Home Web graphics The American mega-startup has its sights set on Japan

The American mega-startup has its sights set on Japan


Effective design can mean the difference between success and failure in online services, and San Francisco-based startup Figma has spent a decade designing for success. NHK World’s Yuko Fukushima spoke with its CEO as the company targets Japan.

Figma is a web-based graphics editing application that dramatically reduces workloads and working times by allowing multiple users to edit files simultaneously.

Since its inception in 2012, Figma has signed with a series of global companies, including Google, The New York Times and BMW. It has not yet been made public, but it has been valued at $10 billion.

CEO Dylan Field has capitalized on a changing mindset. He explains that many companies used to approach design like “lipstick on a pig” – making things look good after all the other work was done.

“We all know now that’s not what design is. Design is integral to how you actually create a product and what you need to do to make a product successful,” Field says.

The Figma CEO says design is important for companies to communicate effectively visually with customers.

He says that mindset is now reflected in hiring trends, citing IBM as an example. He notes that in 2012, the company only employed one designer for every 72 developers. Five years later, the ratio was 1:8. Field says Dropbox, a data storage platform, is also recruiting creative talent.

Companies are racing to hire designers.

Change isn’t just happening in the tech sector. Traditional businesses are making design a central pillar of their business as much of the world transitions to a digital economy.

“We’re seeing banks and airlines adopting Figma, not just in the US market, but in other markets as well,” Field says. “Banks, for example, are interesting. If you join a bank, you’re there for life. But now we’re seeing neo-banks. We’re seeing disruptors popping up online, and banks are realizing that they also have to have a great design and a great customer experience. Otherwise, people will leave their bank,” he says. “Customers are willing to go somewhere else because they appreciate the design. They want great experiences.”

Dylan Field says the design has untapped potential.

Make design accessible

One of Figma’s core philosophies is to make design accessible to everyone, not just experts. Two-thirds of Figma users are not professional designers. Field also emphasizes a commitment to younger generations.

“We’re offering Figma for free to all students because we know there’s so much demand in the market for designers, and all these companies are trying to hire designers. We want to support this next generation.”

Field wants to help young people discover design.

The Japanese market has potential

Japan is the first market that Figma enters in Asia. “I think Japan has this chance to take a leap forward, and not just to digitally transform, but also to do what we see people doing after their digital transformation, which is to implement great design and make sure their users, their customers, have the best design experiences,” Field says.

Field thinks it’s only a matter of time before Japan catch up with Figma. He says many young Japanese are interested in design as a career.

“What we’re seeing globally right now is that if you have a great design, you might win. And if you don’t, you might get disrupted. We’re very patient. He has us took five years to create our first US dollar. . So we can wait a long time if we need to.”