So Adobe is buying Figma, and unsurprisingly the news is causing some controversy in the creative world. The software giant behind tools such as Illustrator, Photoshop and Premiere Pro is snapping up the collaborative design platform for an incredible $20 billion, and creatives are worried about what that might mean for the platform.
Since its release in 2016, Figma has become a hugely popular online tool for user interface and user experience design. It's praised for its streamlined form and collaborative tools, while free access for those in education have made it a hit with students – in fact, Figma currently tops our own list of the best UI design tools. Adobe, meanwhile, is behind some of the most fully featured industry-standard programs in the creative sector, but its subscription-based pricing is sometimes a bone of contention for users (although Adobe Creative Cloud discounts can be found).
What Adobe's acquisition of Figma means for creatives
For Adobe, buying Figma makes sense. It dominates many areas of design, but UI has been a bit of an exception. Its own Adobe XD playing catch up to a wide range of other tools and hasn't managed to establish itself like other Adobe products.
Adobe says it will keep Figma going rather than eliminate a rival to Adobe AD, but Figma users are concerned for two main reasons: price and bloat. Many liked Figma's independence and see Adobe as a monopolistic behemoth that's going to want to charge them more money. Figma currently has a free starter plan and a professional plan that starts at $12 per month per editor – significantly less than an Adobe Creative Cloud single-app subscription. However, Figma insists that there are "currently" no plans to change its pricing and that access will remain free for those in education.
Creatives also liked Figma for its streamlined platform's light footprint. They fear that becoming part of Adobe will see it become heavier and slower. What the change will really mean for the platform isn't yet clear, though. Adobe says that "The combination of Adobe's and Figma's communities will bring designers and developers closer together to unlock the future of collaborative design," which is probably just the kind of corporate talk that makes users uneasy.
THREAD: This morning we’re announcing that @Figma has entered into an agreement to be acquired by @Adobe !More information here: https://t.co/eqJsSlkShq (1/9)September 15, 2022
Figma's CEO and co-founder Dylan Field has provided a bit elucidation. He's confirmed that he'll stay in his position after the deal, though he'll now report to David Wadhwani, president of Adobe's Digital Media business. He wrote in a blog post that "Adobe is deeply committed to keeping Figma operating autonomously."
He said he'll work with Wadhwani on how to grow Figma's business but that the Figma team will report to him and will "run Figma the way we have always run Figma – continuing to do what we believe is best for our community, our culture and our business."
He said the partnership aimed to accelerate growth and innovation, with Figma incorporating Adobe's "expertise in imaging, photography, illustration, video, 3D and font technology". Figma will also " have the opportunity to reimagine what the best creative tools could look like within the Figma technology stack."
Field hinted that there will be new products to come. However, he said the company will continue to improve Figma Design, FigJam and the Figma community platform. He added: "One of the trickiest design decisions is when to make a new capability a separate tool vs part of an existing tool. Please know that we have some fun ideas on how to address this issue."
Adobe buys Figma: creatives react
Creatives were quick to react on social media. Of course there are memes aplenty, and many of them are not exactly celebratory. A lot of people have dug up an old tweet that Field posted in January 2021 in which he wrote "Our goal is to be Figma not Adobe", while others are suggesting that they'll move to rival UI design products such as Sketch.
"My heart sank when I read this," one person tweeted in response to Field's announcement. "Happy for the people at Figma, I'm sure this is great for the business. But I think a big part of the magic of Figma, was being it's own thing." "I'm happy to announce I'm raising money to build the next great functional and affordable design tool, as a sudden opportunity in the market just appeared," someone else joked.
Imagine that tomorrow you wake up and see this. Your actions? pic.twitter.com/144mlIG9uwSeptember 15, 2022
Has anyone thought about what @AdobeXD must be going through right now? @figma @Adobe pic.twitter.com/AKGh28WIrGSeptember 15, 2022
Hope this won't happen pic.twitter.com/GU7xNd1DG1September 15, 2022
pic.twitter.com/IOTF6J8fBhSeptember 15, 2022
😅 pic.twitter.com/hE6LYyQoO4September 15, 2022
This promo video I made with @figma @Adobe. Great news guys! pic.twitter.com/FvzqZvahgvSeptember 15, 2022
Next Canva? pic.twitter.com/WSYka2klQOSeptember 15, 2022
Is Adobe's acquisition of Figma really such a cause for concern? The software giant's resources could help develop the platform further and promote it to more users, but we'll have to wait to see what shape it will take and whether the pricing will stay the same in the longer term.
To learn more about UI design, sign up for our online UX design course UX Design Foundations, where you can learn from expert tutors, including contributors from Google, Spotify and more. And for more options for UI tools, see our pick of the best UI prototyping tools. Meanwhile, in other industry news, Corel has a new name and logo – and we have some questions.