Why designer should pay for dev mode?

Hi everyone,

I’m running a small design company and I’m working with different clients, on small projects, every month couple clients come and go so it’s a fast flow of clients.

Previously, I was paying for Figma for my and my designers’ seats, and when I was sending designs to a client, his developer was just working on the file and that’s it. You all know this good old flow.

Now, it suddenly appears, that because I’m the file “owner”, I need to pay for a developer’s dev mode.

Once again: a designer, who made the design, now have to pay for client’s developer so he can do his job.

Of course, most of my clients will be okay to pay me extra to compensate that, but in this case I’m having a brand new huge finance management issue, where I should track somehow, which project drains how much money, request that money from each client every time, if I forget to do that, I’ll face more issues. Some of clients will forget to pay, some will refuse… etc. It’s a huge new problem for me that will drag my time constantly, and I don’t want to face it.

The only solution I see at this point, is to ask every new client to create a Figma account, create a blank page there, and give me an access to it. In this case, he will manage the financial aspect. But there’s another problem, that I can lose access to my designs at any point, as client decides to close my access to them, so I will not have one place where I store all designs I’ve created…

Best solution would be if developer pays a fixed price or smth, with having a dev mode enabled for him on any file he opens.

Does anyone face this issue or have a solution or workaround how to do this properly?

28 Likes

That’s exactly what I am: a developer)

and it pisses me off too because I have clients with their own designers. And even if I have a subscription I can’t use it in the designs that the client gives me. I have to duplicate the design to my team.

All this stupidity is because Figma is now team orientated. So your client has to create a team for designer and developer.

If you’re an agency you have to create for your designers and developers.

And if you are a freelancer, you don’t need this pro at all if you don’t do both design and development in one person.

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Exactly! And copying the design is not always an option. What if designer makes changes to to project? What if new pages added? What if that file is connected to a design system? What about tokens? So many questions, and no answers…

Yes, I’m an agency, but I have only designers, I don’t have any developers aboard. Yet I need to share our designs with developers of those companies for who we are creating designs. Basically like thousand other small design agencies. And it looks like that Figma… just forgot about us.

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We are currently facing the same exact issue. Seems like Figma forgot about us small product design agencies with need for dev mode but no in-house development.

It’s not even about pricing, the model just doesn’t make sense. There’s one ongoing project in which the client’s developer was asking for access back and we could not take much time to find a solution, so we had to add them into OUR team which in terms of logistics makes no sense.

I would love it if someone from Figma could come down here to the forum and explain if they thought our case through before launching such horrible paid plans :confused:

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To share a file link with inspection options, the person who has created the file and is sharing the link has to have a paid full seat, right? Not the developer who wants to extract information from inspection/dev mode. This is uncool for the situation if you cancel your plan and then do a handover, for whatever reason. So no inspection options on free plans anymore.

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Terrible form of payment model… As freelance developer working for different agencies I found this change very inconvenient. I pay for my account but it work only at my team which is useless in that case. Copying every project, without comments, updates from designers, is terrible solution. I loved Figma for how it works and I sure it should be paid service but not in the way how it’s done right now. As a developer I would pay event more to have dev mode across different teams…

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We also stumbled over this today.

To be clear: I think it is absolutely fine that Figma requires you to pay for dev mode access. After all Figma is a good and loved product that is worth something to a lot of people, designers and devs alike.

However, having the project owner of each individual project to carry the financial burden to give us, the actual developers, access to the dev mode makes no sense at all.

In our environment, Designers work with different developers all the time, whereas we as developers work with different designers all the time.

Imho it would make far more sense if a developer can pay for e.g. a “Professional Plan” themselves and is then able to use the dev mode in any project (regardless of where that project resides).

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That being said - what I did not realise before was that certain measurements, like margins, are still accessible in view mode (via Alt key). So it seems that at least for us the new (?) view mode is still a sufficient enough “dev” mode.

This is the total headache. Each time a company decide to change subscription plans without thinking about all the operating sides and aspects, it cost us, small agencies and freelancers a lot of money, frustration and time.
Think! Figma, think.

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Same issue here. We want developers to be able to pay for Developer mode, not us, the designers.

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I echo all the comments here. It’s mad. I am tempted to go backwards and renew my Zeplin plan! It would be cheaper in the long run, although a slower process. Maybe duplicating a file and ‘giving it’ to a developer would work, but even then you would need to be in their team, to drag it to them, and that would incur a fee as a ‘member’ of their team! Of course then if you modify anything you have to do that all over again. I am a freelancer and really can’t afford this.

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exactly this…

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Maybe it time to switch to https://penpot.app/

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Developer here, paying for a design seat is the most conflicting thing I have ever seen, and brings back Adobe Illustrator nightmares. Happy to pay for a dev seat though. Thanks for reconsidering this Adobe!

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Representatives of Figma are not even replying. They know they messed up big time

Struggling with exact the same thing. Why do ‘we’ need to pay for the ‘seat’/‘subscription’ that the developer often already has.

Hey there! I totally understand the frustration with the recent changes and the financial juggling it’s introduced. One workaround might be using a project management tool where you can still control your designs but also allow client-side developers to access the files they need without directly involving Figma accounts. This way, you maintain control and streamline the finance management side of things. Additionally, setting clear guidelines with clients upfront about this process could help mitigate future access issues. Hope this helps nudge you in a direction that eases the burden a bit!