Vector Networks in Figma

Figma Vector Networks

New design tool Figma (currently in private beta) is earning plaudits for creating a robust, commercially viable UX/UI design application entirely inside the browser. That technical achievement aside, there is some interesting original thinking in the feature set, too. In this recent Medium post, co-founder Evan Wallace goes into detail on their new approach to paths, which they’ve re-imagined as “vector networks”:

A vector network improves on the path model by allowing lines and curves between any two points instead of requiring that they all join up to form a single chain. This helps provide the best of both worlds; it combines the ease with which points can be connected on paper and the ease with which geometry can be manipulated once it’s drawn. Splitting and recombining geometry is much more natural with vector networks. Delete anything, anywhere. Connect anything to anything else. Stroke cap and join styles just work naturally in vector networks, even for points with three or more lines coming off of them. This isn’t the case for paths because it’s impossible to use paths to represent attaching three lines together at a single point.

Reason number bajillion why this is such a great time for design tools: it’s terrific to see interaction models that have been with us so long, like paths, freshly reinvented by new thinking. Users are winning in a huge way right now.

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