Master Figma Constraints Like a Pro (Easiest Way)
A Step-by-Step Guide
Written: August 28, 2023 by Juan Lizardo
If you are a designer looking to create web and mobile interfaces with precision and flexibility, Figma is the ideal tool for you. And when it comes to controlling the position and size of your design elements within a frame, Figma constraints are an indispensable feature. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know about Figma constraints, from the benefits of using them to practical tips and techniques for mastering their usage. So, let's dive in and unlock the full potential of Figma constraints!
Understanding Figma constraints
Figma constraints allow you to define how an element should behave in terms of position and size within its parent frame. By utilizing constraints, you can ensure that your design adapts seamlessly to different screen sizes and orientations. Whether you want to create a responsive layout or control how elements are sized and positioned, Figma constraints provide the flexibility and control you need.
Benefits of using Figma constraints
Figma constraints offer a range of benefits that can significantly enhance your design workflow. Let's explore some of the key advantages:
✅Efficient Responsive Design: Constraints enable you to create responsive designs effortlessly. With the ability to specify how elements should adapt to different frame sizes, you can ensure consistent and visually appealing layouts across various devices.
✅Precise Sizing and Positioning: By using constraints, you have precise control over how elements are sized and positioned within a frame. You can easily keep objects centered, scale them proportionally, or fix them to specific edges, allowing for pixel-perfect designs.
✅Preventing Overlaps: Constraints help you avoid overlapping elements in your design. By setting appropriate constraints, you can ensure that objects stay separate and maintain the desired spacing, even when the frame size changes.
✅Optimizing Space Usage: With constraints, you can efficiently manage the space occupied by elements. Whether it's limiting the space menu items can take up or ensuring that objects don't occupy excessive room, constraints enable you to optimize the utilization of screen real estate.
Types of constraints in Figma
Figma offers two types of constraints: horizontal and vertical. These constraints control the behavior of elements along the x- and y-axes, respectively.
- Left: This constraint pins the left edge of a layer to the left edge of its parent frame. The layer's position on the x-axis remains consistent relative to the left edge of the parent frame.
- Right: With this constraint, the right edge of a layer is pinned to the right edge of its parent frame. The layer's position on the x-axis remains consistent relative to the right edge of the parent frame.
- Left and Right: This constraint fixes both the left and right edges of a layer to the respective edges of its parent frame. The layer's position on the x-axis remains consistent relative to both edges of the parent frame.
- Center: By applying the center constraint, the center point of a layer is aligned with the center point of its parent frame. The layer remains centered on the x-axis, regardless of changes to the parent frame's width.
- Scale: The scale constraint allows you to horizontally scale a layer as the parent frame's width changes. This is useful when maintaining the aspect ratio of elements like images or icons
- Top: This constraint pins the top edge of a layer to the top edge of its parent frame. The layer's position on the y-axis remains consistent relative to the top edge of the parent frame.
- Bottom: With the bottom constraint, the bottom edge of a layer is pinned to the bottom edge of its parent frame. The layer's position on the y-axis remains consistent relative to the bottom edge of the parent frame.
- Top and Bottom: This constraint fixes both the top and bottom edges of a layer to the respective edges of its parent frame. The layer stretches or shrinks vertically to maintain its distance from the top and bottom edges of the parent frame.
- Center: By applying the center constraint, the center point of a layer is aligned with the center point of its parent frame. The layer remains centered on the y-axis, regardless of changes to the parent frame's height.
- Scale: The scale constraint allows you to vertically scale a layer as the parent frame's height changes. This is useful when maintaining the aspect ratio of elements like images or icons.
Figma also provides tools for simulating scrolling and other interactive elements, allowing designers to create a realistic user experience right within the tool. This helps streamline the design process and ensures that the final product meets the client's expectations.
Using constraints in Figma (Step-by-step tutorial)
Let's dive into Figma constraints with a real-world exercise, and I hope you can do it with me; you will learn how to create a login screen and how Figma constraints work.
To begin, we will create a login screen from scratch.
✅Step one: Create a frame for the login screen
✅Step two: Make a basic logo using the shapes tool
✅Step three: Choose the color in the fill menu on your right side.
✅Step four: Add text to your logo
✅Step five: Adjust the thickness and font size in the text menu on your right side and change the color.
✅Step six: Select both layers and make the logo component
✅Step seven: With the shape tool, make a rectangle to create an input field.
✅Step eight: Choose the color in the fill menu on your right side.
✅Step nine: Add the word "Email" and adjust the size and thickness in the text menu on your right side.
✅Step ten: Choose both layers and create the input component.
✅Step eleven: In the assets tab on your left side, search the input component.
✅Step twelve: Click on the input component and drag and drop it to your login screen.
✅Step thirteen: Double-click to select and edit the word "Email" to "Password."
✅Step fourteen: If the password text does not fit, just go to the main component and adjust the size.
✅Step fifteen: Adjust the alignment in the text menu on your right side.
✅Step sixteen: With the shape tool, we will make a rectangle of similar size to the input field and change the color.
✅Step seventeen: Add the word "login" and adjust the color and thickness with the text menu on your right side.
✅Step eighteen: Choose both layers and create the login button component.
✅Step nineteen: Add the text "Forgot your password?" to create a login screen as realistic as possible.
✅Step twenty: Select the logo and find the constraints menu on your right side. Once there, you will choose center and center for both horizontal and vertical.
✅Step twenty-one: We will add constraints to the other components by choosing center and center for both horizontal and vertical.
✅Step twenty-two: To conclude and verify if we've completed all the steps correctly, you will select the main frame of the login screen. Without releasing it, you'll attempt to resize the frame. All your components should always remain perfectly centered, regardless of the size; they should adjust automatically.
Congratulations if you have been following me up to this point, and I hope you have been able to do this exercise with me. Now, you will have a clearer idea of how the constraints work in Figma, and along the way, you learned how to create a login screen.⭐🎉Well done.
Tips and techniques for mastering Figma constraints
To help you become a Figma constraints pro, here are some tips and techniques to enhance your workflow and maximize the potential of constraints:
✅Experiment with different constraint combinations: Figma offers a wide range of constraint options. Don't be afraid to explore different combinations to achieve the desired positioning and sizing for your elements. Play around with constraints to find the most optimal solution.
✅Utilize constraints in nested frames: Nested frames allow you to create more complex layouts by applying constraints within constraints. This enables you to build highly adaptable designs that respond effectively to changes in frame size and orientation.
✅Use constraints with Auto Layout: Auto Layout is a powerful feature in Figma that combines constraints with dynamic resizing. By utilizing Auto Layout, you can create components that automatically adjust their size and positioning based on the content they contain
✅Preview and test your designs: Regularly preview and test your designs to ensure that the constraints are working as intended. Use the preview mode in Figma or export your designs to see how they look on different devices and screen sizes.
✅Collaborate and seek feedback: Figma's collaboration features make it easy to work with team members and gather feedback. Share your designs with others and encourage them to provide input on the effectiveness of your constraints. This can help you identify areas for improvement and refine your designs.
Mastering Figma constraints is a crucial skill for any designer looking to create responsive and visually appealing interfaces. By understanding the benefits of using constraints, exploring the different types of constraints available, and implementing them effectively in your designs, you can unlock the full potential of Figma as a design tool. Remember to experiment, seek feedback, and continuously refine your designs to achieve optimal results. With Figma constraints in your arsenal, you have the power to create stunning and adaptable designs that will impress your clients and users alike.
So go ahead, dive into Figma, and let constraints empower your design journey!
PS: Have you checked out our free Figma templates to save time designing?