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Figma UI UX Design Essentials

The basics of type & fonts in Figma

Daniel Walter Scott

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Hi everyone, we're actually going to start making things in Figma now, and what I'm going to do over the next couple of videos is, I'm going to introduce things like Type, in this one, and the next one's going to be like circles and buttons, and colors, and just the stuff that we need to get going. We're not going to, I'm just going to touch on them, and throughout the course we'll get deeper and deeper into them, rather than trying to, like, I don't know, click every button to do with Type. In this video we're going to get all the basics in, and when appropriate, throughout the course, we'll dive a bit deeper into them, so let's get started. 

In this video we're going to look at Type, and the various quirks in Figma. All right, so let's start off with the Type tool, it's this letter T here. If you hover above stuff, can you see, it says, Text, and the shortcut is T on my keyboard, so I can tap 'T' on my keyboard. I'm not going to go through all the shortcuts, but if there's one that you're using quite a lot, hover above it, and it should tell you what it is, you see, 'C' for adding a comment. 

So we've got two kinds of text boxes, you click once and you can type forever, that is this one here, it is called Auto Width Box, because, I know that off by heart, and the other type of box you're going to create is a click and drag box. So grab the 'Type' tool, click and drag it out, instead of clicking once click and drag it, we get this option here, which is the fixed size box, and this one is, just means that when I get to the end it will break, and we'll use both of these in this course, especially for those Wireframes. 

So I'm going to undo, if you don't know, there's 'Edit', 'Undo'. If you're on the browser version it is in here, 'Edit', 'Undo'. Again, you'll see the shortcut for it there, undo, redo. So we're going to do two things, we're going to do Auto Width, so 'Type' tool, click once and just type in your brand name. So mine is "Scott Headphones", when you finish you can just kind of click out in this no man's land, and you can move it around, and stuff, grab the Type tool again, and let's do a box about this sort of size, and we're going to type in our marketing message. 

So just type in something like, "This is our marketing message," you've got to be at this stage, with things, it depends on who you're working for. It's best to keep everything very generic, try not to use language, you know, marketing speak here, because you might send off to testing, and instead of people testing, like the flow, they might end up testing, you know, coming back with spelling mistakes, or like, it might be controversy about the marketing message, "That's not right, let's get it to copywriting." 

So at the moment we're just going to keep everything as simple as we can, to take out any sort of variables for our testing just so that we're focused. Now you can switch these later on, let's say that this one here, we want to actually make it that auto width, so we can click it here, same with this one, we can make it a fixed box. 

The difference now is, watch this, when I start typing, kind of blows out of the box, and it's got a fixed width, so you can change them later on. I'm going to hit undo a couple of times, I'm using my shortcut 'Command Z' on a Mac, 'Ctrl Z' on a PC, to get back to-- undos aren't as consistent as you would imagine, from other programs, undos, can you see, the undo didn't put my rectangle back to the big size, it's undoing my Type, but it's not doing that big rectangle, this is pretty common throughout Figma. 

Sometimes, you can, like draw an arrow, change the arrow head, hit 'undo', and that leaves the arrow head there. This may change over time, but it's just one of those quirks about Figma. Sometimes if you hit undo it decides not to always do what you ask, it does bits of it, so, what I've got is, I've got it selected with my Selection tool, I've made sure it's a kind of fixed size, I'm going to drag it out, so it's a bit bigger, because what I'd like it to do is, I'm going to play around with just the basics here. 

Let's look at font size, the basics over here, I'm not going to cover them all, because you know how to go, font size, there's a little drop down, look at that, go to something nice and big. You might have to select your text first, so double click it, highlight it, and say, over here, I'm going to make it nice and big, and because it's a fixed box it's going to kind of break on the sides here. Left align, Centered, you know all that sort of stuff. 

One thing I will show you is that, let's say things, if you hover above them, that little icon there is the Line Height, but you can click and drag them, any of the icons, so I'm going to undo that, undo again, there it goes. If you-- see the little icon, so over here, not draggable, over here, on any of these little icons you can click, hold, and drag them. So I tend to do this quite a lot when I'm working, and you'll see me throughout the course, dragging line height and tracking, letter spacing, and that sort of stuff, so that's one little trick. 

The other one I do quite a bit is, let's say this is not draggable, I wish it was, but if you click in here, and see, my little cursor flashing, if I hit the arrow key on my keyboard, just the plain old up, down, left, right, use the up and the down, if you hold Shift it goes up in big chunks, in tens, units of ten. So that's true of, like every box in here, if I want the width to be a bit wider, up and down, or hold Shift, go up in big chunks, and I'm making the width of this text box bigger, undo, undo, wrecking my boxes, but for the fonts I use it quite a bit, just kind of going up and down, I'm looking at my desktop, I'm not really looking over here, I'm just kind of checking, is this a good font size, not a good font size. 

Now when it comes to fonts here, you-- there's a couple of things we are picking, font sizes now, and you've got to really be at 100%, at the moment we're at 86, you might be at 100, but if you're picking a font size, you're like, "Oh, that's too small," you've got to try and pick a font size at 100%. You don't want to be, you know, trying to pick a font size, when you zoom right out, because you can make it too big, and this, because this is going to be on a mobile device, it's a mobile website, it's not an app, but it's only going to be viewed through a mobile website, at this kind of, kind of ratio, this height, it's best to be actually picking font sizes on your phone. 

I'll show you a little bit later in the course, not too far, we can actually preview everything on a device, so don't be spending too much time on, deciding who was it, 12, should it be 16, 14? Actually get it onto the device and start looking. 

The last thing I want to share with you, when you are kind of, at this font picking stage, especially for a Wireframe, is I want you to pick a nought font, a font that has 0 character, I feel bad because this is Roboto, sorry Roboto, you have 0 character. I don't want-- let's not go all Brush Script, even if it's a beautiful font, and it's exciting, we want really plain fonts here, because when we do do our testing, we want feedback not on, like, "Hey, I don't like that font," or "that's not communicating right." We don't want to bring that into the conversation, we want to keep it all separate, and just have it very, very simple.

So it'd be really common to use something like Roboto or Open Sans, let's have a look. Roboto, Open Sans what's another one? Source Sans, Source. You can tell, these guys are not the guys you invite to the party, they've got no, they've got little personality, they're clear and they are professional, and great for a Wireframe, but they're no Brush Script. So whatever you decide, pick one, we're going to use Roboto for this because it's, I don't know, the most generic of them all, plus it has a lot of weights that you can play around with often. If you don't have Roboto you can find it online, download it, and it is, yeah, it is pretty common around the place, and it is free. You can use Arial or Calibri, or whatever you want to use, actually, not allowed to use Arial, Calibri, it's too Microsofty. 

All right, so we've picked a non-font, we're going to throw in a few different things for our mock-up, so we've got our-- for our logo as well, we're just going to keep it super simple. Even if you have, if your company already has a brand, it's probably appropriate, throw it in, in black and white, just keep it simple, because the brand isn't being developed yet for this company, we're just going to keep it super simple. I'm going to play around with fonts, now this is where I break all my own rules, like, "Hey, don't pick a font that has character, stay away from," I think you can't help yourself, you're like, "Man, that layering's truly big." If you want layering to go back to 0, just delete it and hit 'Enter', and it goes back to Auto, and even then you're like, "Oh, I'm just going to," oh, wrong one, this one here, just take it off a little bit. 

I can't help myself, you, yeah, do as I say, don't do as I do, don't be playing around with letter spacing and stuff, and making it, your wireframe looks good, making your wireframe look really good, it's hard to stop that. You can do a little bit of design, so we need a couple of things, we're going to keep that, we're going to copy and paste, and use this again, wow, that went weird. When you do copy and paste, did you notice that, so there's only one of them there now, if I copy and paste in Figma, it goes back over the top, so there's two of them right over the top, so that's a, it's a weirdness, but hey, it works. 

We're going to have a Buy Now button, "Buy Now." Now I end up duplicating, instead of copying and pasting, you may or may not do this, on a Mac hold down the 'Option' key, you see a little arrow, it's a little double arrow there, on a PC it is your 'Alt' key, so if you do that before you start dragging, so Selection tool, hold down that key, 'Option', or 'Alt', drag it out, you get a second one. Figma is really good at lining things up, can you see, oh, so handy. We've got a Buy Now, and Learn More. We are going to go 'Centered' for that one, I need another one up here, that's going to be my 'Product Shot'. I think that's all the text we're going to do for this particular mock-up. 

So we will go into a little bit more text detail later on, but it, see this little dotted line down here, this is where you get into the-- it's pretty amazing how deep it does go. If you're a designer who loves a bit of, loves a bit of ligatures, and all sorts of amazing things, you can see, Alignment, not that exciting, Decoration, Underlines, Strike throughs, nothing. So there's a lot, Bullet Points are in here, you can start doing Uppercase, Lowercase, I won't cover them all, we will look at little bits throughout the course, but here's all the-- if you really want to get into stylistic sets, and man, it gets deep. 

So it is, most of it's just sitting here in your kind of right menu, they call it the Right panel, sometimes they call it the Properties Inspector. This thing here on the right, you can get most of it just here, this little dotted line gets you a bunch more. All right, we've actually made something, kind of, a bunch of boring text, let's get into the next video, and make some boring rectangles and buttons, I'll see you in the next video.