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Figma's AI-Powered Design Tool Embroiled in Controversy


Figma, the popular design collaboration platform, recently released a new AI-powered feature that generated designs based on user prompts. However, the feature has been temporarily disabled following concerns that it was producing designs that were too similar to existing designs, raising ethical and intellectual property issues.

The AI's "Design Shortcut"

The AI-powered feature, dubbed "Generate from Text," aimed to make the design process more efficient by allowing designers to input text descriptions of their desired designs and have the AI generate multiple potential visual interpretations. This "design shortcut" was intended to save time and provide inspiration during the brainstorming and ideation stages.

Copycat Design and Ethical Concerns

However, users quickly discovered that the AI was generating designs that bore striking resemblance to existing creations by other designers. This raised concerns about plagiarism and the potential for the AI to undermine the originality and creativity of human designers. Critics argued that the AI was essentially creating "copycat" designs by drawing from the vast database of designs available online.

Disabling the Feature and Investigating the Issue

Figma promptly responded to the backlash by disabling the "Generate from Text" feature. The company acknowledged the concerns raised by the design community and emphasized its commitment to ethical and responsible AI development. Figma's team is currently investigating the issue to determine the extent of the copycat designs and to find a solution that balances innovation with respect for intellectual property.

The Impact on Designers

The temporary suspension of the AI-powered feature has sparked a wider discussion about the impact of AI on the design industry. While some designers welcome the potential for AI to streamline certain tasks and provide inspiration, others express concerns about the possible devaluation of their skills and the threat to their livelihoods.

A Balancing Act of Innovation and Ethics

Figma's experience with its AI-powered feature highlights the challenges of integrating AI into the creative process. Companies must strike a delicate balance between using AI to enhance human capabilities and ensuring that it does not stifle creativity or violate intellectual property rights.

Ethical Considerations for AI-Powered Design Tools

As AI becomes increasingly integrated into the design process, it is essential to establish ethical guidelines and best practices to govern its use. These guidelines should address issues such as:

  • Data Ownership: Who owns the designs generated by AI-powered tools?
  • Intellectual Property: How can we prevent AI from creating designs that infringe on the copyrights of others?
  • Transparency: Designers should be informed when AI is used to generate or modify their designs.
  • Discrimination: AI models should be trained on diverse datasets to avoid bias and ensure fairness in design outcomes.

The Future of AI in Design

Despite the current controversy, AI is expected to continue playing a significant role in the design industry. By addressing ethical concerns and promoting responsible development, companies can harness the power of AI to augment human creativity, accelerate innovation, and make the design process more accessible.


Figma's decision to disable its AI-powered design feature serves as a reminder that the integration of AI into the creative process requires careful consideration. By engaging with stakeholders, establishing ethical guidelines, and embracing transparency, companies can ensure that AI is used as a tool to empower designers and foster innovation, while respecting the rights and creativity of human creators.

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