Figma pulls AI tool after criticism that it spoiled Apple’s design

Figma’s new Make Designs tool lets users quickly mock up apps using generative AI. Now, it has been pulled after the tool drew designs that looked strikingly similar to Apple’s weather app for iOS. Figma CEO Dylan Field posted a thread on X early Tuesday morning detailing the removal, blaming himself for pushing the team to meet a deadline and defending the company’s approach to developing its tools. HE.

In the X posts, Andy Allen, CEO of Not Boring Software, showed how close Figma’s Make Designs tool came close to replicating Apple’s weather app. “Just a heads up to any designers using the new Make Designs feature that you may want to fully control existing applications or heavily edit the results so you don’t unknowingly find yourself in legal trouble,” Allen wrote.

In an interview Tuesday with Figma CTO Kris Rasmussen, I asked him point blank if Make Designs had been trained on Apple’s app designs. His response? He couldn’t say for sure. Figma was in no way responsible for training the AI ​​models it used.

“We didn’t do any training as part of the AI’s generative features,” Rasmussen said. The features are “powered by off-the-shelf designs and a custom design system that we commissioned, which appears to be the underlying problem.”

This generally lines up with something he said on Monday at X in response to a user who suggested that Make Designs was trained on existing apps. “As we shared when we launched Figma AI last week, there was no training as part of this feature or any of our generative features,” he wrote. “We are looking into the extent to which the similarities are a function of the third-party models we are using versus the design systems we have commissioned the models to use, and we will address as appropriate.”

Field, in his thread, said that the Make Designs feature “has not been trained on Figma content, community files, or app designs” and noted that “the allegations about training data in this tweet are false.” He said one problem with the company’s approach is that “variability is very low.”

The main AI models powering Make Designs are OpenAI’s GPT-4o and Amazon’s Titan Image Generator G1, according to Rasmussen. If it’s true that Figma didn’t train its AI tools, but they’re still outputting from the view of Apple’s apps, that could suggest that OpenAI’s or Amazon’s models were trained on Apple’s models. OpenAI and Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Rasmussen argued that Figma didn’t want to do any training to improve its features until it had been open with its users about its AI training policies, which it also unveiled last week. As part of these policies, users have until August 15th to decide whether they want to opt-in or not to allow their content to be used for Figma training. (Starter and Professional plans are selected by default, while Organization and Enterprise plans are selected by default.)

I asked if Figma is planning to train its own models — which, given the company’s new AI training policies, seems like something that will happen. “We definitely see opportunities to really perfect your design workflows by teaching these models how to design in the context of Figma,” said Rasmussen. However, “we will take steps to ensure that our models or any tweaks we make to open source models only learn general design patterns and specific Figma design concepts so that they can be better tools for professional designers.”

I also asked Rasmussen how Figma plans to adjust its processes to catch potential problems in the future. “We are doing a pass on the bespoke design system to ensure it has enough variation and meets our quality standards,” he said. “This is the main cause of the issue. But we will take extra precautions before reactivating it [Make Designs] to ensure that the entire function meets our quality standards and is consistent with our values.”

Rasmussen also noted the fact that Make Designs is in beta. “Betas, by definition, are not perfect. But it’s safe to say, as Dylan shared in his tweet, that we just didn’t catch this particular issue. And we should have.”

Rasmussen said Figma expects to reactivate Make Designs “soon.” Other Figma AI features will continue to be available in beta. (To access any of Figma’s AI features, you must sign up for a waiting list.)

Figma is the latest company to come under scrutiny for its approach to bringing AI into its creative tools. Adobe had to make it clear that it would not use your work to train its AI after responding to the terms of service changes. And Meta has had to change its AI tags after photographers complained that its old tag was incorrectly applied to real photos.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top