How to create a Variant-powered Component in Figma

In this tutorial I'll show you how to create a Floating Action Button Component in Figma.

How to create a Variant-powered Component in Figma
Photo by Ion Şipilov / Unsplash

In this tutorial, I'll show you how to create a new Floating Action Button Component in Figma, so you can see how easy it is to start building your own components and how to use powerful but sometimes confusing features such as Variants.

Ok. Wow. A Floating Action Button. Well, it's more about showing you how to create Components with Variants. And like anything, it's better to start small and then work your way up to bigger things right?

Now. Variants as powerful as they are can be a little confusing the first time you start creating components with them.

But don't worry, this tutorial will fix any confusion that you might have, and you'll be Variant ready the next time you create a suitable component.

QUICK NOTE: Download the required Figma file here to follow along with this Tutorial.

(ANOTHER) QUICK NOTE: You can also view the video below (which is from the Premium Edition of my Design System for Figma; Cabana) if you prefer to follow along that way...

Let’s start building a Variant-powered Component.

Ok. Firstly.

Taking a look at the existing Floating Action Button or FAB Component in the Tutorial file, you’ll see that it’s made up of 8 elements to cater for differing sizes, as well as shape types.

An example of a complete ‘FAB’ button variant component in Figma

And if you click on the Variant container you’ll see the different Variants shown in the Inspector.

An example of various Variants shown in the Inspector in Figma

So. How do you put all this together? Let me show you…

Let’s start with the Extra Large, Circular button first.

Using the Frame tool draw out a Frame 64 by 64, give it a corner radius of 100, and then from the Inspector panel apply the Blue Color Style.

A circular shape in Figma with the colour Blue applied to it

Then from the Assets panel, grab the ‘Math Plus’ icon and drag that into the Frame.

An example of a ‘Plus’ icon in white, inside of a blue circular shape

Change the Size of the icon to 32 by 32, align it inside the Frame, and then with it still selected, change its colour to White from the Color Styles in the Inspector.

With the Frame selected, turn it into a Component using the icon in the toolbar, and then rename it to, let’s say, ‘FAB Demo’.

A circular button being turned into a Main Component in Figma
A circular button component with the words ‘FAB Demo’ being applied to its component name

Time to bring on the Variants.

Ok. Let’s do some Variant work on this little button.

With the Main Component selected, click the Plus icon in the Variants panel of the Inspector to create a new Variant.

An example of a variant being applied to a circular button component in Figma

Ok. We’re off and ready!

Feel free to drag out the Size of the Variants container, change its colour, and generally move things around until you’re happy with the layout.

An example of 2 variants side by side inside of a Variant container in Figma

Now. With the new Variant selected, use the shortcut K to use the Scale tool and reduce the size of the new Variant down to 48 by 48.

A duplicate button variant being reduced in size inside Figma

Once you’ve done that, press V to go back to the Move tool.

Get descriptive with your Variant names.

Ok. Let’s see where we’re up to.

Click on the Variants container and take a look at the Variants panel in the Inspector.

An example of non-descriptive variant names being shown in the Inspector panel in Figma

Property 1. Default. Variant2.

Wow. Inspiring.

Let’s tweak things to get those property and variant names a little more descriptive shall we?

Now. Referencing the existing Floating Action Button Component, we know we need a Property called Size and one called Type.

An example of 2 new variant type names being shown in the Inspector in Figma

Let’s start with the Size first.

Double click on the Property name and change it to Size.

An example of a variant type name being changed to the word ‘Size’

We also know that we need different sizes of buttons, so let’s edit the Variant names too.

Extra Large and Large would be a great place to start.

An example of 2 variant size names being changed to Extra Large and Large

Now let’s create a Property called Type.

Click Add New Property and name it Type.

An example of the Add New Property select menu being used in the Variants panel in Figma

Then, to adjust the Variant name, double-click on the Chip and rename it to Circle.

An example of Type property in the Variants panel being changed to the word ‘Circle’

That’s looking a lot better.

Ok, let’s finish up the sizes for the circular shaped button.

With the Large Variant selected, click on the Add Variant icon at the bottom of the container.

An example of Add Variant button being used to duplicate an existing variant

And then use K to Scale it down to 40 by 40.

An example of the Scale tool being used to reduce the size of a variant

Don’t forget to press V to switch back to the Move tool.

With this new Variant selected, jump on over to the Variants panel and rename its Size to Medium.

An example of a variant’s name being changed to ‘Medium’

Ok. Let’s get the final size Variant into place.

With the previous one selected, click the Add Variant icon, and using K resize it to 32 by 32 and adjust its Size name to Small.

An example of a variants name being changed to ‘Small’

Clicking on the Variants container, you can see that we have all our Circular button Size Variants in place.

An example many variant names being shown in the Inspector panel in Figma

Watch out for those Variant conflicts.

Let’s quickly move onto the Square button type Variants.

With the Extra Large button variant selected, click the Add Variant icon.

And. Oh. Figma, we have a problem.

An example of an error message showing a conflict between certain variant names

We have two Variants with matching values, which is not cool in the crazy world of Variants.

Let’s fix that real quick.

Well, quickly, with this new Variant added, reduce its Corner Radius to 6. Cool.

An example of a corner radius being applied to a variant

Ok. Let’s fix this Variant conflict.

From the Variants panel, select the Type property, and from the select menu, click Add New.

An example of a new property being applied to a variant

For the new value, simply enter Square.

There we go. A quick name change was all that was needed, and now everything is good in the world.

An example of variants with no conflict message being shown any more

Just something to note. If at any time you see the following message pop up in the Variants panel, go through your existing Variants and check for any naming conflicts there.

Let’s start wrapping things up here.

Following similar steps to before, let’s create the remaining sizes for the Square shaped button, using the Add Variant option and the trusty Scale tool.

Just remember to select the correct Variant options in the Variants panel, as otherwise, you’ll see that pesky conflict message popping up.

An example of various square shaped button variants being added in Figma

Also, remember to switch back to the Move tool to add a new Variant each time; otherwise, that handy little Add icon won’t appear for some strange reason.

And there we go!

Now jump on over to the Assets panel, drag in your new Component and start tweaking away at those Variants from the Inspector panel.

An example of variant powered button component having its variants tweaked from the Inspector panel

Ok. So. Initially, setting up new Components with Variants can take some time, there’s no doubt about that, but once they’re in place, the power they wield is fantastic.

Go forth and create some more.

You’re now a Variants master.

Join me soon for the next part of this Figma 101 Series.

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