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Design is a Team Sport
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An insight from Jared Spool talk at Mirror Conf 2018 Edition

An insight from Jared Spool talk at Mirror Conf 2018 Edition

Last October, we had the opportunity to attend Mirror Conf, and since it happened in our city, it was a great opportunity to learn something from the best guys in the industry. One of the speakers that I was really looking forward to listening to was Jared Spool. He entitles himself as a Maker of Awesomeness at Center Centre/UIE and gave us an awesome talk about Design, more specifically, the importance of knowing the context about what we are designing, as well as its limitations, how to educate a team of people who are not so sensitive about the topic and its real importance to the success of a project. Here, I’ll break down the main points of Jared’s talk and adapting them to my personal experience.

Design is the Rendering of Intent

When we talk about rendering the intent it does not mean having an idea and start to explore it without knowing the essential information about the project. Even if our intention is the best, we must take a deep breath and analyze the whole thing before action.

The example, in which Jared focused his talk, was the meeting between two designers and their trail of thoughts. Did you ever hear about the Delta Onboarding Passes made by Tyler Thompson? They were inspired by Dustin Curtis work for American Airlines old website, which in his point of view the design was really poor.

Let’s talk about Tyler! After buying his ticket at Delta to fly from New York to Seattle, he received this boarding pass (img 1). Which made him feel instantly mad by the way it was designed.

This is was the boarding pass Tyler got from Delta

As you can see why, Tyler was not satisfied with it, and inspired by Dustin’s work, he grabbed his Moleskine and started to do some sketches. While doing it he thought about his trip and how should the information be organized, until he got to this point:

The Delta Boarding Pass suggestion designed by Tyler

As you can see, this suggestion led to a visually appealing and well-designed boarding pass with great typography, very well structured information and with some nice details to make the experience of buying a boarding pass way better.

What he didn’t think about, were the limitations that the company had to face if they wanted to follow its idea and the logistics that would be necessary to apply his design, including the costs that would come along with it.

SEE ALSO: BUILDING A DESIGN PROCESSIf you look closely, you will notice that to apply the suggested design, Delta would have to:

  • Replace more than 10.000 boarding pass printers;
  • Change the paper size and add cutting for bleeds;
  • Create a new supplied chain for colored inks.

As Tyler, there are a lot of people who think that can improve something, and at some point, we all think that we are all designers. Aren’t we?

The big difference, in this case, is that when you have great design skills but don’t have the full context of what are you designing for, it can look great, but it can be badly designed at the same time, because the big difference between poor design and great design lays in the render of the designer’s intent.

What causes poor Design?

Poor design is based on the right intention but executed poorly -  a poorly rendered intention! Tyler matches perfectly this example. He had an intention, and it was a good one, but it was executed poorly, not because the design was ugly, but because there was a lack of context when designing.

So in order to improve design, and create something meaningful, we must work on both, the intention and the skills of rendering it in the best way possible and when doing it, there are two things to have to take in consideration, so you must ask yourself:

Are we design activities or experiences?

On his talk, Jared referred Six Flags Mountain theme park vs Disney adventure park as well as the differences between the two. Long story short, let’s get straight to the point.

Six Flags Mountain

The Six Flags Mountain (img 3) is all about the rides, that come together with as many activities as you want. The main idea of this one is to experience fun and excitement with your chosen ride. Ok, let’s jump to the next until you think we are done for the day.

Map of Six Flags Magic Mountain Theme Park

Disneyworld Magic Kingdom

On the other side of the coin, there’s the map of Disneyworld Magic Kingdom. If you notice in the image above, there are no rides represented on, but that’s not because they don’t exist, that’s because Disneyworld wanted it that way.

They want to focus on the experience they can provide to you and to your children, turning your day into a memorable one, a day full of experiences. The day usually starts with the Character Breakfast, then people walk around the park and experience as more activities as they want to, and at the end of the day, there’s a marvelous fireworks display.

Map of Disneyworld’s Magic Kingdom

Let’s try to adapt this thought to a digital product. When designing for something, what is your main objective? Do you want to lead your user to perform some specific action? Or do you want to tell your user a story about your company, or who knows, explain something about your product and how it can improve your user’s life in some way through storytelling?

If you want to create a great experience, focus on discrete activities, like what your user wants to do? How can you guide them? What will you make through the process to make their experience better? These are some of the questions you can ask yourself in order to create a better experience for your user.

In order to do it, maybe you will need a design process.

Design process - A design process is a designed experience

Like mentioned previously, having a great experience plays an important role on the way that the user think and feel about your product, but if you’re looking forward to create the greatest experience possible, you need a design process and discipline to help you get there.

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” — Jim Rohn


My, yours, our design process

Every time we approach a new project, there’s a process we follow each time to help us to get better results along the way. This process led us to know exactly which are our clients needs, what is the project about and in which context do the clients use our product. With this in mind, we can work in order to solve them.

My first 100 days 100% remotely at Vitamina
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100 days! I started to work for Vitamina in a middle of a pandemic crisis, so I didn’t have the opportunity to meet anyone physically. It was difficult in the beginning to get all the processes and the specifications from the clients since a lot of information was shared during the first weeks.

Working remotely is a day-by-day challenge, with a mix of benefits and limitations. Without a good and united team, it wouldn’t be easy to adapt to this “new normal”, but everything is possible when we have the right mood. Even though I haven’t had the opportunity to meet my colleagues, sometimes I feel I’ve been with them in the recent past.

If someone asked me for one advice about starting to work for a digital marketing agency during COVID-19, I would immediately say: give yourself time to learn and take a deep breath.

It’s not supposed for you to begin a new job with full knowledge of the processes. This is a new relationship between you and a new company and, to build it, there is a whole process to go through.

After 3 months, I feel more confident, integrated, and challenged to work with different clients every day. Even without knowing, some of them were already present in my life, which turned out to be a funny coincidence.

I would also take this opportunity to acknowledge my colleagues who were always patient and ready to help when I was lost. Besides them, the beginning of this journey wouldn’t also be the same without Zoe (my puppy), always ready to jump to my legs during some meetings.

My last advice? Face your life with a smile because we never know what will happen in the next second.

Diogo Santos, Copywriter

ERROR 404: Why it happens and how to stop it!
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There’s no running away from problems. You just have to own up to your mistakes and come to terms with the consequences. Easy, right?

Today, I’m going to talk to you about how you can help yourself not to make so many mistakes at work. This is a subject that hits close to home.

I’m a very easily distracted person, the sort of person that would leave the toaster on and go straight out the door without a care in the world. And that's all fine. Perhaps. Until it’s not.

SEE ALSO: Content Creation Tip & Resources

When you want to be a hardcore professional girl, especially a professional in content creation, errors are simply... not acceptable. When a client’s image is on the line they can’t happen.

First of all, breathe. Then reflect on it. Then act on it.

STEP 1: Which one are you?

According to recent psychological studies, when it comes to mistakes, there are two types of people:

Type A: People that just stay calm and collect themselves in the face of a mistake. (oh, how I envy them!) They just need to adjust their focus and are much more likely to learn from their mistakes so they will not happen again easily.

Type B: People who panic. (uh, that's sooo me.) People who can’t get over their mistake are more likely to keep doing it in the future.

Choose carefully.

STEP 2: Understand your mistake!

Keep your mistakes on a lockdown.

Record and keep a personal log on your every mistake.

  • Lose your keys
  • Forget the kettle on
  • Misspell a word
  • Copy and paste wrong (yeah, it could happen!)

Identify a reason for the mistake to happen and write down the steps you followed in order to identify where the mistake occurred and how you could avoid them:

  • Where you in a rush?
  • Where you in a rush because you procrastinated?
  • Where you stressed about something else?

This way, you will understand the reasons why your mistakes keep happening and where the pattern is, if there is one.

STEP 3: Talk about it!

This is something you can’t be ashamed of, I know it’s hard but you have to face it and own up to it.

If these mistakes keep happening at work, then seek the advice of someone who has more experience than you and talk to that person about it. You are going to realize that mistakes are common, you are only human but there is an urgent need to suppress them.

STEP 4: Organization is the key!

  • Use checklists and to do’s.
  • Prioritize.
  • Simplify your schedule. Fewer tasks mean the work would be easier and better.
  • Ask for help. If your eyes can't identify the mistakes maybe having someone else revising your work should be the way.

SEE ALSO: Content Creation Tip & Resources

Above all, stay strong and don’t bring yourself down. However, take every mistake you make seriously, especially if it’s in the workplace. Face them, breathe and deal with the consequences. Whatever they might be.

Building a Design Process
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How building a design process helped in digital project management!

How we built our process in order to improve our work, organization, and collaboration with clients.

A year ago, after joining Vitamina. the main goal was to improve the quality of our services, so we could provide our clients with a more consistent work and also to improve our communication with them.

From developing marketing campaigns to creating websites and designing a new brand image for the company, these were among the firsts steps I took in building a Design Process.


Things were not always perfect.

Projects went well, but there was always something missing.

There were some details that needed to be polished and there were key pieces of information that were lost constantly, from the briefing up until the project development.

After a conversation with the rest of the team, taking some courses and doing the research that I needed,  we decided that the best way to improve the way we were working was to create a design process, in order to avoid loss of information and a lack of communication.

This process was inspired by the Design Sprint book by Jake Knap from Google Ventures and the Design Thinking process created and taught by Tom & David Kelley by IDEO, and last but not least some valuable information was taken from the Process Masterclass course by Nguyen Le.

With all the collected information, it was time to divide our process into these 6 following steps (before moving forward, check my other blog post: Design for your clients, not for your ego):

  • Understand;
  • Define;
  • Ideate;
  • Prototype;
  • Test;
  • Launch.

Why did we update our process?

Since the digital world is constantly changing and improving, it is important to keep up with new solutions in order to achieve our client’s goals and to be flexible enough to find a way that could be applied to most projects.

This means that you don’t need to look at it as a golden rule and follow it like a manual, since every client has different needs, but it's a way and you can adapt it and change it, according to your needs.

Next steps

As we are constantly striving to improve the way we work, the next step we want to take is to create a Design System in order to improve our design consistency and visual style guides, so if you want to know more, stay tuned for the next Design article.


Why having a content strategy matters
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From a content marketer to another, we all know that work can get hectic! Chill, we have all been there.

From a content marketer to another, we all know that work can get hectic: “Need 10 posts about the car convention by the end of the week, oh! need to find an image that suits the copy of that Instagram post, for the ebook and I also need a list of at least 20 themes, etc."

Suddenly, you feel the right side of your brain shutting down, no more creative days in the horizon and you can already see the demise of your passion for content.

Chill, we have all been there. Although, this perspective might be synonym to doom & gloom, don’t despair.

Content-focused business practices and process are relatively new and still evolving. I'm a real content marketing strategist at a heart, not at all a content strategist. So, I did find it difficult (and still do sometimes) to balance both: the creative, fun side of content creation and the focus on the goals and outcome of the content.


You know in your heart that true valuable content is one that serves a specific purpose. You need to adapt your content not only to the business you are talking about but also to its goals. You need content to be more than just brilliant, you need it to effective. The Content Marketing Institute says that we need to talk about two types of jobs related to content: the content strategist and the content marketer

The difference between the two types of strategists, although a little hard to explain, it's quite easy to grasp.

For starters, they have different purposes:

  • Content Marketer Strategist - Content Oriented - makes great content, one that has the potential to go viral, makes editorial calendars like no one, knows exactly which tone to adapt to your business.
  • Content Strategist - Market Oriented - turns content into a business, values content based on the outcomes, on the KPI’S, the numbers, sales and if the workflow process that can be easily reproduced.


Ideally in a super company there will be room for the two roles.

However not being able to afford the two, there is only one thing to do: become them both.

If you are capable of playing the two roles, not only will this enrich your work as it will enrich your multitasking and develop your business sense.

This will be an asset for any agency or company. Improvement of the results is always a goal to strive for.

And think you'd be like a super power, you would emerge in the room and a theme song will start playing and someone would say in voice over: “THE MASTER OF CONTENT” or something like, I mean...don’t get carry away.


Content Marketing: (some) Tips, Tools & Resources
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From us to you that works in content creation and management daily,  here are some tools and tips to make your work flow easier!

Creating content isn’t always a walk in the park where the sun shines brighter than ever before. In fact, most of the times it feels like you’re trying to swim but the current keeps pushing to the opposite direction.

See also: Why having a content strategy matters

A great part of business and marketing is becoming more and more automated, but the content creation is still a very “manual” job.

Fear not! I have some tools and resources that might help you creating content much easier and maybe help you out flow the processes.

Google Webmaster Tools

google websmaster tools

So, new client in town and you’re trying to do SEO and keyword research, huh?

Google’s Webmaster Tools is a great help. You can check things like: number of indexed pages to your website or submit your website to Google so you’re getting crawled and indexed and it even gives you information about search queries that have a large volume of impressions but low click through rate (CTR).

If you compare the data to your other analytics data it can help you uncover some opportunities that may “stand you out from the crowd”.


ciphy tools content marketing

Do you know that coworker that always find the perfect reaction gif for your social media post? Yeah, I’m (pretty) sure he finds it here.

Giphy has a Chrome extension completely free for you to use and abuse! You’ll be able to find the perfect reaction as quickly as your coworker. All you have to do is to open Chrome, search, choose the perfect GIF and drag and drop.

Heads-up! This is a tool that is always in constantly expanding support, so far it works on Gmail, Twitter, Facebook but who knows what’s the limit?


canva too content marketing

So, you're more of a visual content kind of person, but you need something quick and easy to manage, then Canva is just the right thing for you!

I know the time and the resources that takes to learn design or/and get inspired to create the most beautiful post that your client has ever seen and it’s even harder if you have a long list of to do’s standing right in front of you, but hey, Canva offers you an incredible amount of pre-made templates and assets that you can manipulate as you wish and add your own touch. The best part: it’s free!


content marketing grammar

Hey copy! Do you need a second or even a third look on your words?

Grammarly tracks every mistake you might have on your speech for social media and it even connects with them.

Blog Topic Generator

content marketing tips tools blog

When you need to write a blog post but you’re not sure on the title to get your creativity moving – try HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator.

You only have to enter a few keywords that your blog focus on and it will give you a week’s worth topic ideas for you. It will give new points of view for topics you’ve written about before.

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