Despite sharing an alarmingly similar name, Henrique and I are not related.
Designer tools are persistently the discussion topic of choice at meetups or in community channels, which is why I’m very happy to introduce this month’s interviewee Henrique Ourique.
Henrique works for design library tool Lingo, which allows you to store your brand and design assets in a central location. It’s a great little app.
Enjoy the interview.
Can you explain who Lingo are?
Lingo is a modern digital asset manager. A visually browsable home for brand assets and their documentation.
Think a hybrid between a cloud storage solution and a style guide. Brand assets and documentation on how to use them in a single location.
What has been your design journey up until now?
I’ve been a design practitioner for about a decade, but my relationship with design goes further back.
Video games, school and personal projects introduced me to design in my teens. At seventeen I was pretty set on pursuing design as a career, so I embarked on a degree in communication design. After graduating I got an internship in Portugal and then another one in Spain.
From there, I got my first “real” job in design. This job opened my eyes for the paradigm shift the web was bringing to design, so I applied for a post-graduate degree in web design. Still in Spain, I ended up getting another job — designing for eCommerce at a digital design agency.
Here, I met my wife who is from the US. One day she asked if I’d be open to moving to Los Angeles, and I said yes and so we did it. In Los Angeles, I got a job at a design agency where I had the opportunity to work with a variety of clients from different industries. On the side, I freelanced to help pay the bills and learn new skills.
Eventually, I realized I was the happiest when designing for one topic/industry exclusively. This got me searching for my next job. A opportunity in house where I could dive deep into the problem and iterate on things after shipping. That job ended up being where I am today — Lingo.
Where are you based?
I’m currently based in sunny Los Angeles. I’ve been here for about 5 years now. Before, I lived and worked in both Spain and Portugal.
What does your typical morning look like?
There’s two parts to it: before work arrival and post work arrival.
Before work arrival looks like a time trial and is by no means glamorous. Between the time I wake up and the time I leave for work I have about one hour. During this time I go against the clock doing things like getting ready, walking the dog, and taking care of my son.
Once I get to work the first thing I do is customer support. Yup, I engage with customers daily which helps me understand their needs and informs my design process. After that, I check on the status of ongoing projects and pick up working right where I left of the day before.
What does your design stack look like?
I use a plethora of tools to navigate the entire spectrum of design — from research to shipping. The most used ones are:
Bear, a writing app. I use it to jot down my thoughts.
Concepts, a sketching app. I use it to visualize ideas/solutions and anchor discussions.
Sketch, a digital design tool. I use it to take ideas/solutions into a higher level of fidelity.
Visual Studio Code, a code editor. I use it to implement ideas/solutions.
Do you have any smart design processes?
Always consider the people that are going to be “using your designs”. What is that they are trying to do? What are their needs? And, how can you can help them? At the same time, remember to balance the answer to these questions with the goals of the business you work for.
Do you find it hard to define what you do to your friends?
Yes and no. If I only mention my job title — Head of UX — no one is going to know what I do. Yet, if I say “I design apps and stuff”, I feel that most people get a general idea of what I do.
They might not know all the details, but do the details even matter that much when you’re only having a nonchalant conversation?
What was it about working on a design tool that attracted you?
In all honesty, the design tool bit had nothing to do with it.
What attracted me about Lingo were the problems the team was trying to solve. They were problems that I, as a designer, had experienced first hand.
This meant the problems were very real to me, so I wanted to be part of building and shaping the solution.
What’s your team dynamic?
We’re a small team — eight people in total.
All working collaboratively towards the same common goals. Because we’re so lean, I get to work with every single person on team, including engineers, the chief product officer, and the marketing director. Additionally, there isn’t much bureaucracy which keeps things simple.
Lastly, everyone wears multiple hats and helps with whatever they can to keep things moving forward at a steady pace.
What advice would you give for those interested in kick starting a career in design?
Find companies that can provide the support and mentorship you’ll need in the very beginning of your career.
I’m thinking companies that offer internships or those with senior staff and openly looking for junior talent.
You can assess how companies might help you by reading how they talk about design and/or by getting in touch with their designers.
What are your thoughts on ‘the hustle’?
I think it’s fine when the extra work you’re putting in is for personal growth and/or a passion project. If you have the time and want to do it, then go for it.
What’s not cool is being forced to work overtime by your employer. Under normal circumstances, this shouldn’t happen.
I understand putting in some extra hours when you’re under a deadline. Yet, if you’re expected to work extra hours on regular basis, then something is not quite right. Also not cool when a potential employer requires you to show “side work”.
What you do on the side is yours to determine. If you don’t feel like having a side hustle then you shouldn’t be penalized for it.
Henrique’s story is inspiring not only because he has lived and work in several different countries, but also because of the method in which he chose his current position. Seeking teams that you’re aligned with and problems that you think need solving is a fantastic mindset to have when you’re searching for a design job.
We’re living in times where there are too many companies taking unethical stances on their approach to problem solving, so having this strong backbone is the only way to improve our industry.
Until next time.
Follow 8px Magazine for all future articles & interviews.
A selection of our other interviews:
- Kerning from the best — 5 minutes with Julie Delanoy
- Beyond the px — Customer.io’s Ivana McConnell
- Derivative Design and Branding a Podcast
- 2018 roundup: What did the industry teach these designers?
- Asana’s Matt Bond on management, startups and burn out
- Stripe’s Mercedes Bazan on moving countries, not being fearful, and having confidence
- Headspace’s François Chartrand on design, mindfulness and music