Startups are acquired by bigger companies all the time. When a young and dynamic company proves that it has interesting solutions to deliver, it is certain that older and consolidated players will be on the lookout. No surprises there.
In that sense, the purchase of Figma by Adobe shouldn’t shock anyone. But she left. Not only because Figma was establishing itself as a competitor to Adobe itself, but also because of the way the two companies operated. Adobe, famous for its powerful range of software; Figma, for its popular interface design tool that works… in the browser.
The Figma user community received the news with apprehension. Adobe has bought companies before, with mixed results. In any case, it is worth looking at the situation from a practical point of view and reflecting on the place occupied by the tools in the trajectory of the professional who uses them.
Years ago, in 2005, Adobe bought Macromedia, the company responsible for software like Flash and Fireworks. The way these tools have been absorbed by their new owner is one of the reasons for the fear of what might happen to Figma.
Both have been supported by Adobe for a long time. But the impression of many users is that the company has not invested in them as hard as it should. This is what Felipe Santana, product designer and content creator on UX and UI points out:
Macromedia’s programs were doing quite well. The thing about people’s emotional memory is that Adobe stopped listening to the community. And the great fear (with Figma) is exactly that (…): stop bringing innovation, stop bringing updates, stop listening to the community.
Community participation was decisive for Figma’s success. Not just by keeping the tool’s creators informed of what is and isn’t working, but also by creating plugins that enrich the product experience. The future of Figma is indeed worrying if this element is lost.
Whether or not people’s emotional memory is correct, the fact is that fireworks and Flash no longer exist. Your users had to migrate to other solutions. The thing is, Figma has already established itself as a market-leading product. Big tech companies have adopted it. Adobe’s decisions about you will affect a lot of people.
It is not difficult to understand the reason for the fear.
The tool is a means
Mastering tools is important. The market requires professionals who know how to use the main available solutions. But an emphasis on one of them can lead to dependence. And, as we’ve already seen, software can simply be discontinued.
Tools, therefore, need to be seen as just that. And the end, or even bad changes they go through, need to be faced as real possibilities. It is therefore necessary to be open to trying other available solutions to avoid unpleasant surprises.
And perhaps the very development of these technologies already takes this into account. As Felipe Santana points out, several of Figma’s shortcuts are the same as those of sketcha program that before him was the market leader.
The new tools inherit features from Fireworks, Photoshop and others. It is okay to specialize in one of them, as long as it is seen as part of a larger project of professional evolution.
In addition, it is always worth remembering that, today, we already have artificial intelligences that generate art. The trend towards automating purely “human” processes, such as design, is in full swing. This does not mean that machines will be able to do all this work, but that the designer needs to know the fundamentals. And keep studying to offer creativity, not just skill with specific tools.