"Brainstorm -- two creative minds are better than one."
Sometimes, getting the ball rolling on a design can be tricky -- be Filipa Machado can help. Scroll down for her go-to questions that help kickstart a design, tips to create beautiful websites that actually perform well, and more.
DesignRush: Where do you look for inspiration in your day-to-day work?
Filipa Machado: Anything can be an inspiration. The other day I was working for a client and was inspired by the show WAGS Miami. It's funny but the clothes, the bling, and the slang really inspired me. Other than that, I try to see what other designers are doing, either on design inspiration websites or their portfolios.
I also like websites that sell or share design resources, like Freepik or Themeforest. They are a great place to look for inspiration because the collaborators are always very attentive to what the clients/designers are looking for.
DR: Which blogs, web applications or mobile apps do you check or use every day?
FM: I always check Creative Bloq's articles. Whether they are talking about trends or making a list of the best fonts/software/freebies, their content is always fresh and interesting. That's where I found out about Freeter - a task management software. It has saved me a lot of time while moving from one project to another.
DR: When a client asks you to design a website, what are the first questions you ask?
FM: I believe understanding the target audience for the new website is always the most important thing. There are so many different audiences to attract and they all have very specific needs and tastes! For instance, think about just the younger demographics: the hipster, the blogger, the video game player, the culinary enthusiastic, the musician, only to name a few. Their needs must be reflected in the design, communication tone and photography. That's why knowing your target is key.
DR: How do you design with website performance in mind?
FM: Luckily for designers, website performance - loading time, etc - has improved a lot in the past few years. I remember when I first started designing and developing the front-end, there was no simple way to add shadows or round corners to a website other than using an image. Not to mention that the internet's speed was terrible back then! Even now using CSS3 and HTML5, I keep in mind that images shouldn't be too heavy and adding too many animations can crash browsers. These are big problems, especially on mobile and tablets. On top of designing a responsive website, content should also be adapted to these devices for better performance.
DR: What does a person coming into the field need to know?
FM: It's important to keep up with the trends: check out new websites, read the latest articles, and get newest fonts. Definitely spend some time looking at what's being done by others. Be sure to brainstorm with colleagues and other designers when you get the chance. Two creative minds are better than one.
DR: What is the number one design mistake you see made?
FM: Some websites need to have a lot of content: social security, finances, etc. Great UX is very important in these cases. When I can't find something on a website even after using the search option, it drives me crazy. I immediately will just look for the virtual phone number and leave the website. Everyone knows how frustrating this can be. A confusing UX can mean losing clients.
DR: Any last words of advice or final thoughts for our readers?
FM: Being a designer is not always easy. Dealing with clients and meeting tight deadlines can be extremely stressful. In design, there usually isn't a clear-cut right or wrong solution since people have all different opinions, making the process difficult at times. However, being able to create beautiful stuff every day is the only way I can imagine living life.