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Charli Marie

The new Figma features I’m most excited about

published3 months ago
2 min read

I don’t mean to alarm you, Reader, but NEW FIGMA FEATURES 😱

In today’s issue I’m sharing my thoughts on a few of the new changes I’m most excited about that the Figma team launched last week at their 24 hour conference Config.

But first... the results of the layer naming poll I ran in issue #56!


Do Marketing Design Dispatch readers name their layers?

A couple of issues ago I shared that naming layers is not a priority for me while I’m in the design process, and I only name layers at the end when it’s absolutely necessary for something like creating a component or documenting a design for someone else to take over.

I asked you to vote on your approach to this, and it looks like the majority of you are with me on layer naming being a “only when necessary” thing rather than consistently naming every new layer you create.

Here’s the results:

66.4% name necessary layers, 18.2% name ALL layers, 15.4% never name layers

Honestly if it weren’t for the way layer naming impacts Figma components I’d probably be with you ‘never name layers’ rebels.


New Figma features!

We have to start with a round of applause for the Figma team who are constantly shipping awesome improvements to both Figma and FigJam 👏

Check out their What’s New page to learn more about all the great updates that were announced at Config, but right here I’m breaking down the ones that are most important for me.

Component properties

If you’ve been following along with my Coworking Club livestreams you will have seen me build and rebuild the button component in the ConvertKit design system several times already, and this new feature looks so useful that you better believe I will be revisiting the component yet again to implement it.

Component properties make it easy to customise parts of a component so that you don’t have to have a whole separate variant for them, whether that’s showing or hiding something, changing the state of a nested component (like an icon) or changing the text. It can all be managed in the component properties panel now.

As for what it means for our design system, it seems like these four different variants will be reduced to just one with component properties!

I’m yet to implement this, but I’ll probably dive into it on a livestream sometime soon.

Auto layout now operates more like code

In the Config keynote Figma CEO Dylan Field called auto layout “one of the most feared parts of Figma” 😅 It’s definitely something that took me a while to get my head around, and with the changes the team have made to the UI it seems like I’ll be doing less trial-and-error to get the resizing behaviour I want.

I highly recommend watching this tutorial that shows both the updated UI and new functionality, cos auto layout now also has absolute positioning and the ability to add negative margins.

As a designer who can code (but doesn’t have to), I do like staying conscious of how my design might be built, and these changes just make a lot of sense to me because of the way they mimic code. I think this change will help be especially helpful for designers who don’t have code knowledge too, because it’ll make it so much easier to have a shared understanding with your developer about how a design element is structured.

Single borders

As with the auto layout changes, this update to the way strokes are added is more in line with how a design would likely be coded. It’s a small thing, but I’m excited about anything that helps designers and developers speak the same language (and I’m also excited to draw less lines now that I can use the Stroke functionality instead…)

One feature I didn’t mention here is dark mode. Figma has that now, but honestly I’m a light mode kind of person 🤷🏻‍♀️ I can’t resist doing a poll on this though so tell me below: are you team dark mode or light mode??

I have a feeling that unlike the layer naming poll, I won’t be in the majority for this one! I’ll report back in the next issue.

See you next week,

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