#config21: New Figma features to sweeten its paid model

Added on April 21, 2021 - Category: Marketing, News, UI Design
new Figma features cover

So it’s Doom’s Day: Figma is no longer free. But there are some new Figma features to make up for the Figma paid model.

The announcements were made at an online event called #config21, which took place on April 21, 2021, the day Figma almost definitely abandons the free model.

First, a clarification: Figma still has a free version. The difference is that it now has restrictions that mean it can realistically only be used for free by hobbyists and students.

For the vast majority of cases where Figma is used professionally, it is almost inevitable to use the paid version.

As we said in the original article announcing this new feature, no meal is free forever.

New Figma features on Figma paid version

Fortunately, the introduction of Figma’s new paid model brings with it some very good news. As we will see, they are closely related to the change in modality of Figma, which stops being a tool for freelancers and individual designers to finally become a tool for UX teams (which it was, just free). In other words: not a big deal for any design agency

Among the news announced today in the #config21 event we can mention

FigJam

This new tool is a kind of whiteboard for collaborative work. In a way, more or less the same as InVision Mood Boards, except that in the case of Figma they are more interactive and with a more playful spirit that includes a set of icons and emojis that we can use to interact with the prototype.

new Figma features: FigJam icon set
One of the new Figma features is FigJam. The above is the icon set and stickers for FigJam

Although FigJam is not paid per se (or at least does not appear to be), it is part of Figma’s new scheme with its paid model. Of course, if you need to interact with a team, that requires there to be a team with at least 2 members. And that was free, but as of today, you have to pay for it.

Multiplayer

Another of the new features is the multiplayer mode (no, it’s not a game), which allows you to make presentations with a large number of people, for example in large teams or presentations. At the moment the limit is 500 (from 50 before), but there are plans to increase it to 1000.

Maybe not a great feature for most people. But for some, it could be pretty handy and cool.

Figma Branching

Figma branching, a new feature for Figma design app
Figma paid version users will love this new feature!

Branches are controlled environments—like sandboxes—where you can make changes to styles, components, and other aspects of a file or library.

When you’re satisfied with your changes, you can review and merge your branch with the main file. You’ll have the option to resolve any conflicts before applying changes from your branch to the main file.

https://help.figma.com/hc/en-us/articles/1500007030341

Finally! Branching is a feature of Figma that is obviously associated with the paid model (which they call “for organizations”). But this feature is awesome. It’s basically a Github for design, where designers can play with different designs and ideas and eventually merge the proposals. Simply fantastic.

Note: They don’t decide if it’s Branching or Branches, they name it differently in different pages. They even used both words interchangeably during the event, so I assume the feature doesn’t have a definitive name, but it’s a concept

Figma mobile app

Another one of the new Figma features is the mobile app. It is in limited beta and is only available for iOS.

It’s honestly nothing special and will likely disappoint those expecting more than prototype mirroring.

Personally, I would have expected something more complete and finished, as well as multiplatform (which has always been Figma’s “workhorse”). But hey, I don’t run Figma’s marketing team.

You can learn more anout the Figma mobile app and even take part on the Beta version here

Audio

This is another new feature for Figma’s paid model. However, it’s not available yet, it was just announced that it will be available in the near future.

Basically, this new feature will allow designers to communicate with other members of our organization with audio messages. This can be interesting as it avoids the use of other additional software like Zoom or Meet.

Community

Although it’s part of the announcements, we haven’t seen any real changes, just a vague promise that it will be easier to share work, including new ones from FigJam.

This feature is still available in both Figma Free and Figma Paid.

And what about Figma Free version?

Exception made of Community, it seems Figma free users have no much to cheer about. The new features are oriented to teams. Thus, even if the feature is avaiblable, it will make no sense to use it by individuals.

However, the free plan is still very good. See what you can get with Figma free version:

  • Unlimited files and drafts
  • Unlimited viewers and commenters
  • Unlimited editors on 3 team files
  • 1 team project
  • 30-day version history
  • Unlimited cloud storage

Wanna use Figma Professional Version for free?

Want to use the Pro version for free? Worry not!

If you’re a student or educator, you can get Figma Pro for free, therefore you’ll have access to the following features (on top of the previously mentioned new Figma features)

  • Unlimited projects
  • Unlimited version history
  • Custom file/user permissions
  • Invite-only private projects
  • Shareable team libraries

There are some conditions, so make sure to read the full info

Our opinion on the new Figma announcements

Figma is amazing and the new features make it even better. It may be disappointing to some that you have to pay for what was free until yesterday, but that’s the way it is.

As for the new Figma features, I think Branching is by far the best and most necessary, and that alone makes it worth it.

The FigJam tool looks really cool, and we really love the user interface (which is no small thing in UI design software!).

In short, we think Figma will probably lose some of its user base, which was to be expected. But those who want to choose just one tool among the many available and go for Figma will surely enjoy the new features.

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