Figma Initially Disliked by Designers, Eventually Embraced with Love

Building a complex app in the browser was a bold move at the time

In 2012, Dylan Field, a student at Brown University, conceived the idea of creating a browser-based design tool. Design tools were primarily desktop-based at the time, resulting in a cumbersome and inefficient process of sharing files for review and incorporating feedback. Field and co-founder Evan Wallace launched Figma to revolutionize this design paradigm by enabling collaborative work within a single tool.

Figma worked similarly to Google Docs, enabling multiple users to simultaneously work on a file, leave comments, and interact with each other. However, implementing this functionality in web technology posed significant challenges due to the complexity of design compared to simple text documents.

Additionally, designers were accustomed to maintaining control over their tools and having stakeholders approach them for collaboration. Therefore, Figma faced user resistance despite overcoming technical obstacles and offering a sensible collaborative design solution.

It took until 2017 for Field and Wallace to develop a market-ready product and start generating revenue, but their patient investors recognized the potential of their revolutionary idea. In June 2021, Figma secured a $200 million investment, valuing the company at $10 billion. Subsequently, in September 2022, Adobe expressed its intent to acquire Figma for double that amount. However, the deal faced regulatory scrutiny in the U.S. and Europe, leaving its outcome uncertain. Nonetheless, the journey of Figma’s growth into a $20 billion company, overcoming numerous technical challenges while supported by determined investors, is a remarkable story.

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