When it comes to technology my parents were cool.. we've always had computers and video game consoles and I loved it. My passion for design started in the mid 90s when I was 14, even though I didn't quite know it yet.
I grew up in Porto, Portugal and started creating websites when I was 15. In 2000 I moved to London to go to Uni. Since then I've been lucky enough to do work for some incredible clients and for some of the best creative agencies in the world.
In 2008 I founded Enjoythis - a creative digital studio based in East London.
What do you do for inspiration?
Going to new places and meeting new people is the biggest source of inspiration for me. I love travelling around the world and I wouldn't be able to work so hard if it wasn't for holidays - but I also wouldn't be able to travel if I didn't work so much.
www.lmgtfy.com - genius, I love sending it to my friends when they ask something which they could Google.
How many hours do you work each week?
On average maybe around 50 hours per week but when things get crazy I can work over 12 hours a day. We try not to work weekends unless it's absolutely necessary.
If you weren't working on the internet what would you be doing?
Cooking. I love to cook and to eat out. If I ever have another career it will definitely be food related.
What's your favourite part of your job? What's the hardest part of your job? What do you do when you get stuck?
Working in a small studio means that sometimes we have to do a bit of everything. When I worked at big agencies I used to get frustrated that my role was so narrow, so focused on one specific task. I love meeting and developing relationships with our clients. I love designing and the technical thinking. I love working closely with my team and creating great work. The hardest part is the QA phase. There's always something that will happen that you hadn't been able to foresee but that's part of the job.
What's the longest you've ever stayed up working on a project?
I've done so many all nighters. I've been close to collapsing on a few occasions. But I must say, I'm not as half as hardcore as I used to be really.
What software could you not live without?
We're actually writing a series of articles on the Enjoythis blog about the software and tools we use and it's my turn to write next.
This is an obvious one but I really love CS6, I think it's the best release Adobe have ever done and Creative Cloud is a much better approach to software licensing. I keep raving about a desktop app (for Mac) called Cloud App. It's for sharing screenshots and files. You take a screenshot as you normally would and it uploads it to the cloud whilst automatically copying the file's URL to your clipboard. I take and share a lot of screenshots throughout a day and I seriously couldn't live without it anymore. It's also good for uploading and sharing any type of files.
How many projects does your company juggle at any one time?
It depends on the size of the projects. The perfect situation is to have a 2/3 month project on and then some smaller ones including clients updates/ongoing work. Sometimes being small allows us to sort of choose the work we want to take on and focus on quality. We get briefs for digital projects which are not the kind of things we are interested in and we're honest about it to those clients. We could easily just take it on and outsource or do it half-hearted it but that's not what Enjoythis is about - we pride ourselves in crafting our work.
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
There are so many.. From the top of my head I'd say Heydays, Sagmeister & Walsh.. there's this small design studio called Pacifica, they're from Porto my hometown, they've been doing some lovely stuff check them out - http://www.thisispacifica.com
I'm more into creative individuals than companies. I admire Paula Scher (Pentagram), I saw her speaking a couple of years ago and she's amazing.
Are there any websites that have shone through as being pioneering in the last 5 years or so?
There are always trends going on when it comes to web-design, I find it very interesting… It's rare for me to come across a website that feels pioneering.
The Nike's Better World site was the pioneer of parallax scrolling.. or at least it was the first site to do something very impressive with it, I'd never seen such a thing and I thought it was awesome. After that everyone was doing parallax.. it got a bit too much.
The last site that has really impressed me in terms of technology was Find Your Way To Oz (Google Chrome Experiment), it's brilliant.
When dealing with major clients, how difficult is it to meet the needs of such wide target audiences?
We've done work for some major brands such as Diesel, Umbro and Sony - big client work usually comes to us through agencies collaborations meaning they look after most of the strategy and planning. I guess one of the most challenging part for us is about localisation and QA - global projects tend to need to work in really old browsers which can be tricky. Once we did a campaign site for Umbro and all the type was hand drawn by my friend, illustrator Hennie Hawnworth. Umbro then decided they also wanted to launch the campaign in China with a super tight deadline. Hennie tried her best to copy and draw the characters but to be honest I have no idea if there were any mistakes, we thought that was really funny.
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
When it comes to technology my parents were cool.. we've always had computers and video game consoles and I loved it. My passion for design started in the mid 90s when I was 14, even though I didn't quite know it yet. My older sister Joana got me into Corel Draw, before that I used Windows Paint. I'd spend hours just playing with shapes and colours.
Are there things you do OUTSIDE of work to ensure that you are in the right mindset to be creative and/or successful in whatever you are doing?
I find that having regular contact with nature is very important for me to be happy. London has a lot of beautiful parks which is great but getting out of the city once in a while is essential, even if it's just a day trip to a cute English village - I love the English countryside and a good old pub. I try to visit home as much as I can, my family lives in Portugal and I miss them a lot. Sports really help me to unwind and relax.
Of all the websites you/your company have produced, which one are you most proud of?
At the moment we're working on a project which I'm very proud of… it's an online course called Big History Project which explores 13.7 billion years of history, from the Big Bang to modern times. It's already being taught in over 80 schools worldwide with Bill Gates providing ongoing program support. We've been collaborating with Intentional Futures in Seattle - doing some of the UX/design work and we’re excited to share our work soon.
What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?
Yes, I do. We get a lot of CV's at Enjoythis. To be honest I mainly look at their portfolios - If their work is awesome then I don't really care where or if they've studied. The work speaks for itself and anyone with a passion and an eye for design can build a portfolio which will eventually generate paid work. Saying this, there are now some really great digital focused courses out there and I wish I'd had that opportunity.
We recently had two interns from Belgium working with us for three months and I was super impressed with what they'd been learning at uni. They were more skilled than some juniors.
What would be your ultimate vehicle to travel in?
Time machine please! Or maybe a flying skateboard, hmm...
When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?
Word of mouth. Tell everyone you know you're doing it. Write to all your contacts. I think it's important to have contacts beforehand.. working at big companies before setting up my own was definitely a big help.
How do you keep your finger on the pulse of the latest web trends?
I try to take time to look at what others are doing.. I think everyone does and this way we all push each other. I visit sites like the FWA whenever I can - FWA is top though so it's awesome to be doing this interview. I enjoy attending talks and conferences, is very inspiring.
What country excites you the most in terms of innovation?
I think a lot of amazing work comes from the UK, specially London. London rocks. Norway, Sweden, US, Japan..
What does the future hold for your company, or you as a person?
Our producer Garry lives inbetween London and Stockolm so we're going to see if we get more projects over there - would be nice to have a little satellite studio.