The second guide introduces the concept of “container queries”, which are slowly gaining adoption in CSS and will fundamentally change the way we approach responsive design. Christine compares the current approach of using media query breakpoints with container queries and investigates how to imitate them with the current Figma features.
Two new articles in the UX Collective from Christine Vallaure, who graciously shared free “friend links” with Figmalion readers. The first one explores a new approach to creating responsive designs with variables and modes, whereby components automatically adapt to the screen size they are placed on and only resize within the provided breakpoints. In this case, variables automate which component gets displayed and set stops at certain minimum and maximum points to stay inside your breakpoint range. I had no idea that string variables can be used to select a variant of the component 🤯
Allie Paschal writes about her process of migrating the Native Mobile Design System from using color styles to variables. Pretty cool to see that she already adopted a newly released scoping for color variables. I didn’t realize that some companies may not allow external plugins in Figma, so it’s nice to see that this process is completely manual and self-sufficient.
A few improvements to variables: 1) in addition to scoping number variables, you can now also scope color variables, 2) select multiple variables with Shift or Cmd for the bulk edit, 3) code syntax for defining different names for multiple platforms, and 4) modes for instance sublayers. Variables are still in beta and it’s great to see how fast the team iterates on them.
“In this Study Hall, learn how to apply the use of variables in your prototypes with the assistance of variable modes and conditional logic to create a more realistic shopping cart prototype that uses real math.”
Ridd interviews Luis Ouriach about using variables for his Deep Dives podcast. “Luis goes deep into strategies based on team size, provides naming guidance, and even breaks down how he thinks about structuring libraries with variables in Figma. Lastly, Luis shares a behind-the-scenes of his journey as a designer advocate and even gives a unique prediction for how AI will take shape inside of Figma.”
A new plugin from the Tokens Studio: “Already have your variables set up and want to bulk apply them to your work? You can swap styles with variables or apply variables that match raw number values to elements in any file with access to your variables collections!” See also the walkthrough video.
Interested in learning how to migrate from Styles to Variables? Join Luis Ouriach, Akbar Mizra, Jacob Miller from Figma, and Jack Minogue from Ford for a look at approaches you can use to lower the friction of your rollout of variables.
Christine Vallaure reminds us of using Selection Colors for applying variables to multiple objects.
Tip: Quickly add #figma color variables. Don't select each element individually -make a bulk selection and jump to "Selection colors" at the end of your properties panel. Easy and efficient! This way, you ensure you don't miss any elements and can even out slight color imbalances pic.twitter.com/NZsHU9a16A
Carly Ayres from Figma sat down with the people working across design systems tooling both inside and outside Figma to understand what the rise of tokens and features like variables mean for the future of design systems.