Drop Shadows in Figma
Adding a drop shadow in Figma is very easy, actually it’s only one button click. Though, there is some nuance to understanding the settings to get exactly the look you want.
Drop shadows can be a powerful design element, adding both depth and dimension to your creations. By creating the illusion of an object casting its shadow onto the surface behind it or beneath it, you can create stunning visual effects that will draw attention to your work.
You can control the opacity( transparency ) of the shadow. It’s typical to have a decent amount of transparency to the shadow as a pure color can be a bit jarring because we never come across this in real life.
When it comes to text though, having a bold drop shadow can make the text really stand out.
How to Add a Drop Shadow to Objects or Text
- Click on the element you want to add the drop shadow to.
- In the right hand menu locate the Effects tab.
- The Drop shadow option is selected by default.
That’s all it takes to enable the drop shadow. Click on the Effects Settings( Icon immediately to the left ) to customize the shadow effect.
The 4 Drop Shadow Effect Options
These effect options allow you to completely customize the shadow.
X: Offset the drop shadow on the X axis or horizontally.
Y: Offset the drop shadow on the Y axis or vertically.
These combined will dictate the direction of the lighting. The smaller the overall shadow the more directly overhead the lighting will seem.
Blur: Soften or sharpen the shadow’s blur to create your desired look. Increasing feathering for more blending into the background, while decreasing it to build a more striking contrast. A hard shadow shape with no feathering signifies a more intense light.
Spread: Change the shadow sizing to show distance between object and background. Spread is not available for text elements.
Fill: Select the shadow color and opacity.
Frames Drop Shadow Spread Disabled Fix
By default a frame in Figma will have the spread option disabled. To fix this issue just enable the option “Clip content” in the right hand menu.
Tips for Creating Great Looking Drop Shadows
Below are just a few pointers to take into consideration when creating shadows.
Think about Light Placement
Shadows look unnatural if they evenly surround an object, perfectly above the object. Adding a Y value to the shadow will better add a feeling of depth by making it seem as if the light source is sitting at an angle above the object casting a shadow.
Achieve More with Less
When it comes to drop shadows, a little goes a long way. The underlying idea is that you don’t need too much opacity to get the desired effect for your shadows; therefore, feel free to experiment with their level of subtlety until you find what works best!
Experiment with Color
For a unique and captivating look, instead of relying on an opaque black shadow, try using a tinted version of the brand or object’s color. This can add depth to your artwork while still providing subtlety.
Adding a warm color shadow to a cooler color background really can extra depth and add visual interest.
That’s it! Hopefully you have now learned how to not only created drop shadows in Figma but some mechanics on how to create shadows that are more visually interesting.
Please comment below to let me know if you have any questions or suggestions on other topics you would like covered.
Thank you for reading!