Lagos is becoming the design capital of Africa and Figma is making it all happen.
A few weeks ago Figma announced they would be having a Design roadshow across three cities in Africa (Lagos, Accra, and Capetown ) and the Roadshow kicked off last week Saturday at MEST Africa’s Ikoyi office and the turnout was massive. The outdoor ambiance with the nice canopies set up on the sprawling lawn underneath the clear skies would make you wonder if it was a tech meet-up, which was unconventional to the usual indoor and event halls style for meet-ups . Big ups to the Partners Ingressive and MEST Africa.
I was extremely elated to host the event even though i was somewhat skeptic a few days when Namnso called me to inform me. At 12:20 pm I hit the stage to welcome the guests and set the meet-up off proper. We kicked-off with an introductory talk/presentation by Namnso Ukpanah on the definition of a designer, the roles of a designer and what it takes to be a designer in 2018. The high point for me one of his slides that said: “Firstly, a designer is a human being”. I have always had this notion that people believed designers are like fairies that wave a magic wand at problems and boom; it’s solved. Even we ourselves as designers get overwhelmed at times forget this. So dear designer, you are human, remember to breathe 😏
The event continued with a game of Kahoot, this has become a trend in design meet-ups and it was a thrilling experience as members of the audience thumped away at their keypads to win swags and Figma branded items.
We moved on to the panel discussion session which was anchored by the delightful Florence Dairo, Florence is a product designer at Amplified Pay; a fin-tech startup. The panel session had heavyweights in design like Leslie Williams who has bagged so many skills Idoubt I’d be able to list them all here, he’s the lead designer at TeamApt and the founder/Curator of Layrz. next is Joshua Oluwagbemiga aka “Joaccord” who is our own internationally recognized designer, he’s the lead designer at Intellia, and a staunch Arsenal fan. Next is the delectable Bolanle Banwo, she’s a brand identity expert and the founder of TFD Movement ( an initiative she started to mentor women in design) last but not least we have Lade Tawak , Lade is a UX researcher with a major in Psychology, she’s also a co-founder at BookBarterCo and Co-host of UXLagos == usable.
The panel discussion kicked off with our designers telling us how they grew their passion from mere enthusiasm to Expert level and dropped a lot of insights on how they were able to forge their path through design, from being self-taught to defining what they do to their clients and parents; these super talented and strong individuals defied the odds to pursue their dreams. They shared stories of their humble beginnings and their daily struggles as designers.
The High point for me during the discussion was about handling depression and moments when one feels uninspired; Leslie mentioned this was a very important issue and we shouldn't be shy to spring up conversations about it and I personally think we need to discuss a lot more about depression and how we can curb or manage situations like this. He advised attending Meet-ups to connect with like-minded individuals and taking time-off staring at our screens. I will be sharing a few online and offline design communities you can follow later on.
While we were basking in the moment, the skies started turning dark and wham! The rain poured heavily and we had to move the meet-up indoors. Finally, we wrapped up with a hands-on design session which Olusegun Aribido, showed us his process, cool tips and tricks on how to design a Landing page using Figma.
All Good Things come to an End
The Figma Lagos roadshow was indeed a huge success and this has shown that Nigeria designers have a whole lot more to offer the world. I dare to say the some of the best designers can be around here and this is indeed the year of Designers. If you are not a designer or you’re probably new to design, you should take advantage of our special design course and also join any of the design communities below:
Figma Africa Slack Group — A slack channel for designers in and around Africa.
Usable — Usable is also a thriving community of designers and design enthusiast. There’s a meet-up on the last Thursday of every month.