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Beyond the px — Globo’s Carla Demarchi on being grateful, balance, and flexibility

Happy 2021 folks!

I’m really excited to kickstart the year with an interview with Brazilian designer Carla Demarchi, who lives in sunny Rio de Janeiro.

She is a design systems expert and loves jumping into the details!

Enjoy.

Who are Globo?

Globo is one of the largest media-tech companies in Latin America. It offers sports, journalism, and entertainment products.

What has been your design journey?

When I started college, I was studying Systems Analysis and Development at the time I was very curious to understand how this whole programming thing worked. Writing something and the computer being able to interpret it is very crazy.

Until then I had not had much contact with design, after some classes on HTML and CSS, I started to be very interested in the visual part and then I started studying design.

I started working as a designer in small digital agencies designing websites for some brands — this phase was important — because I learned a lot about visual design and information architecture.

Then I started working at Philips and it was also the first time that I started working with a design system. I am currently working at Globo and it has been a great opportunity for me to be able to build a design system that will reach different products.

Where are you based?

Currently, I live in Rio de Janeiro where Globo’s headquarters is located. Rio de Janeiro is a beautiful city, famous for its beautiful beaches and tourist attractions, e.g. Cristo Redentor and Pão de Açúcar. The people here are very welcoming and charismatic, I came here without knowing anything or anyone and ended up making great friends. It was also here that I adopted my cat, Chicó.

What does your typical morning look like?

I usually wake up early, make a good cup of coffee and use that time to catch up on the world via Twitter, Chicó is usually with me at those times. After this, I take 20–30 minutes to walk around listening to a podcast. After that, I have a shower and start working.

First, I take a few minutes to read and reply to emails and messages on Slack. Then I go back to my tasks, which are usually designing something in Figma or documenting something in the Storybook.

What does your design tool stack look like?

Figma, Notion, Slack and VSCode.

It’s incredible to see how tools evolved in the last years and how this help to shape the design community. For example, at the beginning of the design systems boom, you didn’t see so many features inside design tools for this kind of project. Today, we have a lot of options, like plugins, templates, APIs, eg. that are handy when building a design system.

Do your career aspirations encroach your life?

I have stopped to think about this. I find it difficult to divide these things because they are related to who I am and the choices I make in life. For example, when I’ll choose new home furniture or new sneakers, the process to choose passes about my inspirations, the style I look for things, for me everything is connected.

What’s your team dynamic?

I work on a new team and it’s not so big. There are four people – two designers and two developers. I have been grateful to be on this team with people who are smart, experienced, respectful, who are willing to teach and learn. And at the end, they are people that I would like to spend time talking to in a bar.

I love you guys ❤

Will your product exist in ten years time?

At this moment I have been building a design system that wants to serve multiple products and across multiple platforms. And all definitions, choices of patterns, and decisions are very much guided by how we build something so good and so mature that it can be almost timeless.

Of course, a design systems, being a system, undergo evolutions, adaptations, and changes over time. And it is important that as a system he can adapt to that, without having to throw everything away and start over from scratch.

What advice would you give for those interested in kick starting a design career?

It’s okay not to know about everything, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, that’s part of the process.

Always listen to feedback, it’s very important.

Find your inspiration and learn about them, don’t forget to take a chance while and it may seem cliché but enjoy the journey.

What are your thoughts on burnout?

I think the pandemic has made it possible for us to rethink how we relate to work and how much we need space to spend time with family and ourselves.

Something I have learned is that the relationship with work needs to be healthy, balanced, and have time.

When I feel like I’m not coming up with good solutions or that I’ve been through everything I had in mind, I stop and leave it for the next day. There’s no point in forcing.

And on days when I feel like I got the flow, I spend hours there, because I feel like I’m being productive and I’m focused, I think it depends a lot on the creative process of each one, if you’re okay with the time you’re spending on it, then that’s fine.

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Life, by designers.

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Luis Ouriach

Luis Ouriach

Design and community @FigmaDesign, newsletter writer, co-host @thenoisepod, creator of @8pxmag. Sarcastic.

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