Creators need creators

Today we are introducing new selling tools and the Figma Creator Fund for Figma Community. Designer Advocate Rogie King reflects on his journey learning design, and talks about why these additions are important for the next generation of Figma Community.

I cut my teeth in design during the early days of HTML/CSS. Back then, designers like me didn't have a central location to share information and techniques. It was through other designers’ blogs and design websites that I was able to learn about cutting-edge front-end development and design. I even started my own blog, where I’d share my own ideas, experiments, and resources—everything from social media icons, to writing about how to use pure CSS to create star rating systems. Sure, I felt like an imposter (there was still so much to learn), but just as I’d so easily connected with makers who were figuring things out in the open, I found an audience within my community. The only prerequisite for getting a seat at the table was putting a compelling idea out there.

Many icons representing digital products are laid out on a screen, with a cursor on the bottom righthand corner.Many icons representing digital products are laid out on a screen, with a cursor on the bottom righthand corner.
Social Network Icon Set, circa 2009. I admit, I would make some changes, but these were bangers back in the day.

Almost 20 years later, sharing ideas out in the open is still one of the best ways to learn and innovate in the digital space. In my opinion, Figma Community really changed the game by enabling people to jump right into real files, in all their layered glory.

Growing together

What started out as a tab with 49 plugins, contributed by a small cohort of avid enthusiasts, has now grown to include resources from huge design organizations and even more skilled creators. There are over 75k of you, publishing your ideas to Figma Community. You’ve collectively built almost 130k resources. That’s wild! Everything from mind-blowing automation and animation plugins, to FigJam widgets that bring us together—not to mention UI kits, hacks, and techniques that save us all countless hours and give us a glimpse into the genius of how you use Figma.

Community is a place where, like the early blogs I remember so fondly, the goal is simply to learn and grow together. That’s really what led me to join Figma as an advocate—being able to tap into that hive-mind creativity. As an open source platform, Figma opens up so many possibilities for creating powerful, workflow-changing plugins and design files. It’s also why I’m excited we’re investing in improving the experience for creators and consumers: Today we are introducing new ways to sell resources and streamlining the ecosystem for both creators and consumers.

A tweet against a blue background.A tweet against a blue background.

Paying it forward

Love of craft fuels creators. Their happy place is being in the zone, building components, or programming a rad plugin. And herein lies the rub: work takes work. It means that, for many creators, it’s not just about shipping an idea. It’s about juggling a lot of logistics, like buying a domain, building a website, hosting for a server, launching a social media campaign, setting up payment processors, managing refunds (and maybe an angry customer or two), forgotten license keys, and more. What happens to the passion when all the logistics get in the way? You’ve descended into a world of business, and that just isn't what got you into the biz.

Having authentication, payment, and licensing built-in takes the hassle out of logistics and lets us focus on making more awesome stuff.Having authentication, payment, and licensing built-in takes the hassle out of logistics and lets us focus on making more awesome stuff.

New selling tools will unlock so much for our creators: plugin developers will be able to access more powerful APIs (that are typically paid). Support for one-time, one-click payments, the ability to create and customize free experiences with our payment API, and to give users access without having to email files or deal with license keys—as well as an improved tracking and metrics dashboard—will streamline the process for creators and help them understand impact and reach. On the consumer end, being able to buy directly from the community—with improved discovery with labeling between paid and free resources, as well as and try-before-you-buy features—will give our customers confidence that they can get what they need.

In addition to improving our creator tools, we’re also announcing the Figma Creator Fund, which will reward grants to creators who are making free resources for the community. Using and building free and paid resources from the community were critical in helping me grow professionally as a maker. And at Figma, we believe the best kind of community supports both: It's sustainable for creators and accessible to consumers. I built my career on sharing my knowledge and craft for free, but as life, family, and responsibilities changed, I found I had less free time to give. A mentor of mine told me, “You need to value your work and charge for some of it.” I had to put a value on my time. You simply cannot live off of “exposure.” As our industry scales, I see this push and pull playing out across all facets of our community, which is why the Creator Fund means so much to me. It allows creators to keep giving back to the community in a way that’s sustainable and truly honors the time and dedication it takes to make great work.

What will you make?

Like so many of the creators in our community, I continue to find joy in sharing an icon set or auto layout hack, or staying up to the wee hours of the night to develop a plugin for the simple pleasure of finding out it’s useful to someone else. I’ve also woken up to great suggestions, feature requests, and bug reports. It’s part of the spirit of what we’re all doing here—helping each other.

I’m excited to see what our new selling tools and the Figma Creator Fund help our community build—whether it's helping creators double down on innovation, or incentivizing the extra hours needed to take your idea to the next level. This is just the beginning, which means, if you have ideas or feedback, please share them. We are here for you, because without you, we wouldn’t be here at all.

Got a big idea you want to share with the community for free, or looking for an opportunity to supplement your income? Explore ways to fund your creativity, and learn how we're helping makers find, share, and sell on Figma Community in our release notes.