Designers initially disliked Figma’s collaborative design tool, but grew to love it more and more

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By Webdesk

At the time, it took guts to build such a complex app in the browser

Back in 2012 When Dylan Field was a student at Brown University, he came up with the idea of ​​building a browser-based design program. At the time, design tools were all on the desktop, which meant that designers worked alone, sending files to the various stakeholders involved for review, and then making changes based on feedback in a rather inefficient non-digital loop.

Field and co-founder Evan Wallace launched Figma to completely change the design paradigm, one where instead of printing going back and forth between reviewers and designers, everyone could work together in the same tool.

It was like Google Docs, allowing multiple people to work on the same file at the same time, leave comments, and generally communicate and collaborate with each other on the web. The problem was that in 2012, web technology wasn’t really ready to enable this kind of design functionality and deliver it to multiple users in real time. Design is much more complex than a text document.

In addition, designers seemed to enjoy being in control of their tool and having the stakeholders come to them. Even after Figma overcame all the technical hurdles to deliver a viable working product, it had to overcome user resistance to this approach – even if it seems like the most sensible approach in the world today.

It took Field and Wallace until 2017 to bring a product to the point where they could collect revenue, but their investors remained patient and recognized that revolutionary ideas sometimes take time to bake.

It was worth the wait. By June 2021, the company had raised a $200 million investment with a $10 billion valuation, and in September 2022, Adobe announced its intention to buy the company for double that. The deal is subject to regulatory scrutiny in the US and Europe and remains in limbo for now, but the story of how it came to be as a $20 billion company, overcoming numerous technical hurdles while tenacious investors watched, is a convincing story. .

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