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How to create a significant contribution to Figma Community (and why)

Figma
Figma

Recently we created a new illustration pack, a set of playful comic-like characters. Laptops, computers, a mouse, a pendrive, all brought to life in silly personalities, based on the humor we share at loopstudio (goofy and nerdy). It was such a fun task, we decided to share it with figma’s community, to check out if others found it cool and would like to use them. We’d never done this before, so we had to learn how and why to share content.

This is my guide to you on how to share you projects with others, hope you enjoy it!

What is Figma Community?

Figma community is a wonderful place to find exactly what you need for your project. While you are designing on Figma, you can turn to its community, and it’s like having a resources bank, within the reach of a click.

Community files are design files creators have shared with the Community. Create templates for wireframe, UI kits, asset libraries, illustration packs, designs systems and more. Or share educational resources, interactive tutorials, and tools to use across the design process. For example, you can share a sprint board, or any process board, for others to use as templates.

Why is Community so cool, you may ask?

  1. It’s literally right there: sometimes looking for resources can be overwhelming, there are too many websites, too many resources banks, blogs, open source or payed helps from designers to other designers. The brilliance of Figma Community is that you dont even have to leave Figma to find what you’re looking for, you have one wide plataform that sums a variety of resources, right there next to your team projects.
  2. It’s handy and simple: searching for assets online can take time, hours of browsing, patience. In figma Community, you can easily filter what your looking for, and you always know that anything you find is free to use and editable on Figma (no need of other programs)
  3. Easy to incorporate to your project: find what you are looking for, click on the “Duplicate” button and boom! Now its yours to edit and use freely, you can find it on your “recent” files.
  4. Last but not least, and my personal favorite reason to use Figma Community: you can check out what other designers and teams are working on. You can look for designers and find their community profile, and further more find big teams like Spotify or Dropbox, learn what they’re working on, what their design processes are like, and even interact with them.

Yes, but

Yes, everyone loves figma community, and everyone gains from it, but ¿what are the perks of contributing?

  • It gives visibility to your design
  • You make a stand – you get to show what type of designer you are
  • It’s good publicity – normally, designers have a number of platforms to showcase their work, behance and dribble for example. Figma community is a place to show your latest projects, receive feedback from other designers, and create yourself a portfolio.
  • Shows transparency – If you are a part of an agency or company, showcasing your designs projects a transparent and trustworthy image to posible future clients.
  • Helping the community (the obvious reason to sharing your work)

Now that we’ve established that sharing is awesome, how do we do it?

Step to step on how to share 🙂

Before starting: Create a community profile.

This is not the same as an internal profile, because it’s for everyone in the community to see. Make sure you update your information, add a picture and cover (much like other social media, like twitter or linkedin).

Pay attention to details! This is a way to show your professional path and projects to o ther designers, so check for misspelling, use clean images for profile (1) and cover (2), and include professional information(3), like in what field do you work and in which role. Dont forget to include where you’re from (4), and some links (5) to other profiles like social media or other portfolios, are always a plus to a complete self-image.

Remember, once you upload your files to figma community, they’ll have an attribution of 4.0 International (CC By 4.0) license. This means, that anyone can access, download, and edit in any wich way your file! But they must also give credit to you.

Before starting, make sure you have the permissions necessary to share your file! Ask your boss, your client or/and your teammates if they’re okay with publishing it for open source use.

How to prepare your file – Open source is the way to go!

  • Set a thumbnail!
    This means choosing an appealing picture to previsualize your project, a sneak peak or summary of what people will find when they download your file.
  • Remember to name each page, each layer, asset! It will be much easier to use and addapt.
  • Always think of the user! Remember the user is not you or someone on your team, so you need to be super clear with the nomenclature, the steps to use your file, the pros and cons of it.
  • Don’t try to invent the wheel. Everything is already been invented, and everything has a reason. You dont need to create a completely different design to everything else there is on the community, for it to be useful to others, just by adding your personal touch or showing your personal processes, you’d be contributing. The user is already used to certain type of files, dont go out of your way for something that doesn’t make sense.
  • Iterate
    Before sharing, show it to teammates, friends, family, send it to everyone you know. Someone out of the project may give you a point of view you couldn’t see before. There’s always some detail that others may detect and that you are too absorbed by the project to see.

Sharing is so easy you wouldn’t believe it. 

Step 1, you click on the “Share” button on the top right. Step 2, you go to the “Publish to Community” tab at the top of the modal. Step 3, you publish! Voila! Now you just have to set up your file and you’re good to go.

  1. Chose how to preview your file

You can showcase it as a prototype or as a file. As a file, users can wonder around, zoom in and out, check out the whole file. As a Prototype, the users can click on the hotspots, test your project, interact and navigate the different screens.

You can also choose the scale in wich you want your preview to be shown (Fit or fill to screen or 100%).

  1. Now fill out the basic information about your file

Name: try to include what your file is, for example, is it an illustration pack? A web template?

Description: describe what your file brings to the community, and keep it brief! You can also use this space to give directions on how to use your file or how to credit the author and contributors.

Creators: you can choose who has a role as a creator, and is showcased as contributors to the shared file. Creators must have a community profile and a “can edit” role in the file. Whenever you add someone as a contributor, figma will send them an email wich they can accept or decline.

Tags: use up to 12 keywords to classify and make it easier for the users to find your file. Tags can be up to 25 characters long, and don’t permit special characters or punctuation.

Ready, set, share!

Remember you can only publish from the editor, not from the file browser. You can share both FigJam files and Figma design files.

This are some quick notes for you to take into account when sharing content.

  • Remember Anyone with “can edit” access to the file can publish it. This includes when the file is originally published, as well as any subsequent publishes.
  • When you publish a file, Figma will add a snapshot of that file to the Community. Anyone who duplicates the file gets a new copy, without any updates, version history or comments from the original file.
  • You can continue to make changes to the file once it’s published, then publish any updates to your Community file. Designers and other creators can duplicate the updated version to get access to those changes.
  • Community files are encouraged to be shared and iterated by Figma. You can even publish a copied Community file to the Figma Community if you’ve made it your own.
  • If people remix your file (edit it but keep the essence of the original file going), Figma will add an attribution to the remix’s file page that links to the original Community file.Figma will also add a Remixes section to your file’s page. If there are more than three remixes for a file, Figma will add a dedicated remix tab to your file page. Click See All to view all remixes.

Conclusion

Well done, you made your first contribution to figma community! Now what?

Now you can share your file in other websites and social media, seek for interaction from other fellow designers. You can see how many people download your file and people can leave you likes and comments, keep the ball rolling.

Remember you can always make changes to your designs and republish, you don’t have to have a completely finished and polished design to make a contribution, it doesnt have to be perfect, te important thing is that you’re making a contribution to the design community. Also, remember to allow comments on your file! Receive feedback from other fellow designers, and learn from others experience.

So, in mi opinion, dont wait to get involved, start now. As a member of Loopstudio, I can say sharing the illustration pack gave us a new visibility and a new stand on the local software community. Particularly I think it shows how much importance design has in the software industry, and specially generating new content, and appreciating it’s value in comparison to using downloaded illustrations. Yes, using open source illustration is awesome and saves time, but we should also give back, put out our identity and distinguish ourselves. Otherwise, it sometimes feels that we are all using the same resources and copying each other rather than complementing each other.

Open source is where design is headed, if you ask me. You can see it in the Software field, ask your developer de confianza. The future of design is collaborative, we designers must share and grow from what others share, we learn the most from other teams and peers. So, if you are part of a company, take the time to generate new content, ask for more resources if necessary, stand tall. And if you are a freelance designer, hey, this is a way of generating a portfolio for everyone on the field to see, and at the same time collaborate with other peers (don’t forget to add instructions to receive credit). New clients can find you on figma and hire you, it’s a smart way into the IT world. Go for it!

So, on that note, ¿What do you think is missing from the community? Leave us comments!

Lastly, I part with some humble recommendations on who to follow on figma for inspiration and handy resources.

From the Figma Advocates design team:

Rogie
For useful plugins, witty resources and games for you and your figma team

Noah Leving
For FigJam boards and other useful tips

Companies or agencies

Figma (duh)

Material Design (by Google)

Spotify

Lastly (but most importantly), remember to follow our community profile at Loopstudio. We will keep on adding on! Stay tunned.