We keep on presenting our amazing team members in our monthly clipping. This month, you get to know the most creative person in the team. Our UI/UX designer that learned how to code and is now a lead front-end developer.
Pedro has a degree in Communication Design and has grown as a front-end developer while working for digital agencies in Portugal. He powers his creative mind by playing music - yes he plays the guitar - and painting portraits - yes he is also a painter.
As a designer that codes, Pedro delivers amazing and beautiful web designs to our clients. Even though we believe he chose the right carrier path, we found out that his first choice was actually to create illustrations for comics.
We did an interview with Pedro to learn more about his tools for design and most important to get to know him better.
Why did you choose to be a designer?
Design was actually a plan B. By the time I started the first design course, I still wanted to be a comic books artist. In the beginning, I choose to study Communication design because it was somehow in the arts field and it was financially rewarding in the short term. And I ended up doing both at the same time for a while. Design ended up growing on me and I am more focused on it, but I still have the passion for the comics.
Why did you decide to focus on web design?
At the time I was studying web design was expanding and it was exciting to be part of it. I am also a big fan of new technologies and new tools and web design somehow allowed me to be more in tune with those. I was amazed by the speed that you see your project done and the collaborative side of it. Another cool thing that also attracted me to the web was the fact that a website keeps on being updated and improved, unlike a book or other design products that once it is done and published is pretty much finished and immutable, until a reprint or something.
What was like learning how to code from a designer perspective? How did it impact your designs?
The curiosity to learn new tools and have this extra knowledge gives me more insights into what I can and should do in the web design realm. Learning to code gave me a better idea of the boundaries and limitations of the web. The whole process was exciting and frightening at the same time because it is a whole new world in front of me. I never decided to be a programmer. My focus was still on Design above all and how I could improve my designs. I believe it's always a good thing for a designer to learn the medium where the creations will be applied, and understand a bit beyond its craft. Like a graphic designer needs to learn about the printer shop he is working with, a web designer should know what is around him, tools, complementary disciplines and professionals.
What was the most challenging project you worked on and why?
I was doing some visuals for a project with Nike - social media, print pieces. It is a giant brand and due to its size, there was a lot of bureaucracy and validation processes going on. It was the most intricate task I worked in. Not all the moments were exciting, doing the design work was pleasuring but the Q&A was pretty much overwhelming and it could take longer to get feedback and with that, some momentum was lost, I admit.
Looking back, would you do something different?
It was a long time ago and I don't quite remember everything. Obviously, I would have avoided some mistakes if I knew then what I know now (you know, that cliché). But mainly, I would have taken the pressure of working for a big company in a more lighthearted way. At times, I felt I was pressuring myself more than the rest of the team. At the end of the day, it's still a project and it's still a client.
What inspires your work? Where do you go get inspiration?
Actually, this is a funny question. I try to look at things that are not design related. If you look at things related to what you are doing, you get to catch up in a circle. People that do breakthroughs and get something fresh in their work, usually have other sources of inspirations - painters get inspired by music, musicians get inspired by movies and so on. But when looking for related content I turn to web design blogs and inspirations sites (like Smashing magazine, a List apart or UX Collective).
Which are your favourite design tools and why?
Currently, my go-to design tool is Sketch due to the proximity of the web development process. Also, I like using the classic Photoshop for image editing and Illustrator for more illustrative and printable work.
How do you incorporate current design trends in your work?
Tricky one! I have this thing against trends, but when I do adopt a so-called trend usually it's an adaptation to something I have already done or I'm starting to dabble with.
For instance, what we recently did on our Marzee Labs website. At the services page, there is an email submission form for interested clients to ask for further information. The label (E-mail address) inside the box goes up when you click on it and stays visible to the user when he is typing. It's useful and it has a nice touch to the user experience, but it was a trend a while ago.
The problem with trends is jumping on them just because it is cool and everyone does it, without greater reasons for them.
What is the best way to rest, forget about work and power your mind?
Listening and playing music is something that does allow me to relax. It takes me to places. I play for pure fun and pleasure, no pressure whatsoever. I like playing on the guitar mainly, but dust off the bass also. Rock is the go-to style to jam. To some extent, I also like to paint and draw. Essentially I paint realistic figures in oil with a big emphasis on portraits. But I do think I spend more time with music since I take on painting and drawing as more work-like endeavours, meaning that I have more concerns with how to do it properly instead of music which is more as a meditative activity.
Pedro in the interwebs:
Written by Pedro Santos, our designer and front-end developer. Designing UI and UX for a complex and continuously evolving management application (and getting to write HTML/CSS at the same time) requires a focused mindset, flexible toolkit, collaborative team effort and never ceasing to improve and learn on both sides of my line of work, Design and Code.
Written by Luís Miguel, our tech lead. We've written before about our adventures into assembling our own Static Site Generator tech stack, named Besugo after the Portuguese red seabream. This time we thought we should step even further back, and discuss why we started working on it in the first place.
An interesting article about combining Contentful and Gatsby for a powerful Static Site Generator.
This guide walks you through creating a Next.js app that receives data from a Node.js API powered by FaunaDB, and how to deploy it with ZEIT Now.
To shed light on implementing a stack that's worked well for me: Ghost as a CMS, GatsbyJS as a static site generator, and Netlify for deployment.
The Serverless Framework is one of the oldest (and still going strong!) deployment frameworks around for serverless applications. Learn more about it with this interesting article.
How do you build something that matters? Anything, it almost doesn't matter what it's going to be: a product, a company, a hobby, a new job? Here is a mantra which I think can help anyone build something that matters.
The old thing (in this case, a monolithic CMS like WordPress that produced regular HTML web pages) might be boring but it works. Provably works. And so when it came time to rebuild and redesign postlight.com, I had to say it: Why bother with headless WordPress?
An interesting overview of the Service Design Process.
[Lisbon] Wednesday, October 9, 2019 - Nerdzão PT #4 - Lisbon goes Serverless In this free face-to-face meetup, we will discuss everything about Serverless!
[Porto] Thursday, October 10, 2019 - Product Management Night Porto Product Management Nights Porto are local product management events where all members of the community are invited to join for an evening of exchange, knowledge and learnings.
[Porto] Thursday, October 10, 2019 - Porto Codes: An Introduction to Elm By the end of this talk, you will be able to create your own web application in Elm, understand how it compares with other projects like React as a tool for creating websites and web apps, but also understand the core ideas and patterns that make Elm nice to use.
[Porto] Friday, October 11, 2019 - Porto Tech Hub Conference - 2019 We are committed to increasing the awareness of Porto as an awesome place to work and live, especially for the tech and software industry.
[Porto] Saturday, October 12, 2019 - Porto Codes presents Hacktoberfest Hacktoberfest is a month-long celebration of open source software run by DigitalOcean and DEV. Hacktoberfest is open to everyone in our global community. To participate, four pull requests must be submitted to public GitHub repositories.
[Porto] Monday, October 14, 2019 - MASTERCLASS | Growing and Managing Remote Teams Marcus Wermuth and Gonçalo Hall - Two great guests will share some stories and tips to create and manage remote teams in the tech world.
[Porto] Saturday, October 19, 2019 - MINDERA | TECH DAY Mindera will open its doors and welcome everyone who wants to hear and learn about what we do from the people we love!
[Porto] Friday, October 25, 2019 - #1 Agile Beer Porto Nossa primeira edição será realizada na Critical Software. Vamos compartilhar experiências e conhecimento sobre os métodos ágeis, expandir nosso network e ainda tomar uns finos juntos.