50+ Figma Terms

Figma is a web-based, collaborative design tool that was created by the minds behind Adobe Illustrator. Figma has rapidly become one of the best tools for UI/UX designers to create and share designs with their clients. The interface can be confusing at first, but this guide will help you understand what each element stands for!

  • AB/ Test: An A/B test is a common technique used to determine which of two versions performs better.
  • Aesthetic-usability effect: The aesthetic-usability effect occurs when an aesthetically pleasing design can improve the usability and experience for end users, as well as making it more memorable.
  • Agile: Agile methodologies are project management frameworks that are focused on following customer-driven changes and delivering working software to users quickly.
  • Alignment: Alignment refers to the position of objects in relation with one another, typically found by clicking the small alignment icon at the top left corner of a layer or group.
  • Alt text: The alt attribute generally provides alternative information about an image if it can’t be displayed for some reason; this is especially important when designing websites so they’ll still provide a good experience even without images being loaded (e.g., slow internet connection).
  • Ascender: An ascender is any character which rises above other characters within a typeface, including lowercase letters like b or d as well as uppercase letters such as H or I.
  • Aspect ratio: The aspect ratio is the measurement of an object’s width to its height, which can be expressed either as a decimal fraction (e.g., “16:09”) or in notation such as 16×09 for widescreen video formats.
  • Baseline: Baselines are used typography – they represent where letters seem to sit on a page when typeset next to one another; this term typically refers specifically to the baseline that runs through capital letter M in the alphabet diagram known as Arial.
  • Bitmap graphics: Bitmap graphics come from an older computer design era and have more limitations than vector images, but can often be saved at much higher resolutions and served faster over the web than vector graphics.
  • Boolean operation: Boolean operations, which are often written as a plus sign (+) with two options to the right of it (e.g., “colors + black and white”), refer to mathematical equations that can be applied on layers in Figma; these calculations allow you to create various types of color filters or blend modes for your design projects.
  • Bézier curve: A Bézier curve is an object in computer graphics that’s used to connect points by using a smooth transition between them without requiring any additional shapes.
  • Colophon: The colophon usually appears at the end of books, but designers frequently include this information about themselves and their project near the bottom left corner of their design.
  • Counter: A counter is the space between two vertical lines of text within a paragraph, such as an H or I in “Figma Terminology.”
  • Descender: The descender on any letter refers to its measurement from the tallest part of that letter (typically at the ascenders) to the bottom point of it; for instance, J has one long descending line while T only has a short horizontal stroke.
  • Design brief: A design brief can be used by designers to effectively communicate what they’ll need and how—it might include information about target users, project goals/objectives, specifications for colors and typefaces, etc.
  • Empathy: Empathy allows us to put ourselves into someone else’s shoes, to see the world from their perspective by imagining what it would be like if we were in that situation.
  • Exposure: Exposure is typically measured on a scale of -20 (shade) through 20 (bright). It can also refer to how much light falls onto an object within a photo or design project; for example, darker images often have less exposure and vice versa.
  • Fluent Design System: Fluent Design System revolves around five principles—motion, depth, material, scale, and lighting—that are intended to help users better understand and interact with digital products.
  • Font family: A font family refers to all fonts created under one name or trademark such as “Times New Roman.” This category usually includes many different font variations, such as bold, italicized and underlined.
  • Gradient: A gradient is a gradual change from one color to another; it’s often used in web design or digital art when the background image changes gradually (e.g., from light blue to dark blue).
  • Gutter: The gutters of a page are typically found on either side of type set within columns that span across the width of an entire column—they’re called this because they act like “spacers” for text blocks between two pages. Gutters can also refer to white space around elements such as images or other graphics that helps them stand out more against their background.
  • HEX value: Hexadecimal colors use six digits to represent a color in the RGB value, where each digit corresponds to one of three colors; this allows you to create various shades for any given hue.
  • Hero image: A hero image is typically an oversized and visually stunning design that grabs your attention immediately—it’s used as a way to provide some context or tell people what they can expect from the rest of the layout.
  • Hierarchy: Hierarchy determines how information should be prioritized so users know what’s most important on a page or project at-a-glance. The two basic types are linear hierarchy (which ranks items alphabetically) and nonlinear hierarchy (where higher levels have greater “distance” between them). Inclusion: Inclusion refers to the act of including a group that was previously excluded from the conversation or not fully represented in something.
  • Index: An index is an alphabetical listing, usually found at the back of certain books and other publications, which offers access to specific pages within a research document.
  • Iteration: Iterations are changes made during any stage of design; for instance, designers might make iterations on their designs after they complete them as well as before they start working on them—this process can help identify potential problems before they happen.
  • Justified: Justifying type refers to how it has both margins equally spaced between letters (e.g., left-justification) so all lines align neatly together when set with wide columns of text. The opposite of this is ragged-right text, which has irregular spacing and uneven margins.
  • Kerning: Kerning refers to the process of adjusting letter spacing in a word by tweaking its individual letters so that certain pairs don’t look out of place (e.g., “N O”) or too crowded together (e.g., “TH E”). This technique can also be used with punctuation marks such as periods, commas and quotes within sentences; for example, you might space them closer together at the end of a sentence than when they appear elsewhere on the page or screen because their location determines how much weight they carry in terms of meaning.
  • Layout grid: A layout grid is made up one or more rows and columns—it’s a system of measurement used to position elements in the right place relative to one another.
  • Letter case: Letter case refers to how text is styled based on whether it appears as an initial letter or not (e.g., capital, small). Letters that appear only at the beginning of sentences are usually set in uppercase letters; whereas words following those same letters would be lowercase.
  • Margin: Margins provide some space between page elements so they don’t collide with each other when viewed online or in print.
  • Material Design: Material design is Google’s comprehensive guide to visual, motion and interaction design across platforms and devices for a consistent experience built around thoughtful principles of modern psychology.
  • Midline: The midline refers to the center line that runs through text; the baseline indicates where letters sit relative to it or above/below it.
  • Mood board: A mood board is usually made up of images (or other visuals) from different sources that are used as inspiration when designing something new—it’s generally created by someone who has expertise in the field they’re working on so their vision can be translated into reality with greater accuracy than if you were trying to do this without any reference points at all.
  • Negative space: Negative space refers to the space around an object. Padding: The padding refers to how much room is between two elements (e.g., text and border).
  • Pixel: A pixel is a basic unit of measurement in digital imaging, equal to one dot on your screen or page; it’s also used as shorthand for “picture element.”
  • Points: Point-size measurements are traditionally used when describing fonts that have been manually set using metal type—though these days most people use pixels instead because they’re more accurate and easier to measure.
  • Prototype: Prototypes are versions of something created before the final version takes shape so you can test them out without risking any wasted time or effort later on.
  • Redlining: Redlines are typically sketched sketches with red ink that are placed over a project to indicate where changes need to be made.
  • Raster graphics: Rasters refer to images in which pixels and their placement on the screen or page determine how colors appear—they’re like pixelated versions of photographs. These serve as an alternative for those who don’t want typefaces, but still want some form of visual design instead (e.g., illustrations). Some people also use rasters when they don’t have access to vector editing software such as Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape because it can create crisp-looking artwork without needing any expensive programs; however, this is debatable depending on what you want out of your final product so some designers will argue against using these types of images for this reason.
  • Readability: Readability refers to how easy something is to read because it usually has a lot of text on small-ish screens and so the space for reading needs to be flexible enough that people can still easily see what they’re trying to read without straining their eyes too much or having any other problems. It also touches on things like font selection, line spacing, letter case (e.g., capitalizing words), and more—in general, you want your content as readable as possible when designing an app in order for users to get through its features with ease.
  • Scrum: Scrum is short for “scheduled incremental development” which means breaking tasks down into smaller parts that are scheduled at different points of time and worked on sequentially.
  • Skeuomorphism: Skeuomorphism is a design principle that takes its inspiration from the real world by recreating familiar, physical textures (e.g., paper) in digital form; it’s often used for interfaces because people are more comfortable with these types of interactions than they would be with something completely abstract or unfamiliar to them.
  • Sprint: Sprints refer to a set period of time during which developers work together to create an application as quickly and efficiently as possible—usually without any interruptions so their focus remains laser-sharp throughout this process.
  • Storyboard: Storyboards are representations of how various shots will appear within a video sequence such as motion graphics or animation.
  • Stroke: A stroke refers to a single, continuous line of text that runs either across or down the page—e.g., roman numerals are written with vertical strokes (i, ii, iii) while lower-case letters have horizontal ones (a, b).
  • Typeface: Typefaces refer to how something is designed when it comes to typography and type selection; they typically call into question size as well as other factors such as weight (thin versus bold), serifs (those little decorative lines at the end of lettering), legibility in small print against backgrounds like red or blue, x-height measurements for certain fonts so you can see what’s set apart from one another without any problems, and other considerations.
  • Typography: Typography is the craft of arranging type in clever ways to make it aesthetically pleasing for those reading it—it could involve anything from increasing readability with a font size increase, decreasing spacing between letters by using kerning (i.e., what’s set apart), adding decorative touches like embellishments or drop shadows, etc.; all these things are done so that readers can consume the content more easily without any issues when they’re looking at your work on their screens.
  • UI/UX design: UI stands for “user interface” while UX refers to “User Experience.” The two go hand-in-hand because designers need to be mindful about how easy something is to use as well as how aesthetically pleasing it is for the user; they’re both important factors when designing an app.
  • Vector: Vector graphics are created with shapes and lines that can be scaled without quality loss—they don’t need to be rasterized like JPEGs which have pixel-based images, so this makes them a popular choice for UI/UX designers because they scale easily depending on what’s needed. They also come in handy if you want to animate elements within the design at some point down the line since vectors allow for more creative freedom (e.g., animating text onto objects). However, vector files (.ai) tend to take up a lot of space compared to their bitmap counterparts (.png), but there are ways around this by embedding them in a way that takes up less space.
  • Weight: When referring to typefaces, weight refers not only to how thick strokes are but also the force behind it; this varies from thin and light (e.g., when you’re using Courier) to bold and heavy for more impactful typography (e.g., Century). You can’t just throw on any font without thinking about what kind of impression your content will convey—if you want something sleek with minimalistic design, go with an elegant sans-serif like Futura while if there’s high demand for readability or importance needs to be emphasized at all times then choose seriffed fonts such as Times New Roman or Garamond instead.

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