Highlights from Figma’s ConFig 2023
This year’s conference (the first in-person since 2020) was incredible, both in terms of the overall experience as well as the actual content. The event sold out (10,000 in-person tickets), and San Francisco’s Moscone Center was teeming with designers, developers, product managers, and leaders from the design community. One North sent a multidisciplinary team representing visual design, development, product/UX design, and sales.
The rest of our distributed teams hosted watch parties virtually at our office In Chicago and across the US & Canada.
Figma’s agenda was packed with incredible content and speakers over the course of the two-day event. Our team loved hearing from speakers such as Brian Chesky (founder, AirBnb and the only Fortune 500 CEO who started as a designer!), Reid Hoffman (founder, Linkedin), Bret Taylor (former co-CEO of Salesforce and former chairman of the board at Twitter), and Ovetta Sampson (head of Machine Learning at Google), just to name a few.
The event kicked off the first morning with a keynote from Dylan Field, Figma’s founder and CEO, where he announced a series of huge new product features.
Here were some of the highlights:
- Variables—Figma’s answer to “Design Tokens,” or reusable values that can be applied to create efficiency and consistency across design systems and the products that use them.
- DevMode—Figma continues to close the gap between design and engineering, and this new mode accelerates that even more. “DevMode” gives developers their own panel to access and collaborate with designers directly in the file.
- Advanced Prototyping—Figma announced more updates to their prototyping toolkit to help designers create realistic, interactive prototypes. Coupled with the new Variables feature, Figma is becoming a powerful all-in-one tool.
- Figma’s acquisition of Diagram, an AI tool for design—We got to see some demos of this in action and are super excited about the potential for AI to make our processes more efficient. AI was a huge topic throughout the conference, particularly on day 2. We loved hearing talks about AI ethics in the development of GenAI tools, as well as what our industry leaders see on the horizon.
In addition to the terrific content, the event itself was very thoughtfully designed. Our team noticed right away how inclusive the conference was—e.g., there was ASL at every talk in addition to closed captioning, lactation rooms, meditation/quiet rooms, and more.
The design of the conference itself was amazing; Figma’s brand team really outdid themselves from everything to signage, schwag, and physical event design. The primary motif of the event was reoccurring pictograms throughout the venue that even included some stickers my kids loved playing with when I got home! Each pictogram represented a different theme:
They applied these pictograms across all sorts of physical and digital collateral. I especially loved how they came together in these applications:
Even the bag for the morning donuts on day one featured a pictogram:
To read more about the brand team’s design of the event, here’s a great thread detailing their work.
One North’s team returned from the event invigorated by the energy of the community and excited to help our clients unpack Figma’s new features. We’re already looking forward to ConFig 2024!
There was no shortage of inspiration and note taking during ConFig 2023. Be on the lookout for additional blog posts and thoughts from my colleagues Benjamin Ellis, Nick Villapiano, and Ashley Briggs, who also attended this year.
Hero Photo: Codioful (Formerly Gradienta) | Unsplash
Additional Figma Design Photos: Damien Correll | Figma
As Managing Director of Design, Jessica leads One North’s Design and Front-End Development disciplines and helps facilitate the seamless collaboration between these teams. She partners with clients to deliver innovative solutions–including creative strategy, website design concepts and brand development–and provides unique perspective on the crossroads of design and technology.
If I were a vegetable: I would be a bhut jolokia (ghost pepper) because it’s the closest vegetable I could find to HOT SAUCE.
Favorite color: Maize. 2nd favorite color: Blue.