Catarina Sousa is a product and industrial designer from Porto, Portugal. She earned her master’s degree in industrial and product design at the University of Porto. She shares with us how she comes up with her design concepts and how KeyShot helps her do her best work.

Catarina Sousa

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Modeling software used: SolidWorks

What’s one of your favorite projects?

One of my favorite projects so far has been my master’s thesis, which is being commercialized with a partner company called CorkBrick. The three products I developed demonstrate my best qualities as a product/industrial designer, and how I can apply them in my designs and concepts.

How would you describe your design philosophy?

When I start a project, I always consider what I want to convey and which target audience will enjoy this product. But I think everything starts with good organization. That can be difficult sometimes, but it’s necessary for designers.

When I have my concept, organized and with a direction, the inspiration and idealization phase comes in. That’s also time-consuming, but it’s important for the realization of the projected ideas.

Where in your process do you use KeyShot?

I turn to KeyShot when the idealized project starts to take its most finalized form. KeyShot helps me better understand the product I’m making by being able to apply the final materials that the product will have and apply decorative elements to understand the product’s shape.

What are your favorite tools in KeyShot? 

KeyShot’s breadth of materials and material graph. Designers know that materials can make a product look luxurious, or can make a product look cheap. The fact that KeyShot comes with such a wide variety of materials included in the program, and provides the possibility of creating them in the material graph, is what I like the most.

KeyShot helps me better understand the product I’m making.  

Where do you find your inspiration?

Usually I go to sites like Behance, Designboom, Pinterest and Instagram, the main sites that are easier to access. But lately I’ve also been finding inspiration in design books. Often the type of interesting work I find in books is the total opposite of what I find on websites, so they are two completely different sources but they help each other.

What advice would you give to someone interested in doing your work? 

I’m still in the beginning of my work as a designer. But I think in general our field of product design is a tough field, with a lot of work, but it also allows us to be the “builders” of pretty much everything. When we look at product design, we have a world of opportunities and paths that allow us to design what we want. Anyone who wants to get into this field has to have constant creative output and a willingness to learn every day. It’s a hard, but very rewarding, path.

“We have a world of opportunities and paths to allow us to design what we want.”