Interview with Carina Martins: What Will Change in Design in the Years to Come?

Interview with Carina Martins: What Will Change in Design in the Years to Come?


Experienced, highly-dedicated, and a connoisseur of the wonderful history of Design, Carina Martins has spent the past 20 years energizing product design ideas.

With AI, machine learning, and new technological advancements that seem to pop up every single quarter, it’s important to see what is going to change the game in the near future.

By reading this design interview, readers will have access to the opinions and views of one of Portugal’s brightest stars, getting to be able to understand how the next few years will impact ideas, artistic perceptions, and the day-to-day of product designers all over the world.

1. Tell us About Yourself

My name is Carina Martins.

I’m ALTA Digital’s Head of Design, and I’m a design maven.

I love aesthetic forms, different shapes, and the fact that this method really does have a remarkably powerful impact on people’s lives.

Objects have become part of our existence, and of our daily routines.

Their shapes, forms, and features transform our experience every single day.

I’m a joyful person, a mother of two, and I’m always interested in learning more about new ways to perceive the wonderful realm of design.

2. What is Your Educational Background?

I majored in Industrial Design at the University of Lisbon.

What I found appealing in industrial design was how objects were tri-dimensional.

I also loved the fact that I had the chance to create in a structured and systematic way, while also being able to make use of my conceptual and creative abilities.

This truly is a terrific area of expertise since it actually came up with completely new objects and amazing solutions.

For a long time, I was fascinated by that.

However, once I completed my studies, I had to face an incontrovertible fact: in Portugal, there weren't that many job opportunities for a recently-graduated industrial designer.

That's when I decided to bet on digital.

At the time, it was called web design and it was a fledgling area of knowledge.

This means I had to experience an adjustment: going from the physical world of industrial design to a virtual world.

For some people, these aspects are opposites of one another.

Not for me.

In fact, I was still able to come up with creative new solutions.

I just had to make sure that I took specific technological constraints into account.

In product design, artists must ensure they take the product's characteristics into consideration.

The same goes for web design.

Web design also allowed me to gain a whole new notion of visual perception since I not only had to focus on user experience but also on basic notions of programming.

3. What Did You Find Appealing in Design? 

What do I find appealing?

The rationale behind the final object.

The cerebral process behind the objects we have all come to know and love.

I'm mesmerized by the ability that humans have of transforming a creative idea into something that becomes a material.

architect architecture build

Excellence in creativity comes about when that rationale is immediately understood without the need for logical explanation.

People just get what the product is.

They instantly know its value, benefits, and how it can improve their life.

When apps are so simple to explore that even a child understands what they must do.

That's the organic seamlessness of design.

That's super appealing to me.

4. What are the Biggest Design Challenges? 

The biggest challenge is speed.

We live our lives in an accelerated mode.

Everything goes by so fast that it seems like we don't have time to enjoy the moment.

Nowadays, there appears to be no time to ponder, to reflect.

It's increasingly hard to be able to stop, think, and analyze different solutions and diverse paths.

To have a job that demands constant creativity and innovation is a huge challenge of being a designer in this fast-paced, almighty-digital century.

5. What is Your Favorite Design Project?

I don't have a favorite project, but I certainly enjoy a challenging task.

The harder the challenge is to overcome, the more adrenaline I get.

It motivates you to think faster, innovate creatively, and come up with the best product design.

You have to enjoy the ride.

You must be able to appreciate the moment when you have to dive deep into knowledge, analysis, and thorough appraisal.

You have to learn as much as possible, and really understand what that particular business entails.

That's the only way to create something of value.

As designers, we have to understand users and know their pain points.

Since technology is evolving at a speedy pace, there are always new product design trends and solutions coming about.

We can incorporate them into projects, energizing our final product.

And that goes for all the different areas of design.

6. What is the Key to Creating Great Design?

There are a plethora of different keys for a great design.

In my opinion, these are the most important aspects that designers should bear in mind to be able to create a successful design:

  • A great benchmark, which allows them to know what is out there
  • An extraordinary analytical ability, so that designers can ascertain how they can innovate
  • A natural sense of empathy, so that experts can understand the user's pain points
  • Above-average visual culture, so that designers can ensure they turn ideas into concrete shapes
  • A wonderful ability to grasp abstract concepts, so as to get creative and deliver added value

7. What do You Believe to Be The Most Relevant Design Trends?

There are a lot of design trends we could all start exploring.

For me, this year, strong, saturated colors are here to stay (what we know as digital colors - RGB.)

Another trend that is conquering the realm of design?

The superior importance of mobile devices.

mobile devices

Mobile-first isn't just a best practice - it is simply essential.

8. What is Your Creative Process Like?

My creative process is boosted by these two aspects: benchmarking & inspiration.

It can be something I read or seen somewhere.

It can be a visual which I found and felt drawn to.

Then, the creative process is all about ideas.

You have to be able to conceptualize an idea, and that idea must be able to effectively tell a story - concept.

Afterward, it's all about choosing which paths to take, working on them, and seeing ideas become a concrete project.

My creative process isn't linear.

It's organic and subject to moods as well as different variations.

At times, you must take one step forward and three steps back in order to get to where you need to be.

9. What Should a Head of Design Always Bear in Mind?

You must stay focused and be able to ensure your team is not only motivated but aligned with the company's creative strategy.

You need to have the ability to bring out the best in people, guaranteeing you get to deliver formidably creative projects that take deadlines and production costs into account.

10. What are the Worst Mistakes Ever in Design?

The worst mistake of all time is quite simple to grasp: starting the process without having a clue of what the concept is all about.

A concept is the engine of design.

Without it, designers will be navigating across the Atlantic ocean completely blindfolded.

Without a concept or a destination, you won't be able to succeed in design.

11. Who Are Your Design Role Models?

My role model is nature itself.

fog foggy forest

Its shapes, diverse forms, and natural existence inspire and move me.

I've been reading about biomimicry.

Biomimicry is the production of materials, systems, and structures that are actually modeled on biological processes and entities.

12. What is in the Cards for the Future of Design?

The future user experience and the future of design go hand in hand.

In my opinion?

Artificial Intelligence will team up with design, and they will both become able to find new paths and solutions.

That's the only way they will be able to address new challenges that will come about in AI and design.

13. How Will the Advent of Digital Transformation Change Design?

For me, it's simply impossible to perceive one without the other.

Design without digital transformation would be the end of design.

It would mean it had stagnated and become a paralyzed area of expertise.

These two aspects must be connected and in marvelous harmony.

Apps must work, be intuitive, and ensure the life of companies and people becomes easier.

For that to become a reality, we will need cross-sectional teams in which designers will be at the forefront of digital transformation initiatives.

14. What’s the Main Value Offered by ALTA Digital?

ALTA Digital is a project that has one mission: to ensure we deliver a holistic offer that allows clients to take full advantage of product development, design, and digital marketing.

The objective?

To guarantee we help companies dive deep into digital transformation.

abstract art

15. What do You Want to Achieve in the Next 5 Years?

I want to continue learning about the future of design, and I want to continue to be part of this digital-oriented agency.

At ALTA Digital, our goal for the future is simple: to go international, crafting digital solutions across the world, and working with multinational enterprises which are looking for innovative creativity, technological power, and a guaranteed performance boost.


With tremendous expertise and a wealth of different digital projects under her perfectly designed belt, Carina Martins is a consummate professional that takes design and technology, blends them into a uniquely resounding aesthetic form, and creates special masterpieces.

Taking the needs of clients into account, ALTA Digital’s Head of Design will always enliven brands, supercharge awareness, and allow enterprises to step into the digital future.