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How Figma thinks designers are evolving
Figma just released the State of Design 2023 Report, we summarized to help you on navigating new design landscape.
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Q: How should designers adapt to thrive in the future?
Product designers have seen a whirlwind of changes in the past three years, with work styles transformed and the role of design elevated in many organizations.
So, how are things going?
The world of design is evolving at a breakneck pace, and Figma's latest report gives us a front-row seat to these changes. We’ve summarized the most important points for this week’s newsletter. Today, we’ll explore the top 7 insights from this report and see how they’re shaping the design industry.
The State of Designer: A Snapshot
In a world where digital experiences are pivotal, the role of a product designer has never been more crucial. They’re not just making impressive products— they’re the guardians of the primary customer interface and creators of profound brand experiences.
The rise of remote work, new tools, and workflows have given the design landscape a serious makeover. Ninety-five percent of designers are working from home at least partially. A significant majority (75%) are working remotely more often than before. Improved digital tools have led to increased use of video meetings (85%), digital whiteboarding (70%), and collaborative design tools (76%).
So, with all these changes, are product designers truly in a good place?
My biggest takeaways from this report:
Embrace Collaborative Product Design: Prioritize group sessions and digital collaboration tools in remote work settings to boost creativity and efficiency.
Understand the Business Side of Design: Enhance your role's value by understanding how design choices impact the business and contribute to product strategy.
Adapt to Flexible and Hybrid Work Styles: Adapt to remote and hybrid work by embracing flexible environments and digital communication tools.
Evolve with Design Tools: Stay adept with rapidly changing design tools that cater to hybrid environments, focusing on collaboration and data alignment.
Prioritize effective Group Meetings: Regular group meetings can increase productivity and job satisfaction; use them for collaborative problem-solving and design ideation.
If you have any additional insights, stories, or feedback to share, don’t hesitate to DM me. Otherwise, let’s dive into the insights.
1. Collaborative Product Design Takes Center Stage
Gone are the days when designers worked in silos. Now, it’s all about teamwork. The report highlights a significant shift towards collaborative design, especially in a remote work setup. Think of how teams at Apple might be using digital whiteboarding tools to brainstorm the next big thing in consumer tech.
2. Design and Business: A Match Made in Heaven
Designers are no longer just pixel pushers; they are strategic partners. This alignment between design and business is not just making jobs more enjoyable but also driving business success. Imagine a designer at Google influencing not just the look but also the functionality of a new feature.
Figma: Designers who have a good grip on the business side of things often find their jobs more enjoyable. But let’s be clear—it’s a give and take. Businesses should also appreciate the value of design, and create an environment where designers can confidently display their strategic prowess
When this mutual respect exists, it creates a dynamic balance—designers feel acknowledged, listened to, and appreciated. However, without this synergy, even the most business-savvy designers may feel disconnected.
3. Remote Work Reshaping Design Workflows
With 95% of designers working remotely, at least part-time, the report underlines the adoption of new digital tools and workflows. This trend is probably mirrored in companies like Microsoft, where designers are leveraging tools like Teams to stay connected and productive.
4. The Rise of Flexible and Hybrid Work Styles
The design industry is embracing flexibility, with designers seeking environments that support their individual work preferences. This could be reflected in how Facebook (Meta) allows its designers to choose where and how they work, fostering creativity and innovation.
Figma: In the design world, a significant shift towards flexible, hybrid work styles is evident. A notable 75% of designers have been working remotely more often, with Europe leading—UK at 81%, France at 83%, and DACH at 75%. The trend extends to the Asia Pacific region as well, with ANZ reporting a high of 82% and SEA at 60%. However, the shift isn’t as noticeable in other parts of the world, with lower rates in India and Japan (56%).
And while 51% of designers report that their employers encourage them to work where they feel most productive, a significant 36% are still encouraged to work more from the office. Despite these differences, 73% feel they have more control over their work location than three years ago.
5. Design Tools Evolving Rapidly
The evolution of design tools to accommodate hybrid work is a game changer. For instance, Adobe’s suite of design tools is likely evolving to facilitate more seamless collaboration across distributed teams.
6. The Magic of Group Meetings
Designers who engage in group meetings tend to be more productive and happier. At companies like Amazon, group meetings could be crucial for aligning on customer-focused design solutions.
Figma: More than half of designers (53%) are now turning to group meetings to brainstorm and design together more often, showing a shift in the industry dynamics. Fifty-one percent of designers who design together more often feel they are creating higher quality products, while 38% say they are achieving a quicker time to market.
7. Increased Happiness Among Designers
An interesting takeaway is that designers are generally happier now than before the pandemic. This could be due to improved employment options and a more positive outlook on the profession. This might be especially true in big tech companies that offer competitive benefits and growth opportunities.
Key questions to ask yourself based on this report:
Certainly! Here are seven concise questions for readers to consider after reviewing the Figma report:
How can I improve collaboration with remote teams using digital design tools?
In what ways can my design work contribute more directly to business outcomes
What adjustments can I make to thrive in a flexible or hybrid work environment?
How can I better integrate evolving design tools into my workflow?
What strategies can I use to make group meetings more productive for design projects?
How does understanding the business impact of design enhance my role as a product designer?
What new skills or techniques should I learn to stay ahead in the evolving landscape of product design?
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