Step-by-Step Guide: Design an App on Figma for Beginners
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 10 min read


1. Getting Started with Figma: How to Design an App

2. Crafting Your App Layout

3. Enhancing Visual Design for Your App on Figma

4. Designing Interactions: How to Design an App on Figma

5. Collaborating and Sharing Your App Design

Are you curious about how to design an app on Figma? You're in the right place! Figma is an excellent platform for designing apps, and this step-by-step guide will help you navigate the process like a pro. We'll cover everything from setting up your Figma account to collaborating with your team and handing off the final design to developers. Let's get started!

1. Getting Started with Figma: How to Design an App

Before you dive into designing your app, it's important to get familiar with Figma and set up your account. In this section, we'll walk you through creating an account, understanding the interface, and installing essential plugins.

Creating a Figma Account

First things first: you'll need a Figma account. To create one, simply:

  1. Visit and click "Sign up."
  2. Enter your email and create a password.
  3. Select your user type (Individual or Organization).
  4. Choose a plan that fits your needs. They offer a free plan with limited features, which is perfect for beginners!

Congratulations! You now have a Figma account and can start designing your app.

Understanding the Figma Interface

The Figma interface might look a bit overwhelming at first, but don't worry—we'll break it down for you. Here are some key areas to familiarize yourself with:

  • Canvas: The large, central area where you'll create and edit your designs.
  • Layers Panel: Located on the left side, it displays all the objects in your design, organized by layer.
  • Properties Panel: Found on the right side, it lets you adjust settings for the selected object, such as size, color, and position.
  • Toolbar: At the top of the screen, it contains various tools for designing, such as the Pen Tool, Text Tool, and Shape Tools.

With a basic understanding of the interface, you're ready to explore Figma's features and start designing your app.

Installing Essential Plugins

Figma plugins can greatly enhance your workflow and help you design more efficiently. Here are a few essential plugins to consider installing:

  • Content Reel: Allows you to easily add pre-built content, like icons and images, to your design.
  • Unsplash: Provides access to a vast library of high-quality, royalty-free images directly within Figma.
  • Autoflow: Helps you create user flow diagrams by automatically connecting objects on your canvas.
  • Contrast: Ensures your design meets accessibility standards by checking the contrast between text and background colors.

With these plugins installed, you're all set to start crafting your app layout on Figma!

2. Crafting Your App Layout

Now that you're familiar with Figma and have installed some helpful plugins, it's time to start crafting your app layout. In this section, we'll cover wireframing, grid systems, and responsive design—essential steps in learning how to design an app on Figma.

Wireframing: Sketching Your Ideas

Wireframing is the process of creating a basic, visual representation of your app's layout. Think of it as a blueprint that shows the arrangement of elements on each screen. This step is important because it helps you:

  • Organize your thoughts and ideas.
  • Identify potential issues with your app's layout.
  • Communicate your design concepts to team members and stakeholders.

When creating a wireframe, focus on simplicity—use basic shapes and placeholders to represent different elements of your app. Remember, the goal here is to establish a solid foundation for your design, not to create a polished, final product.

Utilizing Grid Systems for Consistency

Consistency is key in app design, and grid systems help you achieve just that. A grid system is a set of guidelines for aligning and organizing elements on your canvas. Using a grid ensures your app has a clean, structured layout, making it easier for users to navigate and interact with. Here's how you can create a grid in Figma:

  1. Select the Frame tool (F).
  2. Draw a frame on your canvas, representing a screen of your app.
  3. In the Properties panel, under the "Layout Grid" section, click the "+" button.
  4. Adjust grid settings, such as column count, gutter width, and margin size, to fit your design needs.

Now you can start arranging elements on your canvas, snapping them to the grid to maintain consistency throughout your app design.

Responsive Design: Adapting to Different Devices

With so many different devices and screen sizes, it's important to ensure your app looks and functions well on all of them. This is where responsive design comes into play. But how do you design an app on Figma that's responsive? Here are a few techniques:

  • Constraints: Set constraints for elements within a frame, dictating how they should resize or reposition when the frame dimensions change.
  • Auto Layout: Automatically adjust the size and position of elements based on their content and predefined spacing rules.
  • Breakpoints: Design multiple layouts for specific screen sizes, allowing your app to adapt to different devices seamlessly.

By incorporating responsive design techniques, you'll ensure your app provides a great user experience across various devices and screen sizes.

3. Enhancing Visual Design for Your App on Figma

With your app layout in place, it's time to enhance the visual design. In this section, we'll discuss selecting the perfect color scheme, mastering typography, and incorporating iconography and visual elements.

3. Enhancing Visual Design for Your App on Figma

Now that you've crafted your app layout, let's take it to the next level by enhancing its visual design. In this section, we'll explore the art of selecting the perfect color scheme, mastering typography, and incorporating eye-catching iconography and visual elements. This is an essential part of learning how to design an app on Figma, as it helps make your app more engaging and visually appealing.

Selecting the Perfect Color Scheme

A well-chosen color scheme can make all the difference in your app's user experience. The right colors can not only grab attention but also evoke emotions and convey your brand's personality. To start, consider these key points:

  • Less is more: Stick to a limited color palette, usually 2-3 primary colors and a couple of secondary colors. This helps maintain a clean, cohesive look.
  • Contrast for readability: Ensure your text is easy to read by using contrasting colors for the background and text.
  • Consistency: Use the same colors throughout your app for a sense of unity and familiarity.

Once you've chosen your colors, you can add them to Figma's Color Styles for easy access and consistency across your designs.

Mastering Typography for Readability

When it comes to typography, readability is key. After all, what good is an app if users can't easily read and understand its content? Here's how you can master typography in your app design:

  1. Choose the right font: Opt for a font that's easy to read and complements your overall design. Aim for one or two fonts—too many can make your app look cluttered.
  2. Size matters: Use a font size that's easily readable on different devices. For example, mobile devices might require a larger font size than desktop screens.
  3. Spacing and alignment: Pay attention to line spacing and text alignment to ensure your content is both readable and aesthetically pleasing.

Remember, mastering typography is an important aspect of learning how to design an app on Figma, so take the time to fine-tune your text elements!

Incorporating Iconography and Visual Elements

Icons and visual elements can add an extra layer of visual appeal to your app, making it more engaging and user-friendly. But, how do you design an app on Figma that incorporates these elements effectively? Here are a few tips:

  • Consistency: Ensure your icons and visual elements have a consistent style and color palette to match your app's overall design.
  • Functionality: Use icons to represent common actions or features, making it easier for users to navigate your app.
  • Size and placement: Consider the size and placement of your icons, ensuring they're easily accessible and don't interfere with other elements on the screen.

By implementing these tips, you'll create an app that not only looks great but is also easy and enjoyable for users to interact with. And there you have it—a step-by-step guide on how to design an app on Figma, from getting started to enhancing the visual design. Happy designing!

4. Designing Interactions: How to Design an App on Figma

You've crafted your app layout and enhanced its visual design, but how do you create an engaging user experience? The answer lies in designing interactions that make your app intuitive and enjoyable to use. In this section, we'll walk you through creating reusable components, prototyping, and testing user interactions. By following these steps, you'll learn how to design an app on Figma that not only looks great but also feels great to use.

Creating Reusable Components

Components are building blocks of your app's interface that can be reused throughout your design. By creating and using components, you'll maintain consistency and streamline your design process. Let's explore how to create components in Figma:

  • Select and create: Choose an element in your design, right-click, and select "Create Component." You've just made your first reusable component!
  • Organize and name: Keep your components organized and easy to find by using descriptive names and grouping related components together.
  • Reuse and edit: Use instances of your components across your design. If you need to make changes, simply edit the main component, and the changes will apply to all instances.

By using components, you'll save time and ensure consistency, making it easier to design an app on Figma that delights users.

Prototyping: Bringing Your App to Life

Prototyping is the process of linking your design elements together to create a functioning, interactive model of your app. This step is essential in learning how to design an app on Figma, as it allows you to see how your app will flow and function in real life. To create a prototype:

  1. Switch to prototype mode: In Figma, click on the "Prototype" tab near the top of the screen.
  2. Create connections: Select an element you want users to interact with, then click and drag the connector (the small circle) to the target frame or element.
  3. Configure interactions: Choose the type of interaction (e.g., "On Click"), the animation, and other properties to customize the user experience.

Now your app is starting to come to life! With a functioning prototype, you're one step closer to mastering how to design an app on Figma.

Testing and Refining User Interactions

Once your prototype is complete, it's time to test your app and gather feedback. This will help you identify any issues or areas for improvement in your design. Here's how to test and refine your app's interactions:

  • Preview your prototype: Click the "Play" button in Figma to open your prototype in a new window, where you can interact with it just like a real app.
  • Observe and learn: Pay attention to how users interact with your app, and take note of any areas where they struggle or get confused.
  • Iterate and improve: Use the feedback you've gathered to make improvements to your design, then test again. This process of iterating and refining is essential in learning how to design an app on Figma that truly meets user needs.

By testing and refining your app's interactions, you'll create a more enjoyable and intuitive user experience. And there you have it—a step-by-step guide on how to design an app on Figma, from getting started to designing interactions. Now, go forth and create amazing apps!

5. Collaborating and Sharing Your App Design

Now that you've learned how to design an app on Figma, it's time to share your work with others and collaborate effectively. In this section, we'll discuss setting up a team workspace, gathering feedback from stakeholders, and preparing your design for implementation. These steps will help you optimize your app design for success and ensure a smooth handoff to developers.

Setting Up a Team Workspace

Working with a team on your app design? It's important to keep everyone organized and on the same page. Figma makes collaboration easy with team workspaces. Here's how to set one up:

  • Create a team: In Figma, click the "+" button next to "Recent" in the sidebar, then choose "Create a new team." Give your team a name, and you're ready to go!
  • Invite team members: Click on your team's name in the sidebar, then click the "Members" tab. Here, you can invite collaborators by entering their email addresses or sending them an invite link.
  • Organize projects: To keep your team's work organized, create projects within your team workspace. This helps you separate different app designs or stages of the design process.

With a team workspace, you'll be able to collaborate effectively and ensure everyone has access to the latest version of your app design.

Gathering Feedback from Stakeholders

Feedback is a crucial part of the design process—it helps you refine your app and make it even better. Figma makes it simple to gather feedback from stakeholders, such as clients or team members. Here's how:

  • Share your design: In the top-right corner of Figma, click the "Share" button. You can generate a shareable link or invite specific people to view or edit your design.
  • Enable comments: When sharing your design, make sure to enable comments, so stakeholders can leave their feedback directly on your Figma file.
  • Respond and iterate: Review the feedback you receive, and use it to make improvements to your app design. This process will help you create a more polished and effective app, as you continue to learn how to design an app on Figma.

Remember, constructive feedback is invaluable in the design process. Embrace it and use it to your advantage!

Developer Handoff: Preparing for Implementation

Once your app design is complete and you've gathered feedback, it's time to prepare for implementation. This involves handing off your design to developers who will bring your app to life. Here's how to ensure a smooth handoff in Figma:

  1. Organize your layers: Make sure your design's layers are neatly organized and named clearly, so developers can easily understand the structure of your app.
  2. Use components and styles: Reusable components and shared styles will help developers understand the relationships between elements and maintain consistency during implementation.
  3. Export assets: Developers will need assets such as icons, images, and fonts. Figma allows you to export these assets easily—just select the elements you want to export, right-click, and choose "Export."
  4. Share design specs: Figma has a built-in "Inspect" mode that allows developers to access design specs, such as dimensions, colors, and typography. Make sure your developers have access to this information to ensure accurate implementation of your app design.

By following these steps, you'll ensure a smooth transition from design to development, bringing you one step closer to launching your app.

Congratulations! You've now learned how to design an app on Figma, from getting started to collaborating and sharing your design. By putting these tips and techniques into practice, you'll be well on your way to creating amazing, user-friendly apps that stand out in the digital world. Happy designing!

If you're eager to dive deeper into app design using Figma, don't miss the workshop 'Start Designing in Figma' by Tetiana Gulei. This workshop is perfect for beginners looking to expand their skills and learn the ins and outs of designing an app in Figma. Take your design skills to the next level with this comprehensive, step-by-step workshop!