Yamashita says Figma wants to make that possible eventually.)

You can also prototype the app directly from the block, which means you don’t need to do a complex screencast just to demonstrate how one piece connects to another. You can also add interactive features for audience members, such as a poll or alignment scale, where people can draw on a scale if they agree or disagree with something.

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Figma Slides will be available in open beta starting Wednesday. It will be free while in beta but will become a paid feature when it officially launches. The company is also adding new features to it Developer mode in Figmaincluding a list of “development ready” tasks.

This year’s Config is the first since Adobe abandoned its planned $20 billion acquisition of Figma following regulatory scrutiny. With the merger dissolved, Adobe was forced to pay Figma a $1 billion breakup fee.

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