Airtable Data Sync with Figma

Hi Community,

About a year ago my team decided to build a creative automation approach based on the 2 fastest growing tools: Figma and Airtable. We started with analysing ways how to connect data on Airtable side with Figma mockups. It seemed the only way is to do that - Figma Plugins. We weren’t satisfied with current Figma Plugins so we’ve built our own Airtable Sync Figma plugin adding an unique feature - pushing generated variations back to Airtable.
We’re using it internally, at the same time now we see mo much interest from Figma community.
I mean it’s not because our plugin is bad, it’s because of low demand - it’s pretty clear if we take a look at stats on FigStats ‘search - airtable’

It’s seems demand was big a couple of years ago. There are these users now?
What do you think?

Welcome to the community, @rakipovich!

Sorry to hear that there is such little demand for your tool. However, the great news is that you’ve created a tool that is valuable for your team! But if you feel like there is a larger market for it, maybe you’ll need to take out some Google search ads or promote it at the upcoming Figma conference (which I just saw on the Figma website). Or maybe create some YouTube videos about it.

However, I’ve been an Airtable consultant for over 6 years and none of my clients have ever mentioned Figma to me. I’ve also never heard anybody talking about Figma in any of the different Airtable communities. In fact, I’ve never even heard of Figma until your post above. (Actually, that’s not true — a few months ago, one of the Airtable employees who got laid off from Airtable took a job at Figma, but I never dived into what Figma is.)

I’ll take your word on it that Figma is one of the fastest-growing tools… but even if it is, are its customers the same customers who use Airtable? As far as I can tell, it looks like Figma is a tool for professional graphic designers? I don’t know if graphic designers are the same people who flock to a no-code database tool.

But if you feel like there is an overlap between Figma customers and Airtable customers, you might want to take the opposite approach by trying to promote your tool to Airtable customers. If you can write a JavaScript app, you may want to think about creating an Airtable extension that gets listed in the Airtable marketplace. You may also want to promote it in Airtable’s Show and Tell community.

p.s. I also just noticed that Make supports Figma, which probably reduces a lot of the need for a plug-in dedicated solely to Figma.

@ScottWorld Make supports Figma just to get main info about a file, not about it’s content (frames, layers, etc) which is crucial for syncing data from Airtable.
Talking about popularity: some very popular no-code solutions like Bravo Studio relay mainly on Airtable and Figma, so they are kinda literally Figma-Airtable based.

Dude. Figma is huge. 100% YoY growth. Higher valuation than Airtable itself.

Confirmation bias? Your clients (people who generally need help with Make) are outside the Figma wheelhouse.

I’m uncertain about the status of the Adobe acquisition, but as pervasive as Photoshop and the rest are among creative professionals, those apps are not web-first collaborative tools. Figma is a crown jewel if Adobe expects to establish a future-proof pathway to AI and modern design collaboration.

I think we can blame this on Airtable’s inability to lean into the design segment as much as they chose to lean into the product management segment.

If you examine Airtable’s marketing for past two years - it’s all about product management. Even Howie starts every interview with “Imagine you have a product, and you need to build a marketing strategy…”. He (and his marketing team) never seem to entertain the idea that you’re possibly building a product and need to ideate concepts.

Airtable is also terrible with text, and I suspect many of the likely teams that could benefit from Figma, have moved to other platforms like Coda, Notion, etc.

I agree.
I use Coda with it’s advanced capabilities for processing data and building small apps.
But Airtable is much popular and has pretty powerful scripting…

Yes, it is. But is it that popular with people in the design world? And if so, why have they demonstrated little interest in your integration solution?

I assume that designers are only slightly familiar with SaaS tools like Airtable, Smartsuite, etc. I think they still use Google Spreadsheets. Even if they are able to generate content using AI they have to store results somewhere.
Personally I have dealt with managers who sends designs through emails and not dashboards like Airtable interfaces.
So it’s seems the only way to solve it is teaching the community (are managers supposed to be community?) how to use such solutions (even simple Notion seems something complicated for them) :man_shrugging:

Indeed. Designers are not data-centric. Project managers are likely the driving force that necessitates a blend of Figma outputs with data.

I think project leaders (vastly) are well aware of the need to use databases to reach project goals. I also think Airtable is selected to serve in this role a lot. Integrating Figma artifacts into data flows is possible without any special tools. In that sense, you are competing with Airtable itself.

Coda has leaned into Figma in a big way here and here.

I’m thinking about adding either Coda or Notion to my consulting services.

btw, If we’re slightly switching our convo to Coda here is a great example how to maintain Figma design system in Coda tables (including AI)

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Go for it! I’ve been dabbling in Coda and it the ability to mix formatted text and media on a canvas page is very nice.

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