Should we think about rather using Figma?

Hi guys,

@Ali and I have started working with Figma and have been really impressed with it (we’re still pulling out our hair a little as we continue to learn all it can do!) I’m interested to hear what the team thinks about us moving some of our current projects to Figma, for example Listaflow and the New Open edX theme. These projects are still in the beginnings of the design phase so we think if we want to move to Figma it’s the right time.

Some reasons we like Figma for our OpenCraft Projects:

  • Figma seems better for remote teams and will make it easier to collaborate, communicate, and ask questions - so we’ll no longer use Invision.

  • Figma is browser-based, so developers can view a project without installing a design tool (we’re using Sketch and Zeplin right now).

  • Figma comes with native prototyping and developer handoff capabilities, so we’ll no longer need to use Zeplin.

The only issue we have with Figma is that you need an internet connection to access its full capabilities. So in the rare case that we don’t have internet (for whatever reason), that could delay our workflow.

All in all the major benefits of Figma means we can simplify the design process by using one application, and we can collaborate more effectively.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and whether you’re “for” or “against” it. This is a discussion we all should be a part of…


Thanks for starting this @cassie.

The more I think about it, the more I think the move to Figma is the right way to go (and possibly even inevitable). There will be some up-front work needed — both to move projects over, and for us to become comfortable in Figma — but the sooner we do it, the less work will be required in future.

That said, the pressure is on with Listaflow at the moment, so we might need to delay the move until the rush is over.

I’d be interested to hear what @Fox and @navin think about moving to Figma for Listaflow. The current system of designing in Sketch, presenting in Invision, and exporting/commenting in Zeplin feels cumbersome. I imagine it would be easier for you both if everything were in one place. Is that right?


Yes, it would make things easier for me. It does get pretty confusing hopping between the different tools. I’m still not 100% sure I fully understand where one’s capabilities end and another’s begin. If it were all in one place that would be simpler.

The question I have is that we’ve been able to export reference designs before and commit them to the Listaflow design repo. Will we still be able to perform similar exports with Figma? You mentioned ‘needing to be online’ so I want to make sure.


I personally love Figma and use it myself, and it’s my favorite way to receive designs :slight_smile:
We used it a lot on the LabXchange project and I was very impressed by it.


That great to hear @braden :slight_smile: It’s good to have a thumbs up from the dev side of things!

@Fox So with Figma you can:

  • Export assets you need in the formats you need them in. See reference here. It also looks like you can manage this as a “viewer”. According to Figma " A viewer is an introductory role that removes barriers to collaboration for new members and guests. Figma doesn’t include viewers in the organization’s billing"

  • Grab snippets of generated code for CSS, iOS, and Android.

@Fox Let me know if this answers your question? We can always share a file with you as a test run so you can snoop around.

As @Ali mentioned there will be a bit of upfront work in moving our designs to Figma, but they have made it easier for users to import Sketch files so that’s a big positive. The most work will be in creating the design components, which will really help us keep consistency as the projects grow.


:+1: from me as well for Figma. Invision is the OG, but their interface is much less snappier.

Zeplin is a bit meh.


I love Figma too. Way easier to collaborate, share, prototype and design with that. :+1:

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@cassie It sounds like the export may not quite be as good-- it’s only SVGs, PNGs, and PDFs. However, these can be suitable. It’s not the end of the world if we don’t have the full layout export Invision provides as long as team members can access what they need.

We can move Listaflow over to Figma after the MVP release. :slight_smile:


@Fox Cool, noted. We’ll touch base on this again after Listaflow’s MVP release :slight_smile:

cc. @Ali

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No objections to figma, as I don’t think there is a proper open source alternative? What about the one that @loic mentioned in Penpot | Design Freedom for Teams - it doesn’t have the necessary features? I would prefer to avoid proprietary tools as much as possible, especially for things that involve communication and is used by us to produce open source. However, I know that’s not always possible or practical - I’d just like to make sure we checked, and that there is a good reason to balance that choice.

If we go for a proprietary SaaS product, +1 to your concerns @Fox, we need to make sure that the designs keep being exported and available in a public repository with an open source license. SaaS providers have an incentive to try to keep the data as much as possible on their side, and make it hard to migrate out. If it were to become inaccessible (eg account blocked), we need to ensure we always have a backup on our side.


I wasn’t aware of this tool-- @cassie , @Ali Have you had an opportunity to try it?

@Fox @antoviaque I have just signed up to Penpot and taken a quick look. It looks great, but we wouldn’t really know until we’ve tested it out on a project.

I’m happy to try it on Listaflow once the MVP is out. Or @cassie, you could maybe test it out on the Theme; let’s see who gets there first.

We’ll let you all know how it goes.

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@Fox @antoviaque I looked briefly into Penpot a while back and what I was concerned by is the fact that it’s completely web-based, so we can’t download the application and work “offline” which Figma allows to some extent. The concern here is internet stability, especially in countries like South Africa.

Be that as it may, the platform looks very cool. While it’s still in Beta, it looks like they’re continuously improving and adding features. I’d love to try a project on it though, but I’m wary to move a large project like the new Open edX theme to it, before giving a smaller project a go - which I may have coming up in the next few sprints. So let me keep you guys posted :slight_smile:

cc. @Ali

@cassie @Ali Yup, it sounds like a good idea to start small – maybe keep it in mind for the next smaller project where we could try testing it? If it doesn’t work out it’s fine to leave it aside – but thanks for being open to try it! :slight_smile:

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@Ali have just discussed this and we’re going to try Penpot out on one of our “smaller” upcoming projects. So we’ll definitely have feedback soon! :slight_smile: