Figma's New AI Tools Make Product Design Faster and Smarter

Figma's New AI Tools Make Product Design Faster and Smarter

Figma just dropped a game-changing set of AI tools at Config 2024. These new features, dubbed Figma AI, aim to speed up design work and spark creativity.

"We're giving designers the tools to do their best work, solving real problems without the hype," says Kris Rasmussen, Figma's CTO.

The goal of Figma AI is to keep designers in the creative flow by removing common blockers. By automating tedious tasks and providing smart assistance, designers can focus on the details that matter most. Here's a breakdown of the key new features:

Figma launched two AI-powered search tools that'll change how you find and use design assets.

The first is a "Search for Similar" tool that lets you find stuff in three ways:

  • Type keywords: Use the Actions menu, type what you're looking for, and boom - you'll see matching components and designs.
  • Select something on your canvas: Pick any layer, hit Actions, then "Search for similar." Figma will show you related designs and components.
  • Upload an image: Throw in an image, and Figma will find similar designs across your team's files.

It's great for getting inspired, finding old work, or grabbing the latest version of a component. The second is a Smarter Asset Tab. With it will understand what you mean, not just what you type. Search for "arrow," and you'll see actual arrows, plus stuff like cursors or direction icons. It's way smarter than before.

Automating the Boring Stuff

Figma AI also introduces tools to automate common design tasks. These include AI-powered text tools for translation and rewriting, automatic layer renaming, and background removal for images. And, perhaps most helpful, is the platform can now generate realistic copy and images to populate mockups! No more lorem ipsum and searching for placeholder images.

AI-Generated Designs

Perhaps the most ambitious feature is "Make Designs," which generates UI layouts and component options from text prompts. Soon, designers and non-designers alike may be able to quickly mock up interfaces using their company's design system. While still in its early stages, this tool hints at a future where AI could democratize design. It could help teams rapidly prototype ideas, bridging the gap between concept and visual representation. For designers, it's a powerful ally against the "blank canvas" problem, sparking creativity and speeding up the design process.

One-Click Prototypes

Another standout feature is the ability to turn static mocks into interactive prototypes with a single click. This "Make Prototype" function promises to dramatically speed up the process of bringing ideas to life and securing stakeholder buy-in.

As with any AI-powered enterprise tool that is released today, the first question is usually around data privacy and security. It's good to see that Figma is being proactive in addressing these concerns, and being careful not to put their foot in their mouths like Adobe. They are emphasizing that all current generative features are powered by third-party models and were not trained on Figma customer data.

However, the company does plan to develop new models that better understand design-specific concepts and tools. To this end, they're going to be adding a team-level setting where admins can control whether their content is shared for AI training. This will take effect on August 15, 2024, with different default options for various plan types.

While the full impact of these tools remains to be seen, one thing is clear: Figma is pushing the boundaries of what's possible in digital design. Figma AI features will be free for all users during the beta period (with usage limits), which runs through 2024.

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