Figma Art

How I use Figma

Mastering Figma: Branching Our Way to Seamless Design Collaboration

In the ever-evolving landscape of design, staying ahead requires not just creativity, but also a knack for managing complexity. Late last year, my colleague and I found ourselves at the crossroads of managing numerous Figma projects, files, and prototypes. It was like having a thriving garden, but one that was getting overgrown and hard to navigate. We were facing what I like to call "Figma bloat."

At that point, we decided to dive into Figma's branching feature, and oh boy, what a revelation it turned out to be! Imagine your design process as a branching tree. You start at the roots, cultivating your initial concepts and ideas. As you nurture them, these concepts branch out into various directions, representing different iterations and explorations. Some branches grow stronger and become your primary design path, while others may wither away like leaves in autumn.

This metaphor encapsulates how branching transformed our design workflow. Initially, we followed the conventional Figma approach – creating projects, structuring files into pages, and progressing through stages from the playground to final handoff. Yet, with each iteration, we were accumulating an abundance of files and prototypes that were becoming increasingly difficult to manage.

So, we embraced branching, and here's how it worked wonders for us. We gathered our final handoff designs, like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, and assembled them into a comprehensive product prototype. Although it required some effort, the result was a fully interactive prototype that not only impressed clients but also empowered our sales team to promote the product with unwavering confidence.

But the real magic happened when we started branching for new features and updates. Picture a gardener expertly grafting a new branch onto a mature tree. Similarly, we created branches for each new task, feature request, or Jira ticket. With the freedom to tinker in our own sandbox, we could experiment and refine without disrupting the main design trunk.

Collaboration was seamless – design, product, and engineering teams could scrutinize, refine, and iterate within their branch, knowing that the main prototype remained untouched. Once all parties were satisfied, the branch would seamlessly merge back into the main prototype, enriching it with fresh updates.

The branching approach not only streamlined our workflow but also facilitated effective collaboration. It allowed us to nurture multiple ideas simultaneously, safeguarding the main design while exploring creative tangents. Just like the tree metaphor, some branches became integral to the core design, while others gracefully merged back, enriching the overarching vision.

So, if you're facing the challenges of managing an ever-growing Figma garden, consider branching as your pruning shears. Embrace it as a tool to foster creativity, streamline collaboration, and keep your design process flourishing without getting lost in the foliage of complexity. Happy branching!