I built one of Sketch’s largest online communities…
And now I’m joining Figma
Over six years ago the door to design was opened for me. I fell into a world of colors, typography, a few pixels to the left, a few pixels to the right, whitespace, prototypes, critiques, feedback, and more. And… I loved it all!
I’d like to take the credit for all of this, but really, I owe it to a tool called Sketch.
As a young, new designer, I found it to be the perfect platform to help me grow. It allowed me to quickly get my ideas out of my head and onto the screen without the clutter and learning curve of something like Photoshop. As Sketch became my daily driver, I wanted a way to connect with other users, so in 2014 I started the Team Sketch Slack group. This community quickly grew to include over 5,800 designers, devs, and other Sketch fans. I ate, slept, and breathed the tool and its community, and I couldn’t have ever imagined heading in a different direction.
But then, I found Figma. As I migrated the Sketch community from Slack to Spectrum this past year, I unintentionally stumbled on Figma’s community. I’ve always been a fan of Figma and even though I did most of my work in Sketch, I started using Figma whenever I could. From fun side experiments to small client projects, I began to understand the true power and flexibility of a collaborative design tool that runs in the cloud.
It wasn’t long before I was spending more and more time in the Figma community, answering questions, participating in conversations, and learning from other users. I wanted to know what it would be like to build a community for a tool based around the principles of inclusivity and collaboration.
So, today’s personal news, in a way, was always in the cards — I’m stepping down from managing my Sketch group and joining Figma, as their first community manager. Sketch will always hold a piece of my heart, but I’m excited for the community-building potential that Figma’s web-based model has to offer.
Expanding design’s footprint
When running Team Sketch, I discovered that I love the intersection between design and building communities. It’s amazing to have a group of people come together with a shared interest, to engage and connect with each other. I also found a great deal of joy in helping other aspiring designers explore and apply their craft.
Hand in hand with these discoveries, I learned more about the problem of access to design. It never seemed fair to me that only people with certain kinds of computers could use design software, or that people from less privileged backgrounds might never get the chance to explore design if they couldn’t afford software licensing fees.
I wanted to build a community on the foundation of shared interests and inclusivity, and I ultimately realized Figma had a lot of potential for enabling that.
Because Figma runs in the browser and offers a free tier, anyone with a cheap Chromebook and an internet connection can use it. This opens the door to a whole group of people that were previously locked out. Figma’s user base reflects that, with an audience that is global — 80% are based outside the United States. It has a huge population using Windows, people who were previously stuck trying to adapt legacy software like Photoshop to digital design.
From a community standpoint this creates a great foundation for a diverse group of people to come together.
I’m also looking forward to bringing the community together in the tool as well. Because it runs on the web, this makes it possible for community based design experiments, like open source projects or live feedback sessions.
What to expect from the Figma community
So, what will I be doing in this role? As Figma’s first community manager you can expect to see a lot more activity in the community both online and offline. I have plans to provide more opportunities to get involved in the conversation and to participate in things like AMA’s, feedback sessions, meetups, events, workshops, and more. Overall, I’m extremely excited about this new chapter in my life and I can’t wait to see you all in the Figma community!
Join the conversation here on Spectrum, and don’t be afraid to reach out to me via dm or on Twitter with your ideas. Also, If you haven’t tried Figma yet, head over to Figma.com to sign up for a free account!