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Compress Figma images & PDFs

Master figma compression and exports: tips & tricks for smaller file sizes

Jun 10, 2024
  • Compression
  • PDF
  • JPG
  • WEBP

This guide breaks down how to achieve smaller file sizes in Figma, provides insights on optimal export settings, and explores powerful plugins and external tools to ensure your Figma export maintain visual integrity while being lean enough for effective use.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Figma’s default export uses lossless or very close to lossless compression. This is great for high quality source files, but can make assets hard to share, or too large for practical use.
  2. Choosing the right export settings in Figma, including the appropriate file format (SVG, PNG, JPG) can significantly impact the balance between exported file size and image quality.
  3. External tools like PDFelement and Acrobat provide additional options for compressing PDFs. There are also options which can be used directly from Figma like Compressed PDF and Image Exporter.
  4. Compression can cause visual artifacts, and lower raster image quality but it also helps make exported files easier to share, and better for use in apps and websites.

Why do image and PDF compression matter?

Visual content dominates the web and most popular communication channels. Image compression technology is essential for enhancing online experiences and streamlining the digital workflows that help create great content. At its core, image compression serves two pivotal roles that cater to the demands of efficiency and performance in digital environments.

  1. Compressed files are markedly easier to share. Whether it's through email or within project management tools, the ability to quickly send and receive images is crucial for maintaining the flow of information. Compressed images, especially in formats like PDFs, retain much of their original clarity while significantly reducing their file size. This reduction enables users to bypass common hurdles such as email attachment size limits or slow upload times, facilitating smoother collaboration and communication among teams and individuals.
  2. Compressed images are required in performant websites. From an SEO and user experience (UX) perspective, the speed at which a website loads and displays its content is a critical factor. Search engines prioritize sites that load quickly, as faster loading times are associated with a better user experience. Compressed images play a vital role in this aspect by reducing the amount of data that needs to be downloaded when a user visits a website. This not only helps in achieving higher search engine rankings but also ensures that visitors stay engaged, as they are not kept waiting for content to load. In essence, image compression is a key element in the optimization of websites for both visibility and user satisfaction.

By addressing these two main points, image compression emerges as a fundamental technology that supports efficient digital communication and the creation of high-performing web experiences. Its importance is magnified in an era where visual content is king, and the speed of information exchange is a measure of success.

This is how you fix the thin white edge on the images you are exporting from Figma. Check for fractional pixel value and change them to whole pixel values.

3 golden rules of Figma exports

Figma supports various export formats like PNG, JPG, SVG, and PDF, each with specific use cases and settings. PNG is ideal for images needing transparency, while JPG suits web use where file size matters. SVGs, being scalable, are perfect for logos and icons in responsive designs. PDFs serve well for sharing complex layouts in a single file, and can be converted for print use. Figma's export settings include scale adjustments, suffix customization, and format-specific options like color profiles and layer handling. These features enable designers to optimize their exports for different platforms and uses, ensuring high-quality visuals and performance.

  1. Use whole pixel values everywhere. Figma lives on a pixel grid, if you have fractional pixel value on the X / Y position, or on the width / height your image will have a thin white edge.
  2. Clip Content. In almost all cases, it's ideal to clip content. This way you know the exact size of the export you are creating. Without clipping you may unintentionally break the first rule.
  3. 2x the size. If you need the image at sizes, 300x300, you should consider also exporting it at 600x600. Most modern devices have such high pixel density, that they can support a higher resolution image, and it will yield a sharper, and more impressive result when the image is implemented on the website or app.

Bonus rule: Name your frames, name your files! You will never regret having reasonable file names, your future self will thank you.

The essentials of compressing Figma exports

In Figma, when you apply compression to your vector assets, it utilizes a lossless compression technique. As a result of this method, compressing a file within Figma retains the original source quality generally without any degradation, preserving the fidelity of your design. While keeping lossless files for work is crucial, creating compressed versions from these originals is also necessary as compressed files are far easier to store, share and evaluate with others.

Benefits of compressing images for website development from Figma

Nearly every raster image found on every website, in every case should be compressed. There are multiple benefits to employing image compression within Figma when creating or designing websites:

  • It accelerates your site’s loading time which is a key signal for search engines deciding which page to show.
  • It guarantees your site performs well on mobile devices where most internet browsing occurs.
  • It diminishes file sizes allowing quicker downloads even with limited bandwidth availability.
  • A swifter loading website can lead to higher conversion rates and subsequently improved overall value creation.
Some images will compress better than others. Texture is is particularly impacted by lossy compression and will produce noticeable artifacts (shown below).

What file format is the best for Figma exports?

  • JPG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)
    JPG is a widely used image format, favored for its lossy compression algorithm, which significantly reduces file sizes by selectively discarding data deemed less important for human perception. This makes JPG ideal for photographs and detailed digital artwork where file size and fast loading times are critical, albeit at the cost of some quality loss, especially at higher compression levels. The format's ubiquity and balance between image quality and file size make it a default choice for a vast array of web and print applications.
  • PNG (Portable Network Graphics)
    PNG stands out for its lossless compression, ensuring that no image data is lost during the compression process, thus preserving image quality perfectly. It supports transparency, making it suitable for web graphics, logos, and images requiring a transparent background. However, this comes with larger file sizes compared to JPG, particularly for high-resolution images, limiting its use for situations where image quality and transparency are prioritized over file size.
  • WebP
    Developed by Google, WebP is a modern format designed to provide superior lossless and lossy compression for images on the web. WebP images are significantly smaller in size compared to PNG and JPG, offering a blend of quality, transparency, and animation support. This makes WebP highly effective for web usage, optimizing loading times and performance without compromising visual fidelity. Its adoption is growing as more browsers and platforms support the format.
  • SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics)
    SVG is unique among the discussed formats as it is vector-based, not pixel-based. This means SVG images are composed of lines, shapes, and definitions rather than a grid of pixels. They are resolution-independent, scaling without loss of quality to any size, which is ideal for logos, icons, and other graphics that require scalability and small file sizes. SVGs are particularly suited for web applications where responsiveness and scalability are paramount.
  • GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)
    GIF is known for its limited color palette (up to 256 colors) and its ability to support simple animations. While not suitable for high-quality images due to its color limitations, GIF remains popular for creating animated images for web use, memes, and simple graphics where color fidelity is not a primary concern. However, its relevance is being challenged by formats like WebP, which offer better compression and color support.

Image file format summary and recommendations:

SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) for Vector Images

Recommendation: SVG is highly recommended for vector images, such as icons and logos, due to its scalability and efficiency.

Rationale:

  • Scalability: SVG images are resolution-independent, meaning they can be scaled to any size without loss of quality. This attribute is paramount for responsive web design, where assets must adapt to various screen sizes and resolutions seamlessly.
  • File Size: SVG files tend to be smaller than their raster counterparts, particularly for simple designs, contributing to faster loading times and improved website performance.
  • Manipulation: SVGs can be directly manipulated via CSS or JavaScript, offering a high degree of flexibility in styling and interactivity, which is ideal for dynamic web environments.

WebP for Raster Images

Recommendation: WebP is the preferred format for raster images, including photographs and complex artwork, due to its superior compression capabilities.

Rationale:

  • Compression: WebP offers both lossy and lossless compression, achieving significantly smaller file sizes than traditional formats like JPG and PNG without sacrificing visual quality. This is crucial for web performance, as it reduces bandwidth usage and enhances page load speeds.
  • Feature Support: WebP supports transparency (like PNG) and animation (like GIF), making it a versatile choice for a wide range of web content.
  • Browser Compatibility: With broad support across major web browsers, WebP is becoming a standard for efficient web imagery.

PNG for Transparency with Dither

Recommendation: PNG should be used selectively, primarily when transparency with dither is needed, to maintain compatibility with complex visual requirements.

Rationale:

  • Transparency: PNG supports alpha transparency, allowing for the creation of images with varying degrees of opacity and transparent backgrounds. This is essential for overlay images, logos, and web graphics that need to blend seamlessly with different backgrounds.
  • Lossless Compression: PNG provides lossless compression, ensuring that image quality is preserved perfectly, crucial for graphics where clarity and detail are non-negotiable.
  • Dithering: When dealing with transparency and gradients, PNG's support for dithering helps avoid banding, preserving the smooth transitions between colors.
Notice that the texture on the stones, ceiling, and trees is incrementally lost.

Compressing PDF files outside of Figma

PDFelement is a software specifically designed to alter the dimensions of PDF files beyond the capabilities provided by Figma, thus making sharing and storing more effective. PDFelement offers several compression choices and other PDF editing features, though designers may have some difficulty working with any PDF that was generated by Figma, as their PDF composer flattens all text into vector shapes.

Next we will look at a way to compress PDFs while working directly within Figma.

Compress PDFs and images directly from Figma

The "Compressed PDF and Image Exporter" app, offers a sophisticated yet user-friendly solution for significantly reducing the file size of images and PDFs, with potential savings of up to 95% of the original file size. This level of efficiency is achieved through advanced compression algorithms that intelligently minimize file size without compromising the integrity of the visual content. Here's how this remarkable app functions and integrates seamlessly with design workflows, especially for users of Figma, while ensuring the privacy and security of the designs.

How Compressed PDF and Image Exporter works:

  1. Advanced Compression Algorithms: The app employs state-of-the-art compression techniques that analyze the image or PDF file to identify and eliminate redundant or unnecessary data. This process is effective for files with lots of images, which is where the native Figma PDF export struggles the most. Compressed PDF and Image Exporter can reduce a PDF's file size by around 95%, though if the PDF has few or no images the relative savings will be less.
  2. Quality Flexibility: Users can set their own quality standards to find the right balance of compression and raster image quality.
  3. Integration with Figma: For designers and teams using Figma, the app offers a seamless integration. Users can easily export their designs directly from Figma into the app for compression. This integration streamlines the workflow, making it incredibly simple to compress images and PDFs as part of the design export process. Designers can select the desired compression level and export format, and the app handles the rest, delivering high-quality, compressed files ready for use or sharing.
  4. Privacy and Security: A standout feature of the "Compressed PDF and Image Exporter" app is its commitment to user privacy and data security. At no point does the app view or store any of the content that is being compressed. This is a crucial consideration for designers and businesses concerned about intellectual property and privacy. The compression process is designed to be entirely local, meaning none of the content is shared over any network to facilitate the compression

The benefits:

By significantly reducing file sizes, the app facilitates easier sharing of designs, whether it's through email, project management tools, or web uploads. This not only enhances collaboration among team members but also optimizes websites for faster loading times, contributing to better SEO and user experience. The ability to maintain high-quality visuals at a fraction of the original file size is invaluable in digital content creation, where efficiency and performance are paramount.

In conclusion, the "Compressed PDF and Image Exporter" app stands out as a powerful tool for designers, particularly those working within the Figma ecosystem. Its sophisticated compression algorithms, seamless integration with Figma, and unwavering commitment to privacy and security make it an indispensable asset for anyone looking to optimize their digital assets for sharing and web performance.

Summary

So, there we have it. From understanding the importance of compression in Figma to exploring optimal export settings and tools, we’ve covered it all. Remember, mastering Figma compression is not just about reducing file sizes. It’s about enhancing collaboration, improving website performance, and ultimately, creating a smooth and efficient design process. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to harness the power of compression in Figma and elevate your design game. Despite this, it’s important to acknowledge that the Figma development team does not currently place a high emphasis on diminishing the dimensions of PDF exports. This underscores why supplementary compression utilities are significant for users. Nevertheless, Figma is celebrated for its flexibility and ability to adjust, which allows users with ease to discover a compression tool that aligns perfectly with their requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I reduce the size of Figma exports?

You have the option of utilizing the free “Compressed PDF and Image Exporter” plugin available in the Figma Community to compress images and thereby minimize the size of your Figma file with ease.

Alternatively, managing assets by dividing larger files into smaller segments, reducing high-resolution image sizes, and breaking down complex SVGs for importation can also serve as a method to streamline your Figma files.

Does Figma reduce image quality?

Figma does not compromise on image quality. It uses high-quality images visible in your current viewport and uses lower resolution versions for those outside of it to enhance performance. As Figma is web-based software it does convert images to an RGB color space and there is a max dimension of 4000x4000 pixels.

What formats does Figma export?

Figma allows for the exporting of content in the most used web-based file formats such as PNG, JPG, SVG, and PDF.

What are the benefits of compressing PDF files?

Condensing the size of PDF files renders them easier to handle, circulate, and retrieve, offering numerous benefits across various situations. Enhancing the efficiency of storing and distributing these files is one such advantage.

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