The consensus is in: No tool is more effective than Figma for remote design work and teamwork

Remote work has gradually been getting built into the fabric of our culture, and then when Covid-19 struck, that trend was rapidly accelerated. YML's team has practiced remote work and collaboration for many years because we are a global team with with six offices around the world. But that doesn't mean it still isn't hard.

Just as Covid-19 was becoming a fully realized, global pandemic in March 2020, YML’s design team decided to shift their efforts from Sketch fully over to Figma.  So much of our work relies on collaboration, sharing and discussing the work face-to-face, but in this new reality we had to adjust quickly without sacrificing time or quality. Figma has been vital to meeting that goal.  Our designers are beyond satisfied with it and the work continues to be strong and impactful. 10 designers share why:

Neil Stoeckle, Creative Director

I have to start with the live collaboration tool — how we never lose or overwrite another designers work because we both have the same file open at the same time. I love the seamless creation and distribution of a component library. It's a vital, all-in-one tool belt Figma has given us— wireframing, UI creating, illustrating, prototyping, shipping to devs, the list goes on.…

But one micro-feature the extrovert in me loves, especially in this new reality we live in, is the observation element. I can click on one of my designers, follow along and engage in what they’re doing— its like a high-fidelity, socially distanced, white boarding session.

Jon Sontag, Motion Designer

As a motion designer, Figma is a great way to quickly design, build, and export files for animation and prototyping. It's easy to use and has all the tools I need to get the job done.

The mobile app live preview is a really nice touch. It helps me manage the quality and nuance of what I'm designing. I'm excited to start collaborating on more projects with my team.

Hans Lee, Designer

Real time collaboration has changed the speed at which our team has been able to collaborate, create, and hand over designs to engineers.

The long term benefits of learning Figma now is never having to learn another software ever again. When I was a Sketch user, I had to learn my way around using Abstract, Zeplin, InVision and Principle whenever I needed to hand over designs, present designs, collab with a designer, etc. But Figma works with all these softwares combined. 

Chris Rowe, Art Director

Most designers know about the collaboration, sharing, and prototyping benefits of Figma — it’s awesome. It may turn everyone into a hovering art director, but at least they’re not standing behind you, right? On top of the long list of team benefits, Figma has actually addressed some of the visual design problems that pop up in other interface design tools.

And the biggest one for me is that I can actually use Figma to create custom icons and illustrations necessary to communicating ideas and stories. The node and path manipulations allow for fast and smooth creation that was highly frustrating and incredibly slow in other interface design tools.

AmberNechole Hart, Designer

Figma has the most important feature of all - it’s free. Our design tools have a legacy of paywalls, which creates significant barriers to entry. Being free makes design accessible to all people.

Mauricio Bucardo, Motion Designer 

One of my favorite things about Figma is how they empower users to make the tool their own. Unlike other design platforms, they surface access to plugins created by the design community. The ease of access and install allow users to have all the tools they need to work as efficiently as possible. Furthermore, emphasizing the plugins created by the users creates a community of exploration and collaboration, where we are all contributing towards a same goal: Creating the most powerful design tool out there.

Claire Yuan, Designer

Figma has become the playground for everyone on the team. Project managers and developers can come to Figma, checkout the work, and post their thoughts. With Figma’s extra smooth live collaboration, designers can more quickly learn new user needs or technical problems spotted, and work on more iterations in shorter time. As a designer, I feel lucky and thankful that I live in a time where Figma exists. 

Amit Garg, Creative Designer

The real value of Figma for me is that it’s totally cloud based, so version control has never been an issue now. It has built in 'Version History,' which I've used a lot ("where was that one screen I designed 2 months ago?"). And because you can have people work on the same file at the same time (like Dropbox Paper or GDocs), it's drastically improved our time efficiency.

What used to take a couple hours to design out, now takes 30 minutes with multiple people working at the same time. Figma's prototyping feel is easier to implement, compared to Sketch prototyping. It has a feature called 'Smart Animate' that I've used a lot recently for some more refined prototyping/animation concepts.

We also recently began presenting to our clients straight from Figma instead of using Keynote or Powerpoint, then switching windows to the Figma prototype. Our 'slides' are part of our prototypes now. You could obviously do that with Sketch, but the Figma difference is that when you want to transition to a new speaker in the middle of a presentation, you can simply click on their initials in the Prototype view and it'll go into "Observation" mode, so you can see what they're doing on the prototype in real-time without having to give up your screen share. Figma has made remote working unbelievably painless. 

Sadhvi Konchada, Product Designer

Auto Layout? More like auto-work! Auto Layout is one of my favorite things in Figma. It’s best used with repeated UI elements like tags, lists, menus, etc. With this feature, elements rearrange themselves when one component is moved around. It saves a ton of time and cuts down on redundant work.

Joe Johnston, Creative Director and Co-head of ATL Studio

Figma is really relevant right now and will be in the remote-world future. There are real cost and time savings as we’re seeing real-world, working challenges between some clients not using Figma and others that are. The time savings is amazing when designing as teams in Figma, especially remotely.

Figma has been critical for our team as we tackle projects across the digital experience spectrum, from fintech and healthcare to building products in insurance, grocery, home repair, and restaurants.  Reach out to us with any questions about how to partner on a future project.