Any designer worth their salt familiarizes themself with Figma and Adobe Illustrator (AI) pretty early on in their design journey (and of course, since you’re reading this, you definitely are). I myself didn’t start out with Figma but rather Adobe XD. So, Adobe holds a special place in my heart, and while both have their advantages, Figma quickly rose to rival Adobe XD and became a must-know design tool in the UI/UX space.
One of the challenging aspects of design work is quickly and easily transferring files between the various software that you use. Through this step-by-step guide, you will learn how to easily import files from Illustrator to Figma, two of the most important applications in the design process.
Let’s start by going over two methods for importing AI files.
SVG is the best file format to import into Figma. This is because this file type makes it so scaling a design up or down doesn’t change the file’s resolution, which is important for any sort of design work. It also lets you directly edit the file in Figma so you don’t have to keep going back to Illustrator for minor edits. The steps are simple:
Keep in mind that this is for the Mac UI. For you PC users out there, it might look slightly different.
Once you’ve got the SVG file ready, you can drag it directly into a Figma file and voilà, you’ve successfully imported an Illustrator file into Figma.
Plugins are a must for optimizing your design workflow. Oftentimes, applications can be restricted in their functions, and plugins serve as a way of adding additional functions to the already complete application to make life easier for yourself. One such plugin is Convertify.
Convertify is a plugin used to easily import various file types into Figma. Using it is pretty simple as well.
Once this is done, you should have a fully editable vector file in Figma ready for you to design with. Keep in mind, though, that it is important to select Import artboards as vector layers. Otherwise, it will import your file as a bitmap which will make it lose its sharpness and you won’t be able to directly edit all components.
Both methods have their pros and cons and can be used however you want. I’ve personally been using method one for a long time. Therefore, that’s what I’m used to.
The Illustrator files I’ve worked with in the past often have more than one design on them at a time, which makes it easier for me to export an individual section as an SVG then paste it into Figma. This is, however, not nearly as seamless and easy as simply pressing a few buttons and having the file directly imported into Figma for you.
Furthermore, the plugin has additional useful features that you can use for free with the only downside being that you’d have to upload your entire document, so if your workflow is anything like mine, that becomes rather inconvenient very quickly.
The great thing about these two methods is that when issues arise with one of them, you can switch to the other one and the problems generally solve themselves. There are, however, some issues to keep in mind while using either method.
When using the drag and drop method, some complicated curves in lines are altered when they move from AI to Figma. Some components merge and become one entity when they shouldn’t, and complicated patterns can also simply disappear.
The solution for this is to generally use the plugin method and select Import artboards as vector layers. By doing this, each line, layer, pattern, and component in your design will be editable in Figma.
When using the plugin method, if you’re importing a logo for example, any text you have in that logo will also become an editable component. This means that you won’t be able to change letters and text afterward, but simply move them around or change their color.
While Convertify is aware of this issue, they haven’t yet found a fix for this. This issue hasn’t been a very complicated one for me while working on designs. I often move back and forth between both applications anyway, so multiple imports of the same design can often be part of my design process. When I want to directly edit or change a letter, this matters even less.
Furthermore, I’ve always tried to keep any text-based work in Figma, while all the graphics and design work is relegated to AI. Any missing fonts in one application can be imported, which has made this issue mostly obsolete, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind while designing.
Importing Illustrator files in Figma no longer has to be a hassle. With both methods outlined above, this has become very easy to do. Through these methods, you can streamline your design workflow and instead focus on creating fantastic designs.
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