Figma, Adobe, and the Future of Content Design

On September 15, 2022, Adobe announced an acquisition of the UX Design platform Figma, but the proposed merger between Figma and Adobe has been abandoned. Adobe has withdrawn its $20 billion acquisition bid for Figma. After a regulatory review process spanning fifteen months, Figma and Adobe no longer see a viable path toward obtaining regulatory approval for their intended acquisition.

To bring everyone up to speed: Figma is a software company that provides a platform for designing and prototyping digital products. It was founded in 2012 to revolutionize how designers collaborate and create user interfaces. Within the design industry, Figma offers a cloud-based design tool that allows teams to work together in real time, regardless of their location. With its intuitive interface and powerful features, including community-submitted plugins, Figma has become popular among designers and product teams worldwide. It has gained recognition for its ability to streamline the design process, increase efficiency, and foster collaboration, making it an essential tool for modern digital design projects.

What does the landscape look like?

Examining the competitive landscape for Figma reveals a dynamic market for product development tools, where well-crafted apps and websites are no longer a novelty but an expectation. 

The influence of AI has accelerated innovation. Despite the changing nature of this space, Figma remains actively engaged in conversations with regulators, accentuating the competitiveness and constant evolution within the product development market. Previously, Adobe attempted to compete with a product called Adobe XD, however, Adobe XD was not able to offer the same level of real-time collaboration as Figma, which is a key feature of Figma's platform.

Figma centers its efforts on collaborative product design and development, while Adobe boasts world-class creative tools reaching millions globally. The vision behind their potential merger was to leverage their complementary strengths, aiming to unlock new benefits for consumers that neither company could achieve independently. By acquiring Figma, Adobe would gain access to this technology to integrate it into its product suite, improving its offerings and making its platform more competitive. Additionally, acquiring an already established platform like Figma was more cost-effective than developing a similar platform from scratch.

Despite both companies maintaining their belief in the merger's positive aspects and competitive advantages, Adobe and Figma jointly decided to end the transaction due to a shared assessment that there is no clear path to secure necessary regulatory approvals from the European Commission and the UK Competition and Markets Authority.

Regulators expressed concerns about Adobe's monopoly in the design software market, leading them to resist the proposed acquisition. The fear was that innovation could be hindered by acquiring Figma, a rapidly growing product design platform surpassing Adobe's XD. Designers shared similar worries since the merger announcement in September 2022, but Adobe consistently examined these concerns during the ongoing investigations.

How does Figma impact CX design?

When it comes to design tools, Figma is one of the best options out there. It offers several features that facilitate collaborative design and empower users to create designs without requiring any technical knowledge.

With Figma, it's easy to learn and implement design skills to deliver UX that enhances customer experiences. You can perform prototyping, brainstorming, revisions, and UI design handoffs with the same tool. 

Figma also works with components, making it so popular among designers.
Components are elements that you can reuse in your designs. They help you create and manage consistent designs across projects. Components can be as simple as shapes, buttons, fields, or complex prototypes like cards and menus.

Each component has its configuration panel that allows you to customize its appearance and behavior for each project. You can store these reusable parts in libraries so they are easily accessible when you need them again, or share them with others who may have similar needs.

“Figma has been a design community darling for the last three to four years, rocketing up to (an estimated) ~77% market penetration for Product Design tools” (Steve Dennis)

Figma’s successful Community focused on Modular Design

Figma's thriving community is focused on modular design. The Figma platform is more than just a tool; it is a design ethos and community. 

The ethos is based on constant collaboration and innovation through its open community of plugins. By leveraging these plugins, users can customize their products or services exactly how they need them while taking advantage of existing features developed by experts within the community. Despite the failed acquisition, this community and emphasis on modular design remain valuable to Figma.

The missing ingredient to UX Design

In looking at the design tools, there's something missing from the conversation: the words. Design needs pictures, vectors, AND words. It needs all the content, and content is changing. It's no longer enough to use Lorem Ipsum for place-holder text only for the design to be compromised or re-worked late in the cycle with the actual content inserted.

Content structures matter more than ever, as content elements like titles, teasers, summaries, offers, calls to action, and anything else needs to match across the web, mobile, watch, landing page, email, and other versions. To achieve this, headless systems are bringing reusable component content patterns into the mainstream. Most designers just don't have the time to track down external documentation to look at the content standards or pull up the spreadsheet to make sure they are working with approved components. They design what they want and make developers figure out how to make it wire up in the back-end.

This approach works… as long as nothing needs to be fast, work together, scale, dynamically assemble, or personalize! That's why [A] built the Schematica set of tools to connect design and technology together for component content management systems—getting headless and design systems to work together.

We believe the future of content is structured, compostable, and collaborative and the tools that power this future must be the same. That is why we created Schematica, an integrated set of products that enhances the flow of structured content between designers, developers, and strategists.

Schematica makes it possible to work with content in a way that's more efficient and productive than ever before. From complete software solutions to a variety of plugins, we create bridges across content systems and content silos. 

But designing with place-holder content often leads to broken experiences and frustrating re-designs. With RealContent, a plugin compatible with Figma, it is easy to drop live content directly into Figma because content gets sourced straight out of your content management system.

This means that dragging content onto a page and building customer experiences from that is so much easier than starting over with a blank slate every time there's an update or change of direction. 

With RealContent, you can forget about copy-paste by securely connecting to your Content Management System instance, avoiding costly revisions and improving UX.
But how do teams ensure we can utilize our content templates to their full potential? 
This is where CoreModels, the world's first content model management platform, was built especially for teams moving to headless that need to connect modular content to design processes and content technology.

The platform offers easy-to-use templates for creating visualizations of your content models, making it simple to understand how content is connected and organized. 
Stop wasting valuable time and resources trying to manually manage every single channel – CoreModels is here to help! With its intuitive platform and streamlined processes, CoreModels enables teams to easily create and deliver content across an entire organization without having to invest in expensive new departments.

What to expect for the future of Component Content in Design

As the design space continues to innovate with the inclusion of more tools and connected systems empowering our creatives, here is what we can expect to emerge:
  • Component content as part of the digital production ecosystem.
  • Integrated content automatically imported from a headless CMS.
  • Interacting with modular content components the way you interact with modular design components.
  • The market will understand the advantage of an integrated, headless ecosystem working seamlessly around design collaboration. 
    • This makes the whole ecosystem more valuable!
  • Content and experience designers collaborating with a set of modular-content tools that connect to the design systems.

What is keeping us from this today? The trouble is, content is hard. It has its own schemas from various systems. That might be Adobe Experience Manager, or it might be Contentful, Kontent.AI, ContentStack,, or any of hundreds of other API-exposed content systems. Companies are beginning to understand the immense financial and team-building advantages of connecting systems and utilizing shared standards. [A] enables clients to leverage these techniques for success. For tailored integration or consultation, reach out—or try out one of our easy-to-use plugins if you already have Figma in place!

Despite the failed acquisition, we can still expect component content to be integrated natively into design platforms in the future, with content repositories connected to tools like Figma. Modular content components will likely interact seamlessly with modular design components—more modular, more collaboration. And we believe with RealContent, is more content-integrated. This vision remains achievable even without the Adobe and Figma merger.
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