Interviewing Women in Web Design Around the World – Huge List

by in Design on 10th Aug 2010 · Comments

It is a well known fact that the Information technology (IT) industry is male dominated. However, saying that, over the years women have ventured out and have slowly been making their mark.

With regard to Web Design, there are many female web designers out there, but it seems there is not enough representation or prominence in bringing them into the limelight. So, we decided to prepare a group interview showcasing some of the well known and not so well known female designers that are out there.

Interviewing Women in Web Design Around the World


All 55 female designers were asked the same set of questions, referencing their current position, how they got there and any challenges they faced. Also, we pushed the boat out a little to see if they had ever experienced any sexism in this industry.

Let’s take a look at the fabulous individuals who took part, thanking them once again for their participation.

1. Amy Cullen 2. Amy Mahon 3. Amy Stoddard 4. Anne Pawelczyk
5. Bel Koo 6. Charlotte Lam 7. Claire Baxter 8. Delphine Pagès
9. Divya Manian 10. Drew Europeo 11. Editha Fuentes 12. Ekta Paneri
13. Emma Taylor 14. Eve Lester 15. Gennah Ne Smith 16. Hilliary Hopper
17. Ilona Filipenkova 18. Inayaili de Leon 19. Irene Demetri 20. Jade Leong
21. Jan Cavan 22. Janelle Hitz 23. Jen Gordon 24. Joanka Betlej
25. Julia Khusainova 26. Kat Neville 27. Kathie Wiehanne 28. Keren Lerner
29. Kimberly Coles 30. Krishna Solanki 31. Larissa Meek 32. Laura Sultan
33. Leticia Motta 34. Lisa Howey 35. Madeline D’Amato 36. Maja Bencic
37. Melissa Hie 38. Milica Sekulic 39. Mina Markham 40. Naina Redhu
41. Nicole Bauer 42. Nicole Foster 43. Ranjeet Ruprai 44. Rina Miele
45. Sara Presenti 46. Sarah Enid-Moule 47. Sarah Hicks 48. Sarah Parmenter
49. Sarah Whinnem 50. Selene M. Bowlby 51. Shannon Farrell 52. Siska Flaurensia
53. Sonali Agrawal 54. Tanya Merone 55. Ximena Ruiz

55 Awesome Women in Web Design

Amy Cullen

Amy Cullen

Bio: I'm a website designer from Minnesota. Looking to become a true digital nomad.
Portfolio: amycullen.net
Twitter: @amycullen2

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
I was working for a children's publishing company and they needed a newsletter. I discovered the company would pay 50% of class tuition so I took a graphic design series. This introduced me to digital design but also at the same time my dad's company needed a website and he bought a super cheap program to write with.

I was game for the challenge and started playing around with it. My first design was absolutely hideous but it worked. After getting my feet wet with those two things I decided to continue and went for a web design certification. I discovered it was a perfect mix of art and tech. Then I decided I'd like to try to get a career in web design and figured the worst that would happen is nobody hired me.

I still had a job as an assistant at the publishing company so it wasn't much of a risk financially. As it turns out one of the companies called me back and ended up hiring me. I've learned so much in my position with a corporate company and also enjoy the challenges and extra money that freelancing brings me.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
I don't know if there's a lack or we just don't hear about them as much. I think women in web design are starting to get more recognition and are starting to be more vocal with their opinion which is awesome.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
I've experienced some. It was painful. But guess what? If you want something bad enough you'll just power through it. I'm happy to say that my perseverance has paid off. I consider myself successful as a web designer and am finding more and more that people (both men and women) are quite accepting of me as a professional. I think it's rare to experience sexism as a web designer but unfortunately it does happen on occasion.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
I think on occasion we do. It's inevitable. People judge and make snap decisions all the time without really thinking about why. I think sometimes we lose out on work because we're female and I think sometimes we win work because we're female. I hope/prefer to believe that it all balances out in the end.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
There are so many things that interest me. I'm sure it would involve art and/or social interaction somehow. Maybe a photographer or a tour guide?

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
I'd say the hardest thing is working a full time job as a designer and finding time and energy to do freelance work as well. I'm lucky it's something I truly enjoy. Sooner or later I'd like to make a complete switch to freelancer but there are obvious risks with that and I'm doing what I can to minimize those before I make the leap.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
If it's something you love don't let anything stop you. Self doubt, people who don't believe, sexism, whatever it may be that jumps in your way. You can do it just as well as anyone else with the right attitude, motivation and devotion.

Amy Mahon

Amy Mahon

Bio: Amy is a Canadian web designer who lives in the UK and works for a company that specialises in eCommerce websites.
Portfolio: amymahon.com
Twitter: @amerz

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
I used to design websites as a hobby when I was young. I taught myself HTML when I was 12 and it just kind of evolved from there. I guess I just never lost interest!

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
I love the feminine influence and approach to web design. There is definitely room for more females in web design, but a lack of women actually interested in it.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
Of course, yeah! In a male-dominated industry, there are inevitably a few males who assume I got where I am based on gender instead of merit. It doesn't really affect me; I just keep working hard!

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
Not really. I think design work speaks for itself and it's really a level playing field in that respect.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
If I weren't a web designer, I'd probably be an interior designer or landscaper. Something else design-related, definitely!

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
My biggest challenge is always designing things for myself. I'm my worst client! My biggest achievement was being able to support myself as a freelancer for two years.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
Work hard, enjoy yourself, learn new things and don't let the haters get to you!

Amy Stoddard

Amy Stoddard

Bio: I'm an American expat living in South Korea who designs and builds websites for fun and for pay. My favourite designers are Scott Hansen of ISO50.com and my husband. It helps to be married to someone who’s a talented designer in another field. We plan to team up on more projects in the future, where he'll design the product and I'll design the interface. We're a good team.
Portfolio: amystoddard.com
Twitter: @aimelise

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
It happened on accident when I was a student in college. I bootlegged a class in Director/Lingo and that teacher got me my first job out of college as an ActionScripter. I've never set foot in a design class. Maybe that hurt me, but I'd like to think I'm figuring it out.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
Not really. But, to be honest, I don't pay attention to gender. I just pay attention to good designers and programmers.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
No. I've managed to make it work both in an agency setting, as well as an independent. People are still surprised when I can tell them I can do both design and programmer. Regardless of gender, I think that makes my clients smile.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
Not really.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
A pilot or maybe a musician living on Santa Monica pier. There's a freedom in that.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
I picked up Expression Engine last year and I'm hooked. I'd played with Joomla and WordPress, but EE makes everything so much easier. Clients love the admin. My biggest project to date is for an international school in Korea. I'm living here while my husband designs for Hyundai. I'm proud of that site from a technical perspective, as well as what it took to handle all the opinions that chimed in about the design and content.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
Not really. Do what you love. Life is too short to not wake up to something you don't enjoy every day. Making money should be a bonus.

Anna Pawelczyk

Anna Pawelczyk

Bio: I'm a freelance web designer based in Poznań, Poland. I've been in the industry for 3 years. Apart from designing websites I love photography (mostly of my handsome son and steam locomotives). I dream about traveling across whole of Italy sightseeing and tasting local wines.
Portfolio: anna-pawelczyk.net

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
It happened when I was thinking what I will be doing for a living when my son grows up a bit. I sometimes watched my web developer and web designer husband work over his shoulder and one day decided to try it myself.

The company Mike worked for was seeking a web designer at that time, so I sent them my first works, and thus I did my third project commercially. This is how it started and it continues till now - I don't want to do anything else.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
To be honest, seeing a good design I never focus on the gender of its designer. Generally, I think the world is in need of good web designers, no matter men or women.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
Generally I haven't, but some people seemed to be really surprised by the fact that a woman can also be a good designer.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
Women have generally a different sensitivity than men and perceive the world in a different way. But I wouldn't say that we have any advantages over male designers or the other way around. We're just different and it makes the web design world more interesting.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
I'd be a super full-time mommy! Now I'm not a full-time mommy, but I'm happier and more satisfied, both as a person and as a mom.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
My biggest achievement? Being featured on CSS Elite and some other galleries. But more seriously - the biggest challenge in the industry is to move forward and improve my skills constantly. One who stops is left behind. As for now, I manage to cope with it, which is a good candidate for my biggest achievement.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
Our projects are our products to be sold, not our kids. Stay professional, but don't get emotionally involved in the projects too much, for the sake of your own sanity. That’s what I'm learning to do all the time.

Bel Koo

Bel Koo

Bio: Hello! My name is Bel Koo, a freelance web designer based in Perak, Malaysia. I have been working as a freelance web designer for 4 years (since 2006), some of my work has received recognition and been displayed on some web design galleries.
Portfolio: dream-design.net
Twitter: @belkoo

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
I loved web design since I was in secondary school and taught myself to create my first website - fan page. After school, I took a course in Graphic Design and learnt CSS/HTML by myself.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
Every designer has their own web design style. Every design is unique, simply unique.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
No. Clients judge the designs.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
Everyone is unique.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
A model or a photographer? Because I love taking photos.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
My biggest challenge is myself; a big enemy is self thoughts. "Your mind is your worst enemy." I want my job/design to be perfect and beautiful. And thanks to all who like my designs, and all my friends, and family who support me. I really do love Web Design.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
All are awesome! Never give up, and do our best!

Charlotte Lam

Charlotte Lam

Bio: Web Designer. Nature, culture lover and one of the chief-editor at Onextrapixel.
Portfolio: onextrapixel.com
Twitter: @onextrapixel

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
Getting into the web industry was one of the easier choice I’ve made in the earlier days of my life. I need not contemplate or look around because the strong motivation I got from the people around me, the things I do, the things I like, just put me in a passion driven direction towards the art and design industry.

While choosing it was easy, polishing the skill sets and defining your own works are the greatest challenge in this great big world.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
I don’t think so. The ratio is almost equal in all my work experiences.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
Fortunately, I haven’t! I’m glad that the different environment I worked in and the clients I met were receptive.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
The difference in gender doesn’t play a part. Quality, experience and commitment in design surpass that.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
In the area of advertising.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
To excel in this path that I’ve taken is the biggest achievement.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
Stay objective and work hard. Be your own worst critic.

Claire Baxter

Claire Baxter

Bio: I'm Claire and I'm a Dallas-based Creative Director of the Art Director persuasion. I’ve built and managed brands from the ground up, worn every hat on the rack, and leapt tall buildings in a single bound. Don't let my clean lines and weakness for Swiss type fool you; this is all a plot for world domination, one brand at a time.
Portfolio: vanityclaire.com
Twitter: @vanityclaire

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
My background is mostly in fine art and photography, though I've always been interested in design. I started learning the "classic" techniques (i.e. letterpress, screen printing, etc) - I went to a Performing Arts academy and studied printmaking, photography and music. I guess translating these techniques to an interactive space was a natural progression.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
Not really. I know several great female designers. But there is always room for more!

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
Not overtly, but I do find that male and female designers are segregated more often than is necessary. For example, I regularly receive requests for consultation and design projects from businesses looking for a "feminine touch" to their projects. Could this same aesthetic be accomplished by a male designer? Sure, most likely. But occasionally clients do seek out female designers specifically when looking for a certain aesthetic or to appeal to a certain demographic.

While there's nothing inherently wrong with this idea and I agree that it may be warranted in certain cases, I occasionally wonder whether the client is choosing a designer based on strength of portfolio regardless of sex or simply scouring the web for female designers based on the notion that "only a woman can understand my business needs" (which is usually, but not always incorrect).

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
Sometimes. Whether they are warranted or not is the question (see the response above for an example).

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
I am also a photographer, so whenever I take a hiatus from design I focus on my photography.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
Staying current and staying out of a creative "rut" is a constant challenge. It's easy to fall back to what you know, so pushing limits and expanding my comfort zone are exercises I regularly employ to keep things interesting.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
I'll be boring and give my standard advice that I offer to most designers who ask for my 2 cents. Over the years I've narrowed it down to a few choice pieces of wisdom that seem fairly timeless:

  • Don't be afraid to try new things and work outside your comfort zone.
  • Seek out and make use of constructive criticism.
  • Take a business course, especially if you're planning on doing any freelancing or starting your own agency.
  • Don't force your personal style - it will show up on its own, and will grow and change organically.

Delphine Pages

Delphine Pages

Bio: Bonjour, I'm Delphine. I'm french, I live in London and I manage pretty well balancing the two on an everyday basis. When I'm not having fun designing friendly, usable web sites (a bit obsessed with illustrations at the moment), you'll probably find me eating cheese (especially with a well-matched glass of red wine!).
Portfolio: edelwwweiss.com

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
I took a computing class at uni and one of the projects was to build a website. We were allowed to use Frontpage (yeek!) but I wanted to understand how it worked so I started learning HTML. I loved it! It was fascinating to transform lines of code into an actual usable website. I was hooked.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
I haven't met a lot, they're well hidden! I think in all industries an even distribution of men and women is important as we complement each other. Women often add a different sensitivity to a project. So there definitely should be a lot more female web designers!

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
No. I've always worked with male designers and they have been great! They're usually more focused on the fact that I'm French rather than a woman anyway. Ah those French jokes!

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
That's a difficult question. When it comes to technical skills gender really doesn't matter but as I said before I think women's sensitivity is different so they approach projects with a different perspective. Whether it's an advantage or not I'm not sure.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
There's so many other jobs I would love to have a go at! I wish I had more than a lifetime for all of them. But being a baker is at the top of my list (if you forget the getting up really early part).

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
The biggest challenge for everyone is to keep up with the technology evolving constantly. HTML5 and CSS3 here I come! You can never rest on your laurels. And biggest achievement being interviewed for this article! Having people in the industry saying they appreciate my job is very rewarding. I'm working now on my next achievement!

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
What about we create a club and meet regularly to share our experiences?

Divya Manian

Divya Maian

Bio: I'm a Web Designer in Seattle. I made the jump from developing device drivers for Motorola phones to designing websites and has not looked back since. I read books and sketches by day and by night and is a CSS/HTML vigilante.
Portfolio: nimbu.in
Twitter: @nimbuin

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
Is there an "industry"? I was introduced to HTML/CSS when I was studying Computer Engineering and then it consumed me! I joined a company as an in-house designer and then shifted to freelancing.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
There is not a "lack" as much as there is a lack of awareness that there are women designers. People assume I am a "he" (given that my name is not very common). There is also a stereotyping of women in general which extends to the web design world too. Most "men in design" posts are titled "top web designers" but "women in design" are explicitly pointed out. Also, women in design posts usually have blown up shots of the women themselves, but for men, they only have blown up shots of their websites.

These kinds of defaults need to go away, and I hope the more women protest about these posts, the faster these will disappear.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
Nope. The only sexism that I have experienced is anonymous comments online and then not about web design.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
No way! Neither is better or worse than the other.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
I would be an illustrator.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
That I was able to be financially independent at 24 and start freelancing.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
Be suspicious of anything you think you "have to" do to be counted as a web designer (apart from the required skills). You don't.

Drew Europeo

Drew Europeo

Bio: I am Drew Europeo, graduated from University of St. Tomas here in the Philippines with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, majoring in advertising. I have been in the industry for more than a decade, started in web design in 1999. Although not very much active anymore in the design community, I still have some participation like I am one of the resident judges in The CSS Awards, and still collaborating with different groups or individuals.
Portfolio: dreweuropeo.com
Twitter: @dreweuropeo

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
I got into web design in 1999.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
Yes I can see that there is a lack of female web designers. I am one of the resident judges in The CSS Awards, and I notice that only a few female designers are submitting their work and not only that basically everywhere, even in the design community in which I was very active, I only encountered a couple of females.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
I am fortunate enough that I haven’t experienced any of these. Even if this industry is dominated by males, I receive the same respect as a guy would get, well maybe because also a lot of times they think I am a guy because of the name and they are pretty shocked when they found out that I am a girl.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
In some areas yes. Guys are very masculine in design and sometimes the project requires softness which they can't produce at times so definitely a woman's touch is needed.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
This is hard to answer because I can't imagine myself not being a designer or at least related to design or art. But I would say, I might be a cook or fashion designer and still related to design.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
The biggest challenge for me is how to stay visible in the design community. It's so hard to compete with all these new designers and put yourself out there, mingle with people, collaborate with them. I have been doing this since the beginning and sometimes I am not in a good enough shape to still be active in the community. But I manage to still be out there, not as visible as before though.

Biggest achievements, to be known and get respect from the people that I really look up to. And for Epson to consider me and tag me as one of their Epson Pros is also another. I can list a whole lot here personal and career wise but I will stick to design.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
Just go out there! Don't be intimidated by our male counterparts! In fairness to them even if we all know that they can be snobbish or unaccommodating, generally they are helpful and supportive. Just challenge yourselves to be more competitive and push beyond your boundaries. Be active!

Editha Fuentes

Editha Fuentes

Bio: I’m a graphic and web designer originally from Chile now living in California, USA. I do graphic design, web, and corporate branding.
Portfolio: unuidesign.com
Twitter: @unuidesign

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
I actually was not very interested in designing websites during my education years, but it became clear to me that there was a huge market that would allow me to be creative and at the same time make a living from it. Thus, Web Design started becoming more and more important to me.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
Definitely. I have noticed this all along. To give you an example, when I started my University course work in graphic design, about 20% of our class was composed of females. By the end of the 4 years, I was the only female designer that graduated. When it comes to female Web designers specifically, the numbers ratios are even lower. I’m not sure why, but I do have some theories. Maybe one factor is the fact that females don’t feel too attracted to programming, and web design might be perceived as a programmer’s business.

Maybe they don’t want to take that one step further, and compromise with the ongoing learning that is demanded from web designers, but rather they like to stay within the safe zone of print design, etc. Lastly, it is usual for web designers to work very long hours sometimes even to the point of not having a healthy life style; this could be something that females resent.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
Not at all. In fact, I have always had good acceptance among my peers, clients and supervisors. Perhaps, since there are so few of us, they even see me as out of the ordinary and feel compelled to see what I have to bring to the table.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
I really don’t think that gender has anything to do with your ability to perform in a specific area; all of us can develop the skills needed to succeed in this industry.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
I have four options, and they are all related to art anyways.

  1. Professional Dancer
  2. Visual & Media Communicator
  3. Make-up artist
  4. Fashion Designer

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
My biggest challenges today are, expressing myself in English the way I do in Spanish and allocating enough time to spend with my family. My biggest achievements have been: properly managing all the non-artistic aspects of my business, and attracting a steady number of new clients and maintaining the old ones.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
Don’t be afraid to explore the unknown. Curiosity is one element that is needed in order to try new things, develop originality, grow and be successful. When other women realize that there is a bright future in this industry, they will feel inspired to pursue a career in graphic design and ultimately, the number of females sharing their talent will increase dramatically.

Ekta Paneri

Ekta Paneri

Bio: I'm a budding Photographer, amateur Writer, experienced Documentary Filmmaker, kick ass Web Designer, a self proclaimed WordPress DJ, Adventure-Freak, Biker and Chocoholic! For more, I’m a registered Jedi, politically speaking. Why? Because the Jedi life is all about harmony, logic, and not being too crazy.
Portfolio: randomattic.com
Twitter: @ektz

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
As a Kid, I had a PC to play with and being the creative person I am, by the time I was 16, I was making amateurish websites in HTML on geocities. My fascination started with that and few years down the line, I taught myself and experimented with PhotoShop, Illustrator, HTML/CSS and later on PHP/MySQL. I devour technical books and reading is my passion. While I was creating designs for fun, a few fans contacted me for paid designs, and so I started freelancing.

The demand grew and it was a job that gave me satisfaction to the maximum, so I left my full time job and opened a design studio called “Randomattic” in late 2006. I enjoy the creativity in terms of designing and then I enjoy the small perfections that come with programming in PHP. A long hour of debugging in coding seems to me like solving a puzzle. It’s fun and satisfying to undertake those problems and solve them.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
I don’t think there is. Given that it’s a largely untouched profession for many females, albeit for various reasons, the number of female web designers is low as of now, but its growing along with time.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
Yes I have. The major trouble is the mindset of clients. There are a lot of conventional people out there with a perception that Geekdom is a male domain. And again, to the dismay of girls, other popular myths are that boys are more driven and focused compared to girls that’s why the competition is tougher. It’s the cause and effect of the whole lopsided ratio of men-women in this field.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
Not really. Not unless web design becomes a job equivalent to an Office Receptionist's job, female designers will never have any advantage over their male counterparts.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
Then I would have been an on field mechanical engineer, as that was my major in under graduate studies.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
Challenges and demands of freelancing in technical fields are mostly related to time and then more time. When you are freelancing or programming, your clients are mostly the outsourced ones from various countries and so timings are difficult to manage.

They also want the undivided attention of programmers when it comes to problems, and being a female and juggling home and work responsibilities at the same time, it becomes a bit difficult. Although every successful project and a happy client is the reward and achievement in its own way.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
The Germans have a saying that you have to be on fire yourself to light one. Many designers are driven by a special kind of dedication, both professionally and personally. In addition to craft and creativity, bringing passion to the job is the key to success. Passion gives us the power to act. Bring that passion out in your work!

Emma Taylor

Emma Taylor

Bio: I am a freelance web designer living the dream in Cyprus. Specialising in User Interface Web Design, with a love of clean & simple but well thought out designs, the interwebs, doodling, positive thinking, anything apple and my friends and family.
Portfolio: twigglegraphics.com
Twitter: @emtaylor

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
Pretty much from the moment of getting my hands on my very first computer when I was around 13 I became a true girly geek! I was fascinated with computers, dial-up, websites and design back then and was forever experimenting and learning new things. I loved art at school too so when the time came to go to college it was kind of a natural step for me to go on to study Multimedia Design. After I got my diploma I was eager to start work and I landed my first job as a UI web designer for a great web company here in Cyprus and that's how it all began!

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
I've actually never really thought about it as I chat with a mix of female and male web designers on the net. Maybe it's not so much of a lack of female web designers but lack of awareness.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
No, not at all, if anything it's just the opposite.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
I have had several clients contact me with the intention of looking for a female web designer and believed that I would be able to interpret their business concept better. While this is obviously great for business I do however believe whether a designer is male or female it all comes down to design ability and variety, the thought process and communication with the client.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
This is tricky, I can't imagine doing anything else! Total nerd I know!! I'd probably do something to help others. I love planning, organising and making people smile!

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
I think the biggest challenge I set for myself was starting out as a full time freelancer nearly 3 years ago - the worry of not having enough income, dealing with the unknown; invoicing, sales, admin etc and by far dealing with self-doubt on the bad days (thank goodness for twitter!). I've got plenty more things on my list I’d like to achieve but I’m really proud of how I’ve developed my business and where I’m at now, there's definitely no better feeling than working for yourself!

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
Keep up the great work ladies. Catch you on twitter!

Eve Lester

Eve Lester

Bio: I am a designer, a mother, a wife, and lastly, a girl. I love designing and hope to make the internet a much nicer place to look at before I am done!
Portfolio: designingwitheve.com
Twitter: @designingweve

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
It just kind of happened, I really don't know how or when, but I remember making my own personal sites in the beginning and it just grew from there.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
Not really, maybe because I am one I tend to notice a lot more though, there is a shortage of GOOD designers lately.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
Thankfully not yet, at least not that I was made aware of!

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
Sometimes, because women tend to pay more attention to detail than men do, but by the same token, men seem to have higher confidence levels so it all evens out in the end.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
Probably a waitress or something!

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
My biggest challenge is my own self confidence, showing others what I am worth has always been an issue. As for my biggest achievement, I would say actually finishing a to-do list!

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
Keep on going, it may be a man’s world out there but we are slowly making it a lot prettier!

Gennah Ne Smith

Gennah Ne Smith

Bio: I'm a mega dork who drinks tea too much and can't stop pranking chumps! I have the attention span of a 5 year old after drinking red soda and I am always hard at work.
Portfolio: gennah.com
Twitter: @Gennner

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
I first learned Web design in a high school Multimedia class, some say it was love at first type and we've been inseparable ever since. After that, I studied my butt off, freelanced and now work for a company as a web designer.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
There is definitely a higher dude to chick ratio in this industry! Maybe lacking a little?

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
Not really, but I do get a lot of high 5's when I tell people what I do!

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
No, I don't. Each designer has their own unique style and abilities they can bring to a design. Chick's generally can pull off more 'feminine targeted designs' however I have seen some dudes do some absolute killer 'feminine targeted' websites too. Not to get to far into gender grooming and stereotyping.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
A deep sea fisherman or a taxi driver! Or, something creative!

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
My biggest challenge has been getting into this industry. Perth is notoriously behind the times and Web Design isn't as popular here as in many other places in Australia. It has been by far the best challenge though because I now am working and being paid to do something I love.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
Create, explore, design, go nuts! But always validate your code!

Hillary Hopper

Hilary Hopper

Bio: I'm the owner of SnarphBlat Design located in Syracuse, New York. I'm highly motivated and puts not only feet to my dreams but wings. I'm an ambitious entrepreneur and your girl next door with a little flavour of geekyness. Motivated Web and graphic designer, gamer, and musician.
Portfolio: snarphblat.com
Twitter: @snarphblat

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
It was a little random for me. I had grown up around computers and somehow had become very fond of the internet. My parents found me addicted to it by the age of 15 and I just couldn't seem to get myself off a screen. After I graduated high school, I was at that place where I was not sure what I wanted to do with my life! I wanted to go to college for something fun and creative. I didn't feel that going into accounting or business would give me the drive I needed to do well and succeed. So I pressed forward and eventually received a degree in Interactive Media Design.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
I think that female web designers are just rare. I believe there are more men in the field right now, but I think that with most things, women are catching up pretty fast!

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
For me no, I have always been received well and with respect. I try only communicating with people whom I respect and they in turn respect me. Net worth is important, and if I have good quality clients and design friends then I won't have to deal with sexism.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
When it comes to design, I think we are all equal, we are viewed by our portfolios and work, not our sex. If anything it may be a disadvantage because, it seems that there are fewer female designers than males currently.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
Honestly, I am not just a designer and I am who I want to be. I am also a musician and song writer, artist, daughter, sister, best friend and aunt. I have never thought of being anything else other than who I am.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
So far, my biggest challenge was getting through college. Along with that challenge was achieving graduation day with a 4.0 GPA. I worked very hard in school and felt that if I wanted to succeed in life, then I would have to work hard and do not just well, but exceptional.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
Press through even when you feel like you can't see the other side. When you have down days with design or even something personal, take a break. Make sure that your mind is always free of clutter before you talk with a client or start a new design. I find that going for walks, working out at the gym, or even a talk with a good friend can really help me. Also, surround yourself with other designers. Not just in the internet realm, but also in real life. You need people around you who are creatively minded. Keep up the wonderful work ladies, you're doing great!

Ilona Filipenkova

Ilona Filipenkova

Bio: I am a freelance web designer, mac user/lover, open networker, vegetarian, Londoner...I help individuals and small businesses to achieve great results from their websites.
Portfolio: souldeepdesigns.com
Twitter: @IlonaWebDesign

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
It is a long story but to cut it short I have been very interested in computing since I was 10 years old. I started to attend after-school classes in programming, then went on to an electro-technical high school and finally obtained a degree in Multimedia. After that I started to work as a web and graphic designer.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
There are fewer female than male designers in this industry but the ratio is not so drastic. I see a lot of female web designers around me and I think their number will only grow.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
Not that I am aware of. Not in England.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
Some female designers have a better creative flair but that is not a rule. Overall I don’t think our industry is obsessed with gender so I don’t think either of them has any particular advantages or disadvantages. Your work and your personality is what matters.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
I have an entrepreneurial soul so I suppose I would do a very similar thing I’m trying to do now: start up a company.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
Being self-employed in a declining economy, in a foreign country and doing well. I consider that a huge achievement.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
Web design is a great industry to be in and has a great future. Study hard, work hard and most of all, enjoy yourself, the rest will come to you.

Inayaili De Leon

Inayaili De Leon

Bio: Inayaili is a Portuguese, London-based web designer. She loves clean designs and perfect markup. She is a regular contributor for Smashing Magazine and editor of the CSS Gallery on .net magazine, and blogs at Web Designer Notebook. She's also well known for tweeting too much.
Portfolio: yaili.com
Twitter: @yaili

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
I was working for a print design agency in a sales role, and the company needed a website but nobody knew how to make one. I read a book, did the website, and the rest is history.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
Web design is a technical profession, because web design involves coding. Women aren't typically drawn towards technical careers I guess, so perhaps that explains why there are more male than female web designers.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
No, everyone is very professional in my experience. It's a very friendly community.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
It's not an advantage as such, but female designers have different sensitivities when it comes to design.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
A chef. I like cooking.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
Speaking at the recent SparkUp conference in front of a few hundred people was a huge challenge, and very scary!

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
The web design community is very friendly, find people you get on well with and share projects and ideas. Being a female makes no difference in this industry.

Irene Demetri

Irene Demetri

Bio: I was born and raised in Athens, Greece some 29 years ago. I enjoy designing websites, even though my academic background is in Graphic Design. Currently I live in Athens with my lovely husband George. In the morning I work as a full time designer at a local company and in the afternoons I focus on my freelance projects. I love to cook, travel and in an attempt to do some exercise I am trying to become a frequent cyclist.
Portfolio: youandigraphics.com
Twitter: @youandigraphics

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
My formal education is in Graphic Design, and I have an MA on Visual Communication Design. But when I lived in London I got a job as a user interface designer and Web Design won me over ever since.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
I must admit, women are rare in our field, especially in Greece. But it seems that women are more and more interested in Web Design and I believe in the future we won’t be outnumbered by men.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
Personally I don't think I have ever experienced any negativity or sexism. Society has come a long way, not saying that men and women are completely equal in the workplace, there is still much progress to be made, however I have never experienced evidently someone judging me by my sex and not my work.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
We all know there are differences in how men and women think, act and design (obviously I am not an expert, so I cannot mention them). From my experience we have both advantages and disadvantages, for example we are good at communication but not so good at self promoting our work and even though we keep our work and schedule well organised we do have far too many things on our minds (often outside work like family, housework, kids etc.) which distract us from our goals. So I think we need to work hard on taking advantage of our natures positive aspects.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
I am not going to say that I can't picture myself doing anything other than being a designer, because I can! But it would definitely have to be something creative.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
My biggest challenge at the moment (work - wise) is to build up my freelance business and my Web presence. Can't think of any big achievements yet!

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
My advice would be to love what they do, follow their passion and never be disheartened by obstacles.

Jade Leong

Jade Leong

Bio: Web Designer at Syzygy that likes loud rock music. I enjoy design in everything from architectural design, photography, illustration, packaging design to web design. Sky's the limit!
Portfolio: deafinbothears.com
Twitter: @flamingwhopper

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
I’ve always had an interest in both art and design since I was young. I grew interested in the web when I was about 18, and built my first site using Angelfire and Geocities. However, I was actually doing an English degree before I decided to go back and do graphics in multimedia (as it covered pretty much everything). I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do back then because I'm a bit of an 'all-rounder'. I wasn’t sure about job prospects in digital. After I did my multimedia course I knew the field I wanted to work in. It was so much more interesting watching things move, watching people interact and making them smile. So I decided that I wanted to be a digital designer.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
Throughout my 6-year career I’ve met many female print designers. I have worked with one female web design intern and one of my Creative Directors has been female. I’ve managed to meet a few at a group called She Says. I think there is a lack of female ‘web’ designers, but it doesn’t mean they’re not out there.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
Yes and no. All my previous employers have been fair; I might have had a run-in with a few. But I’d rather not open a can of worms. It’ll happen whether you’re a girl or a guy.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
Advantages? I don’t think so. I’ve not had this problem, if I did, I wouldn’t be here.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
If I wasn’t a designer, I’d probably be a developer or an information architect (IA). I have dabbled in both mystic arts but wanted to focus on usability, experience and fine details in design.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
I don’t think there’s any challenge too big or small. I like to tackle everything that gets flung my way and try to find a feasible solution. Our biggest client, Mazda, always proves to be an interesting client. Trying to design something that is feasible for 26 countries has to be my biggest challenge to date.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
Where are you all hiding? I’d love to work with each and every one of you!

Jan Cavan

Jan Cavan

Bio: Jan Cavan is a freelance web and graphic designer, illustrator, blogger, geek, the girl behind Dawghouse Design Studio and a breakdancer wannabe.
Portfolio: dawghousedesignstudio.com
Twitter: @jancavan

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
I've been asked this question several times before. I originally wanted to take up classes in animation but this lying salesperson introduced me to Web Design saying it actually involved animation. But thanks to her, I am where I am today.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
Yes, definitely.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
Oh yeah. This one company said they were actually impressed by my portfolio but refused to hire me for the sole reason that I was female. And from my experience of heading up a team, some men really do find it a problem having to report to a female boss. Most especially if you are several years their junior.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
I'm not sure if there's any, really. I believe that talent is talent. It has nothing to do anyone's gender.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
Probably a cartoonist. I always used to be into performing arts so probably a professional performer, too.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
Being featured in a couple of design magazines. And I'm going to be in this book about Web Design that's coming out in France soon. I'm pretty stoked about that!

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
Don't let them tell you it can't be done.

Janelle Hitz

Janelle Hitz

Bio: Designer, Gamer, & Chicken Lover
Portfolio: chickenpaper.com
Twitter: @silkychicken

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
I love to draw, I used to want to be a comic book artist or an animator. I started using PhotoShop to color my artwork. Then I started doing all sorts of graphics for my personal blog, I got good at it, so when I heard Graphic Design was a course I could take in college, I ran after that opportunity. Throughout college I did a lot of freelance, and contract work for different companies, and then it was full steam ahead from there.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
Although this line of work tends to have more males then females in it, last I heard men outnumber females 3 to 1 in this industry; I certainly do not think there is a lack of talent when it comes to female designers. Some of my really good friends are female creative’s, and their work and ingenuity never cease to amaze me.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
Not really. I try to let my work, and knowledge speak for itself. I try to turn everything into a learning experience. I've been very lucky with the workplaces I've been in, I've always had really great people around me. At the end of the day, we're all on the same team, and I think people realize that sooner or later.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
Yes, and no. Currently, I'm working at a company where our audience is predominately female, there may be times where I could have an advantage because I am a female; I have a very unique point of view because of this. However, there's also a bunch of people at my job that have tons of experience, male or female doesn't matter, and I would be an idiot to ignore their opinion and suggestions.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
Geeze, a million things! A make-up artist, a hair dresser, a photographer, an animator, anything that involves creativity - just sign me up!

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
Biggest achievement? Graduating college definitely, I miss school, I would go to school forever if I could.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
Do what you love well, and be super passionate about your work!

Jen Gordon

Jen Gordon

Bio: Jen Gordon is the owner and Creative Director at Clever Twist, an Atlanta-based mobile application design studio. She specializes in usable interfaces, beautiful design and straight talk. She loves her family, the iPhone and periodically dreams that she's close friends with Dolly Parton.
Portfolio: aclevertwist.com
Twitter: @itsjengordon

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
After graduating from the Art Institute, I got my first job as a designer for Yahoo! designing online ad campaigns for Yahoo! clients.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
From my experience there are plenty female web designers, but not many that have a popular, influential voice in the design community.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
I've never experienced anything overtly negative but then again I have the flexibility to pick and choose clients that are a good fit for me personally and professionally.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
We're all individuals with our own set of strengths and weaknesses - what role gender plays in that. I'm not sure?

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
A comedy writer. Yeah I know I haven't said anything funny yet.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
My biggest challenge and achievement on an ongoing basis is doing the upfront research and concepting work necessary to create a rich, meaningful user interface. It's such a temptation to jump directly into design without doing the upfront stuff that ultimately separates good work from "holy cow" work.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
Be well rounded, but have a niche of your work that 'really' shines - has a wow factor. It can be something small and specific. Example: "I'm an expert at creating UI buttons." "I'm an expert at incorporating humor in my work." If you don't have this already, pick some specific skill you love and want to perfect - pixel iconography, creating typefaces, illustrating in a sketchy style, etc and build a nice portfolio within that segment. There's so much emphasis on knowing a little bit of everything whether it's software programs or types of design. I think it's important to have one thing you can really hang your hat on.

Joanka Betlej

Joanka Betlej

Bio: I am a self taught web designer and developer, based in Cracow, Poland. I have worked in the industry since 2006 (before that I designed several websites for myself and my friends). I love what I do, and never stop doing that. Web design is the last thing I think about before falling asleep and the first thought in the morning. I am curious and constantly learning something new - I do graphic design, XHTML/CSS coding, back end scripting (PHP), database driven websites, design user interfaces - there are so many fascinating things about that!

In my free time I love to play with processing and other sorts of software which is somehow leading to digitally generated art. I never intended to show the outcome, but I am thinking about some kind of exhibition in future.
Portfolio: eankadesign.com
Twitter: @e_anka

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
I am an architect, and some time ago I was working in an architectural office. Web design started as a hobby, I just found a tutorial on the net and made a website for myself. Sometime later I entered some web design contests on SitePoint, but I did it for fun and for the challenge rather than for the prize – I didn’t think I could make my living doing the web design. Everything changed when my children were born. I had to decide whether I wanted to make a career in architecture and not see my girls too often (being an architect is really a full time job) or find some other way to earn money and stay at home with the children. I decided to start my own company, and since that time I am a “work at home mom". It was a very good decision and I have never regretted it.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
I don’t know the stats, so I can’t tell for sure, but web design is a perfect field for women, even those who have their domestic duties, so I’d expect that the amount of female designers would be even higher than male designers. On the other hand, when I browse through my competitors websites I don’t really pay attention to the designer’s gender, it’s not as important as the creativity after all.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
No, never. But I started with my own company and never had a boss over me.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
Yes, we do, women usually have a good eye for detail and color. Still, this is a general opinion which may not be true in individual cases.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
I am an architect. If I couldn’t be that, I’d love to be a painter or a photographer.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
Each time I start a new design the challenge is to create something unique. Sometimes against the client’s will, who wants something typical.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
Remember it’s not your sex that matters; it’s the quality of your work!

Julia Khusainova

Julia Khusainova

Bio: I'm a web developer and graphic designer. I'm passionate about web and aim to make an invaluable contribution by delivering day-to-day with quality and sharing my experience with the web population. I love traveling, music, watching sunsets and photography. I'm running a blog at Juliakhusainova related to the web.
Portfolio: juliakhusainova.com
Twitter: @JuliaKhusainova

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
I graduated with a Masters Degree in Computer Sciences and Intelligence Systems so computers and technologies are in my blood. I was always addicted to the Web, loved colors and drew things on every piece of paper and other things!. So combine all those ingredients and here I am!

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
Yes I think there is a lack of females in the Internet Industry in general and Web Design in particular. I'm happy to know great female web designers but this is a very small percentage of the designers I know.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
I have never experienced any of these. Maybe because I work a lot (girls are commonly known for shopping and talking on the telephone). I hope to see the day when no woman will suffer from negativity or sexism in any area of activity.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
I don't think women and men are very different from each other in this field so no.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
I can't imagine being anything other than a web designer and developer!

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
When I was a student on my last course I was invited to work for a famous company. I'm a founder of a blog which is growing very fast and I'm about to launch my own company. I have a lot of ideas and I will work to realize them. I think my best achievement is my creativity, experience and self-organization.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
Design, love, live. Create beauty. Reveal your talent. Be inspired by nature, music and your own mirror reflection.

Kat Neville

Kat Neville

Bio: I'm a Canadian Web Designer living in the UK. I often get over-excited about new activities or crafts and have an unusual obsession with goats. I also talk about myself in the third person.
Portfolio: safetygoat.co.uk
Twitter: @kassy4

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
I've always been 'computer nerdy' and had been drawing on the computer since back in 1993. I had dabbled in HTML in high school, but I actually worked in print until one day, instead of art pre-pressing at a crappy job, I told them I could build them this mock up of a website I had made for them. After a crash course in modern web practices I was hooked!

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
I guess so. I think lots of girls are scared by the code side of design, and I really think that to be great in web you've got to be really nerdy. For some reason, this nerdiness seems to come more naturally to guys.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
Most in the industry are fantastic. Actually, they're hungry to have a girl on their all-male teams. If anything, it's the girls that tend to whine a bit about feeling pushed out. I have found, though, that you get the respect you deserve in this industry. What I don't like is the girls who, instead of trying to become equals, instead flaunt their sexuality.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
Yes, in a lot of ways. Teams do want some diversity, and so when two equal applicants show up, they might take the girl over the guy. Also, because there's not many of us, even a half-way decent girl can get quite a lot of visibility. I've also spoken to some event organizers in the industry who would love to have more talented female speakers on their roster. I think my problem with that is that because the pool isn't so big, there's just not enough stars in the girl's group to justify an equal proportion.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
Maybe an art teacher. I like to do projects, arts and crafts etc.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
I've just gone freelance and it's going well. My biggest challenge is to make my own business work, and to make sure I keep pushing myself.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
Work your butts off. It's the only way to get good.

Kathie Wiehanne

Kathie Wiehanne

Bio: A freelance web designer from Indonesia currently based in Malaysia. Also a neat freak who has a crush on the color pink.
Portfolio: wiehanne.com
Twitter: @wiehanne

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
I have been interested in drawing and art related stuff from a young age. When it was time for college (early 2004), I took a Graphic design course, majoring in advertising. Cracking my brain to work on the ads strategy was fun and I thought that's where my passion was. Upon graduating from college, I worked as a packaging designer. After 6 months I resigned as I was looking for space to grow, and also time flexibility. I took the plunge to become a full time freelancer focusing on print design while still keeping the desire to work in the advertising field.

I started to learn about web design and structure online to create my own blog design and that's when my interest towards web design grew. From there I teamed up with my boyfriend (now husband) to deliver free WordPress themes at simplyWP and accepted custom blog design. Earlier this year, we founded Zhng Design Studio. Thanks to blogging and switching to WordPress, I got to find what I really love doing.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
Yes, but I think the number is growing as I've found quite a lot of female web designers whilst blog-hopping. The thing is, many them don't get that much of publicity yet. Probably lack of self promotion?

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
So far no.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
Maybe yes, because females are more sensitive (in a good way) and pay attention to details. But I think it's more about personality instead of gender.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
A wedding planner. I am all about planning and I love checking out wedding blogs during my free time.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
When I first dipped my foot in web design by creating a suitable theme for my personal blog. First time was not easy, and the saying "we are our own worst client" happened to me too.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
Show your talent to the world and get your name out there. Don't be shy!

Keren Lerner

Keren Lerner

Bio: I'm a website designer and business owner. I run Top Left Design for 8 years with a mission to “clean up the internet” and help all those nice people with bad websites improve their presence online! I have built up my business through networking, word of mouth referral and repeat business. I'm quite a perfectionist, and do my best to pass this eye for detail to all staff and even some clients. I love my work and see every day as an opportunity to be productive, to learn and to make a difference!
Portfolio: topleftdesign.com
Twitter: @topleftdesign

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
I was at university, studying graphic design and visual communication. It was way back in 1996, when the internet had practically only just been invented! Well perhaps I exaggerate a bit. But I entered the Royal Society of Art Student Design Competition, which is a nationwide contest. I did an animation/”virtual world” project, and my submission won first prize. The prize was work experience with Pearson
Entertainment Group – and I got to work at The Financial Times, Penguin Books, and Future Publishing, over the course of 3 months.

It was at Penguin Books where I learned to design and build sites and learned HTML – as we were making a microsite for each book. So, that’s how I first started in website design! As soon as I graduated from university, I applied for a job at a company to be a website designer, and I got a call the same day. I had an interview that week and they offered me a job on the spot. The experience I had by then was very valuable, so it was quite easy to get my first “real” job as a website designer.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
Over the years, I have noticed when I have recruited that there are more guys applying than girls. And I have to say I do like to have women working in the team.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
Not really – I guess if anything we women are self depreciating – we say things like “oh, I can’t deal with IT stuff like plugging things in” and we say men have a hard time juggling multiple tasks. So, maybe we are the ones being sexist sometimes?

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
Yes, I do – here comes the sexism - I believe the ability to multitask, empathise with clients, and the need to do a good job and please people 'might' be a female trait. But that is not to say that men can’t have these characteristics!

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
I would probably still run a business, but otherwise I am glad I don’t really have to make a choice about what else to do – as I love this industry. I guess I would do training for other business owners or young people.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
I suppose building this business to where it is now has been a great challenge and achievement. I started off as a freelancer in 2002 and now have 4 members of staff. I love to see people who work as part of Top Left Design develop their skills and confidence and handle all sorts of new situations every day, it’s fantastic to see.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
I have mostly had women designers work for me, and we have several advantages. In my experience, I have found that women are good at understanding clients feelings, and want to make them happy, which makes us naturals at customer service. We also are able to have several things going on at once - eg taking a call while typing up notes from the call, tweaking designs and sending them by email to the person we are talking to - in order to get a new point of reference to discuss!

I have also noticed that we as women take things to heart a lot more. I guess my advice would be – if the client is upset try and see it from their point of view – they are probably stressed out - do what you can to make them feel reassured, and don’t take it personally, as long as you are doing your best and the client can see that, that’s what’s important.

Kimberly Coles

Kimberly Coles

Bio: I'm a Creative Director and Illustrator with 20+ years of advertising and marketing experience. I attended the Savannah College of Art & Design in Georgia on a full fine arts scholarship with a major in Illustration and Graphic Design in 1990. While interactive and illustration are my current passions, my work is informed by experiences in branding, print, television, radio, direct, outdoor, tradeshow and packaging. I love collaborating with multi-disciplinary creative teams to execute high quality integrated interactive communications against strategic business objectives.
Portfolio: kimberlycoles.com
Twitter: @kimberlycoles

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
I attended the Savannah College of Art & Design in Georgia on a full fine arts scholarship with a major in illustration and graphic design in the late 80's. We didn't have computers, let alone any sort of web design courses, so the thought of doing something "technical" was not even an option while I was in college. After spending years in traditional typesetting and paste-up, I bought a Mac in 1992 and taught myself desktop publishing and multimedia with Macromind Director (yes, Macromind). Around 1994, I started designing for web and interactive while still designing for traditional advertising. So, needless to say, it's been quite a long journey.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
Over the last decade, I've known a lot of fellow female designers who were unwilling to learn anything other than print design. As the shape of the internet changed over the years, traditional agencies slowly realized that web was a necessary new media vehicle to advertise in. There was a general perception that any designer who knew their way around PhotoShop could start designing sites without any sort of marketing plan. Because of that, there is a big pool of web stylists who are technically proficient with the tools of the trade creating designs. However, there is a lack of both female and male web designers who understand how to plan, concept, design and develop strategically sound websites that support a brand, engages and motivates the target audience and delivers results.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
I’ve found that it doesn’t take long to gain respect if you constantly challenge yourself, work hard and are good at what you do.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
In my opinion, it's a level playing field. We all hold the keys to our own success.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
A full-time illustrator and fine artist.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
After 20 years of understanding both the traditional and digital sides of the business, I've finally made the leap to an independent Interactive Creative Director with plans to start my own company.

I am grateful that I have made it this far, but it hasn't always been an easy road. I've seen a lot of my peers drop off as the years and demands on their careers became even greater as they inch toward the Creative Direction title. It's no wonder there aren't more successful female designers. There isn't much room for having a life and a family when you are expected to stay on top of your game day in and day out. From an agency's point of view, there's always some younger, cheaper hybrid designer/developer waiting in the wings who will say yes to anything. I'd say agency life, or lack thereof, is the number one reason women don't stick with their careers long enough to get recognition.

Along the way, I thought about giving it all up to be home at a reasonable hour or have my weekends to myself. Other days, I am reminded that I still have a long way to go to reach the goals that I set for myself back when I was in art school. Because I'm always searching for great talent, I launched the Website Bakery. The Website Bakery is an exhibition and inspiration showcase gallery that aggregates art, design, web design, illustration, handmade, products, etc.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
I'd like to stress that I consider myself a Creative Director and Designer and not a Developer. I am responsible for strategy, concepting, planning and designing websites. While I'm pretty good at front-end development, that's never been my focus. I've been doing this long enough to know that it's just not a good use of a designer's time. I prefer to focus on enhancing my natural creative talents rather than try to be a hybrid. I like to think this is the reason for my success.

My advice to young designers is to be willing to do anything, nothing should be beneath you. Hard work, dedication, self-motivation and perseverance are very important. I encourage women to focus on following the steps along the career ladder with intention - Intern, Designer, Art Director, Senior Art Director, Associate Creative Director and Interactive Creative Director. I wouldn't recommend freelancing right out of school. Designers have too much to learn and they will never get the caliber of projects that will allow them to develop creatively and professionally without a team. Become an ongoing student of your craft. Study the best designers in the world, just as a musicians study the great composers. Be humble. If you don’t have experience as a leader, find someone who does and learn from them. You must become as practiced at communicating as you are at designing. As a creative person, you have an amazing gift, and with that gift comes a responsibility to be the best you can be.

Krishna Solanki

Krishna Solanki

Bio: Krishna is a web designer based in Cambridge, UK. She is passionate about all things design related and loves learning about new techniques and technologies.
Portfolio: krishnasolanki.co.uk
Twitter: @kri5hsolanki

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
I have always been naturally creative, however never realised Web Design was what I wanted to get into until I completed a few coursework’s at university (getting myself a First in each piece, and realising I really enjoyed it!). Also an industrial placement confirmed this is exactly what I wanted to do as a career! I’ve not looked back since!

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
I definitely thought there was, however having done some research I realised that there are plenty out there, they just need to become more prominent.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
Luckily no, however I do occasionally get the odd sarcastic comment about "guys being better designers than girls". However, it’s not something I take to heart. Especially as I see it as their potential insecurity.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
I don't think they have advantages as I believe talent is talent.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
I have no idea! It would definitely have to be something creative. Maybe a clothes designer as I have dabbled in creating my own bags and personalised many items of clothing, or maybe even an interior decorator as I love DIY and loved giving my old living room a makeover!. Who knows!!

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
Off the top of my head I would say I’m most proud of teaching myself everything I know with regards to web design myself. I’ve had great guidance at different times, however it’s a great feeling being able to look back to see I am where I am because of the hard work I put in.
Saying that, I still strive to become better and won’t be happy till I have achieved to become a well known figure in the web design world. Let’s see what the future holds!

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
Make some noise and be heard in this male dominated industry. Stand proud of what you have achieved but remember there is always something to learn!

Larissa Meek

Larissa Meek

Bio: I'm an ACD for AgencyNet and currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.
Portfolio: larissameek.com
Twitter: @larissameek

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
It was sort of by accident. I turned a hobby into a career. I originally wanted to be a 3D animator or traditional artist.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
Well, web design is a very male dominated industry. And the truth is that men and women are wired differently. I think there is a lack of women because of the social perception of web design being boring or too techie. However, there are more women joining the industry every year and I believe that will only continue to grow.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
I have never experienced sexism or negativity to my face nor in my workplace, however social media and the web are a different story. I don't think the negativity I receive stems so much from sexisim as it does from the fact that I used to model and was on a reality TV show. Thus, I have to fight a stereotype that doesn't fit hand-in-hand with the social perception of whom a web designer is.

In fact, I have always considered myself a visual artist more than anything else. I love to create.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
Yes and No. When it comes to money, we know that the average American woman earns 21% less than men with the same position and responsibilities. I'm sure the same is true for many female designers. Many women, but not all, also carry the weight of being all things to all people such as mother, wife, boss, house keeper, cook and much more. We also carry a lot of pressure to maintain our appearances. So you can say there's a lot of weight on our shoulders to wear many hats.

We are wired to be caretakers by nature and we are more emotional. It's our best and worst quality. On the other hand, because there are fewer women designers I think it's easier for a female designer to stand out. Either way, women designers are not necessarily better or worse than men. It's really all about an individual's skill-set.

I would love to see more work places embracing the fact that men and women are just wired differently and it can be quite advantageous to have both points of view.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
I would probably be an artist of some kind.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
Wow. Where do I start? Right now, my Mom is battling pancreatic cancer so on a personal level it’s a huge challenge to try and stay focused on a day to day basis. I find myself filled with emotion yet I still have a job to do and I have to do it well. I find solace and comfort in my work unlike before. It gives me a sense of gratitude and helps me stay grounded.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
It's okay to fail. Pick yourself up and keep going.

Laura Sultan

Laura Sultan

Bio: I run Paramaya Web Consulting, a web design and development company in metro Atlanta, Georgia. I spend the rest of my time hanging out with my husband and two children.
Portfolio: paramaya.net
Twitter: @paramaya

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
My first love was psychology, and I had planned to be a therapist. While applying to graduate school in 1999, two forces came together to change the course of my career. I was pregnant with my first child, and my mother was self-publishing a book. I volunteered to help my mom market her book, so I created a website using FrontPage. From that moment on, I was hooked. I began learning everything I could about web design.

I had stumbled upon the ideal career for my personality. Web design combines the creative and the logical in perfect balance. I love it. After almost ten years, I still get a little thrill when I write some HTML and CSS and the design comes to life in the browser. I'm a lifetime learner, and I love that web design never gets boring. I had also discovered a career that has allowed me to work at home, which has been important to me as a mother.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
There’s no doubt that women are underrepresented in statistics on web design and at industry conferences. On the other hand, I’m not convinced that means there are fewer women working as web designers. I personally know far more women web designers than men.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
Not personally. I have heard of some very public instances of sexism in the industry, and they generally boiled down to old-fashioned sexual harassment and men acting like juveniles. If there have been any projects that I didn’t land because I’m a woman, the potential clients never let on.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
No.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
I was on my way to becoming a psychologist when I began designing web sites so I imagine that’s what I’d be.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
Because I have a home office, my biggest challenge is to fight the impulse to work all the time. I have had to set boundaries for myself with my time for my own benefit and for the benefit of my family.

My biggest achievement is that I kept pushing to make this business a success, even while others were telling me to get a “real” job.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
Find a supportive network. The best thing I ever did for my business was to join an email discussion list of women web designers. It’s like having 100 business mentors at my disposal every single day.

Leticia Motta

Leticia Motta

Bio: I’m a 23 year old interactive designer, lover of branding and illustration. I’m Brazilian, born in Rio de Janeiro, part time freelancer, color freak and online music listener.
Portfolio: leticiamotta.com
Twitter: @letmotta

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
In fact I was introduced to web design at the places I’ve worked. My major at University was graphic design and this was what I studied the most in my years in college. When I got my first job was when I was introduced to the interactive world.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
If we think about history, most jobs were held by men, because some decades ago women had no freedom to express themselves in any career. For example, a woman who studied at the Arts College in the 60’s in Brazil was not considered respectful. But nowadays, we can see that the amount of female professionals is increasing as developers, designers, leaders. At the office where I work there are 4 male designers and 3 female.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
Thank God not. I’ve never heard anything related to my gender when I got a job, freelance or not. But I know there is sexism in some careers, for example, women that work as automotive mechanics or men as agency attendants.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
Some people might say that female designers are more delicate or can only do sites for kids, women and fashion, but honestly, there are men that can transcript the female world perfectly and the opposite is also true. I think women can create with ease a website for a boxer, for example. The point is not if the designer is a guy or a girl, but how versatile he or she is.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
I think I’d work with something related to sounds, sound producer maybe, or would have my own business, a store or restaurant.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
My biggest challenge now is to start studying things that I don’t know very well, such as photography and motion graphics. I believe that once I learn how to do it better I’ll be able to expand my design boundaries. But the biggest challenge for life is to find the balance between time, family and work.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
First of all, I think that us women should be glad we live in this decade, when you rarely get frustrated because of sexist restrictions. Secondly, girls don’t need to feel better or worse than anybody because of their gender. The risk of the extreme “Girl Power” thought is the belief that you’re better than somebody else. Women and men have the same capability. Success depends only on your dedication.

Lisa Howey

Lisa Howey

Bio: I am one of those lucky people who get to go to work and love what they do. Designing for the web, a constantly evolving technology, keeps me totally engaged.
Portfolio: lisahowey.com
Twitter: @LiHowey7

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
I landed my first design job out of college with a company who offers a CMS for independent schools. The creative director saw potential in my design skills and knew that I could learn how to design specifically for web on the job.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
No, I think it is a myth that there is a lack of female web designers. In my company we actually have more female designers then male.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
Sadly yes, but I don't think it's only in our industry. You have a choice though, and mine was not to work with them "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." - Eleanor Roosevelt.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
Not really, it comes down to the designer, not the gender.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
Photographer or maybe a hair stylist.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
I just recently accepted a new job in Boston, MA USA at Echoditto and I'm really excited to work with clients that make positive social and environmental change in the U.S. and around the globe.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
We Rock!

Madeline D’Amato

Madeline Damato

Bio: I am a young soul in a grownup place. I'm a mom, wife, daughter, sister, designer, procrastinator, dreamer, sometimes-not-so-good friend, sporadic blogger, gardener & photographer wanna-be, and many other things. I’d always rather be taking pictures, designing something in PhotoShop or cuddling with my baby boy. I have 3 children varying in ages 17-6.
Portfolio: betterinpink.com
Twitter: @betterinpink

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
I initially began designing things for myself and my blog. I didn't like the one style fits all approach that Blogger (my blogging platform at the time) had with their templates, but I did appreciate the fact that you were able to "tweak" things more to your liking if you figured out how. So, with some time on my hands having both of my young girls in school, I decided to make it my hobby. After several of my online friends started offering me money for helping them with their websites, I started to take my hobby more seriously and thus began my business venture.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
I don't feel that there is a lack of female designers, necessarily- I just think that as women we are less likely than men to "toot our own horns" so to speak and so it appears to be more of a male dominated industry.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
I don't feel that I've experienced blatant sexism in this industry. There is a general sense that I've gotten however, that is sort of condescending a sort of, you do great work, for a girl type of thing. Can't quite put my finger on it, but it's not anything that has made me question my choice to be in this industry.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
I feel that any talented individual has a great opportunity to shine in this industry. It's just a matter of how much drive is behind the person. Again, I do feel that as women we sometimes tend not to celebrate our successes to the extent that some of our male counterparts do, but I think there is a quiet strength there that shines in its own right.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
I am not sure certainly something that allowed me to be creative.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
When you are your own "boss" in a creative field, it's very easy to become so involved in the creative process of the job that you neglect some of the "business" areas that are so necessary to really thrive in this industry. Finding and maintaining a perfect balance between those two has been my biggest challenge thus far.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
Celebrate your successes! When you love what you do, and you are passionate about it, it will show. Be proud of your work, and don't be afraid to brag a little from time to time.

Maja Bencic

Maja Bencic

Bio: I'm 30 year old, living in Rijeka, Croatia. Web design professional for about 7 years, somewhere along the way expanded to graphic design and illustrations. For the last 1.5 years I have been fully self-employed as I run my own one-person-company Fritula.
Portfolio: fritula.hr
Twitter: @abejamaja

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
Well, almost accidentally, but the moment I started learning this I immediately liked it and very soon it became clear to me that this is what I would like to do professionally. I started with web design and gradually expanded into illustration and graphic design, but I like it the most when I have a project that can join them all together.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
There's more and more of them, but generally speaking it seems to me that female designers are more oriented towards designing web layouts than UI or coding HTML, CSS, etc.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
Fortunately no, although sometimes I think that when I was younger I was taken less seriously because I'm a female. Still, it may have been so primarily because I was strongly focused on illustrations while they were much less popular than they are now. What I have noticed is that male-dominated web communities (forums etc) are much more cautious when criticizing design work of a woman than they are when the author is male. I don't think that's good, but with time you learn to filter the feedback you get, including the praise.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
Now I think that being a woman can be an advantage because we maybe have a different approach that is sometimes useful, and being a minority we are easier to notice. I, for one, do not like the separation of "male" and "female" design because I think that design is not so defined by the designer's gender as it is by his/hers skills of producing design that appears as "male" or "female". I know a lot of both male and female web designers and I think that their skill, approach, and client treatment are much more important for this profession than their gender.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
I don't know, but I know that it would have to be a creative profession, giving me enough freedom in organizing my time, and my work.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
I am pregnant at the moment, which is something only "female web designers" can do. Other than this (which is occupying my mind a lot these days), I hope I will manage to keep up with the trends and continue to work as a designer and enjoy it, and at the same time find the time to be a good mum.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
Well not much. What I could say and send a message to everyone, not just women, is that they should stick to their own style and not imitate others, because any kind of original design is better than the best kind of imitation. This way with time you'll develop your very own style.

Melissa Hie

Melissa Hie

Bio: Web designer, front end developer, tv addict, video game enthusiast.
Portfolio: melissahie.com
Twitter: @ichabunni

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
I started when I was about 15 or so, playing with geocities websites. From there I started learning HTML and CSS by viewing other people's source code and borrowing books from the library. I had a lot of time on my hands back then I suppose.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
Yes, I'm quite surprised there are a lot more male web designers than female since I grew up in a sort of girl web community where all of us did graphic / web design. But I guess a lot of them ended up choosing something else as their career path. I was one of the few who stayed.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
Nope! and I don't think it would happen either.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
We're all equals I think.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
Not sure probably a web programmer even though I have a love/hate relationship with programming.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
I'm not sure if I've achieved anything worth mentioning yet, but the biggest challenge so far is just trying to establish my career. I started working for a creative agency recently, and I learned a lot from that job. There are so many talented people with amazing ideas out there!

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
I would say this to anyone actually, female or male regardless don't lose focus. Keep yourself up to date with your industry, and if you need to take a break, please do!

Milica Sekulic

Milica Sekulic

Bio: I'm a graphic/Web designer specializing in designing user interface, Website usability, CSS/XHTML, and Web standards. I have also worked as a creative director for few years. Now I have my own creative atelier, and I'm very dedicated to the art of making Websites and improving my skills every day.
Portfolio: milicasekulic.com
Twitter: @milicasekulic

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
I've always had an interest in visual arts and design. When I had my first contact with a computer, I realized I could merge my creativity with the technology and make something good and functional.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
When I started to work, there were very few female Web designers. That inspired me to start exploring how many women are actually work in the Web, so I launched a website CSSPrincess with a mission to support and search for female Web designers.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
No, on the contrary. Many people and clients find it very interesting to meet or to work with a girl who is in a business in which men dominate. Sometimes clients insist on a female designer when they want a "female touch" on their Website.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
Since I'm a woman I probably won’t be objective when I say that girls have a more subtle, but very practical approach to work. They are also very creative and at the same time serious and responsible in the business.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
I would work at something related to the visual arts, for sure. When I was a little girl I wanted to become a famous painter, so I would probably follow that dream.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
At this moment my biggest challenge is to educate people how to make beautiful websites, and more importantly, how to find their interests and develop them into something creative and functional. Every time I succeed in that mission, that's my biggest achievement.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
Those woman who have already succeeded in their work should encourage others to follow in their footsteps, and those who still don't have enough confidence to start working as a professional, should know that a good designer depends only on his talent, creativity and skills.

Mina Markham

Mina Markhan

Bio: Web designer, front-end coder, Apple fangirl and travel enthusiast living in Dallas, Texas.
Portfolio: minamarkham.com
Twitter: @minamarkham

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
It was an organic process for me. My background is in communications. I originally wanted to become a magazine editor. As a part of that learning process, I took some design classes to become better versed in layout. Soon after, I realized I hated writing and fell in love with design. I started out in print, mainly publication design, and web was the next logical step. I taught (and am teaching) myself how to code and I have never looked back.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
Almost every student in my design classes was female, so I’m not convinced it’s solely a numbers issue. I think there is a lack of widely recognized female web designers. Whenever I hear about “rock star” female designers, it’s the same handful of women being mentioned. Don’t get me wrong, they’re amazing at what they do, but it’d be nice to see some new faces.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
Personally, I’ve never had any issues with being a woman in the industry. I think good work is good work, and I feel I’ve had the same opportunities as my male counterparts. However, I just realized that most of my clients are female, so perhaps I never noticed. Or maybe I’m just really lucky.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
I don't think that female designers have advantages just by being female. I think that we bring a unique perspective and voice to the industry, just as male designers do.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
Honestly, design is so ingrained in me now; I have no idea where I’d be without it. I probably would have stuck with my original plan and gotten into the magazine industry.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
I’m currently getting into PHP development, and that’s a completely different monster than I’m used to. It’s a little intimidating and very exciting.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
Don't let the technical side of web design intimidate you. Be aware of what others are doing, but don't get too caught up in it. Someone will always be better than you. Focus on producing your best work. Keep learning. This industry changes so quickly, it takes diligence to stay in the loop.

Naina Redhu

Naina Redhu

Bio: I love designing logos & thinking up brand names. I'm a photographer & love post-production of the pictures I take. Learning never ends and the best way to be a good designer is to start designing. I laugh at the weirdest of times - there's humor in everything. Animated movies are my staple - I also love watching French films - with and without subtitles - although I don't understand the French language. I'm like a pendulum when it comes to living - sometimes dressed like a bum, sometimes ostentatious, sometimes work for the biggest company clients and sometimes give away work-time for free, sometimes party all week and sometimes stay home all week. I love it when social networking brings in logo engagements and turns into business networking. I'm obsessed with the colors crimson and turquoise - I have ear rings, shoes, pens, pencils, notebooks - even my laptop skin that's crimson & turquoise.
Portfolio: asidebrands.com
Twitter: @naina

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
After the Post Graduate diploma in IT & Systems, I worked for a year as a management consultant. Each month when I got my salary cheque, I'd wonder what I'd done to deserve it. After a year of wondering, I quit. While I was appearing for interviews for other management-type jobs, I was networking online on LinkedIn. I was interested in the field of innovation management & consulting and one of the people I was interacting with was impressed with my painting / drawing portfolio & she asked me if I could make her a website - I told her I'd never done it before, but would be thrilled to. After a week with Frontpage, I had designed my first website. I'd also strung together Blogger.com blogs as my first portfolio. Over the years, I've taught myself with a huge thanks to the internet.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
Yes. Not that there aren't many - there are. But they're probably not doing the right things to put their work out there. The men, as always are better at taking chances / risks when it comes to stuff like career & work.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
Oh yes. From a very overt married-with-kids venture capitalist making his move to a client who told me I'd get the job only if I attended a 'meeting' with him at a hotel for two days and even clients who routinely look to the door expecting a senior 'man' to follow right in my footsteps. On the flip side, it's awesome working with other women and I've had great male clients too.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
Sure, if they choose to be slutty, they'd land every damn job. But that would be risky. See my reply above. Otherwise I think there are loads of men designers who are uber talented. Male/female shouldn't be the criteria to decide who produces better designers. Women tend to mull more than required - think too much - hence maybe that's one reason why they are good designers but not so good when it comes to business acumen - again, that is a generalization - but my opinion anyway.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
Photographer, which I am anyway. I'd still be in the visual/creative/arts field.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
Going from day-to-day and engagement to engagement with asidebrands.com. Starting up was easy enough - it's the steady going that is tough. Hence, when managed, my biggest challenge. To keep it going - creatively, get more clients, variety of work, etc.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
Most of the Indian female designers get into this 'profession' because they think this is a profession as good as any other - there needs to be dedication & integrity and 'professionalism'. You don't become a designer overnight. I'm not saying not to go down this path - I'm saying walk it better.

Nicole Bauer

Nicole Bauer

Bio: I'm Nicole and I'm a 28 year-old Visual Designer located in Germany. I design everything from websites, over print ads to icons, logos and User Interfaces. I love to make things looks pretty and I like it cute and colourful.
Portfolio: nicolebauer.com
Twitter: @nicolebauer

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
I studied "Digital Media" and when I had to complete a 3 months internship I was asked to come up with a new splash screen for the company's website, but I was absolutely clueless. So they sent me to the library and I spent the next 21 days going through a book called "HTML in 21 days". After that I just wanted to create my own website. That's when I started to work on www.maquita.de. Everything I know about web design I've learned by working on that site, experimenting, trying out different styles and techniques.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
Well, I do believe that the web design world is dominated by men. All the popular designers I know are male; Veerle Pieters would be the only female I could come up with ad hoc. But I think that's not just in web design, but generally in the IT world. I really don't know why though.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
I work for a software company where 90% of my colleagues are male, but I can't think of a situation where I've experienced real negativity because I'm female. I get some insolent comments here and there, but I can handle that. I laugh about it and I'm not afraid to answer back, but I never really had to deal with sexism. Far from it! I think most men are glad there are more and more talented women in the industry, because we just bring another perspective, a different point of view to the table.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
I wouldn't say we have advantages over male designers, we're just different (just like in real life. This is a bit of a cliché, but I guess most girls love fashion and make-up and stuff like that. And therefore we experiment a lot with colour and different styles and I think that translates to the web design world. So maybe we're a bit more gutsy when it comes to combining colours or styles that might not be a good match at first sight.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
Oh gosh, that's an interesting question, actually I never thought about that. I always wanted to study, so I guess I would have studied something like law or psychology just to realize it's not my thing and became a make-up artist instead (I love make-up). But actually I can't imagine doing anything other than being a designer, that's the thing I always grabbed first when we had career counseling at school and now that I really work as a designer I wouldn't want to change that.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
I guess my biggest challenge is also my biggest achievement. I've studied Digital Media and that's not only about design. I had to write exams about Java programming, databases and computer visualization and that wasn't easy for me. I just don't have the right brain for that kind of stuff. But I went through with all that and even did well. I got a job right after I had graduated and whereas I did everything but design in the beginning, I now finally have proven that we don't need agencies to do the design work for us and that was a big achievement for me, considering that everything I know about design is self-taught. I didn't learn anything about web design or PhotoShop during my studies, but I've worked hard to get to where I am now and that makes me really proud.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
I personally love female web designs, not because I'm female myself, but because I find it refreshing to see designs that have been created by women, cause they're just different. For me Veerle Pieters was something like a role model when I started off with web design, because she's one of the few influential female designers and I've learned a lot from her. I wish there were more women in the industry!

Nicole Foster

Nicole Foster

Bio: My name is Nicole Foster and I'm a freelance website designer. I have an immense passion for creating websites that help business grow. I strive to create websites that result in happy clients.
Portfolio: serenedestiny.com
Twitter: @serenedestiny

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
I got into the web design industry when I was 12 and obsessed with coding. I really enjoyed making simple HTML/CSS layouts, so eventually I learned more about design and poof, I'm a web designer.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
I don't think there is a lack of female web designers, but more female web designers would be great.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
Fortunately I have not experienced any sexism or negativity due to my gender, though I have heard many stories of others going through those problems.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
I feel as if we have an advantage with intuition. Intuition plays a role on how I design websites and how I communicate with clients. I'm not sure if male designers have that sense as we do, but it's a very important thing to have as a female designer.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
I would be in the field of Psychology or Sociology. Knowing the human mind and how society works fascinates me.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
My biggest achievement was starting my business and keeping it going for a year. I technically had no plan but to create websites for others and get my name out there, but I'm proud that I have maintained a business for almost two years now.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
Don't let anything get in the way of your passion. I'm a very weird girl that like what men usually enjoy like football and video games, but that has never stopped me from enjoying what I do. If you're a female and you love web design, go for it. Just because it's a male-dominated profession doesn't mean you can't rock it. So go out there and make some great designs!

Ranjeet Ruprai

Ranjeet Ruprai

Bio: I love spending time with family and friends. I have a dry sense of humor and am a good listener. I love watching movies, surfing the internet and listening to all types of music.
Portfolio: ranjeetruprai.com
Twitter: @ranjeetruprai

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
I always loved using computers from a young age and did computing at A-Level then went on to do a degree in Multimedia Computing. I enjoyed the creative front end of it all so knew web design/development was what I wanted to do and managed to get a job in London soon after completing my degree. After 3 and a half years in London I moved back to my home town, Leicester, and went freelance. I spent two years freelancing mostly building XHTML/CSS templates to web standards. I'm now back in full time employment doing more design work than I ever have and am still freelancing on the side.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
I do think there are a lack of female web designers but have seen more come out of the woodwork in recent months, mostly through twitter really.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
Nope. Been quite lucky really.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
No, I don't think so and I don't see why they should. I think web design in particular is still thought of as a more male dominated area.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
I can't imagine not using computers so probably a back end programmer or something, but if I had to choose something completely different then I think I would have gone into either journalism or something else creative like architecture.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
My biggest challenge was going self-employed and full time as a freelancer when moving back to Leicester. It was totally not me as I was so used to a 9 to 5 job but I had some great clients in London and managed to keep it going for 2 and a half years. I enjoyed it a lot but decided I wanted to start interacting with other humans again and got myself a full time position at a small company in the city centre and I manage to fit in small freelance jobs here and there.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
I've seen some really strong work from some female designers recently and think they're doing a fab job. To those just starting out I'd say be creative and daring and always stay confident in your work.

Rina Miele

Rina Miele

Bio: I live in Sleepy Hollow, New York. (Yes, it’s not just a legend.) I love being a suburbanite. I love the smell of vinyl (toys). Some call me the “font fairy.”
Portfolio: honeydesign.com
Twitter: @honeydesign

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
It was somewhat of a happy accident. When in college I didn’t intend to do web design at all. Sure I took a class or two, but mostly just for kicks. At that time the web was still growing - no where near what we know it as today, a more mature world wide web. My first job was at a small, four person shop doing print work for local businesses. I was interested in exploring web design, and I dabbled here and there, but never really thought it would lead to anything. After about I year I realized I didn’t have to learn code in order to design for the web. That’s all I needed to hear. And off I was to Rockstar games as a web designer.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
I think so. I definitely know more male designers than female. It’s funny because again, looking back at college, I’d say the numbers were about even, men to women. But as I started working in the field, the scale tipped quite a bit. Not really sure how or why that happened, but it’s definitely something that was visible.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
Yea definitely. It’s not so blatant though at times, but I’ve definitely felt it. And it wasn’t all in my mind either. Others have seen/experienced the same issues. It’s just something you have to deal with, like anything else. Just don’t let it affect who you are and what you do. Never let go of that.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
Not so much advantages as different points of view, at least in my own experience. Not everything is all rough and tumble. I mean, with everything else, a woman’s opinions can be different. And that’s a good thing.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
Probably a pastry chef. I do enjoy cooking, but I prefer sweet over savory.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
My biggest challenge is learning more. There never seems to be enough hours in the day. Always more to explore and more to do. And it’s hard to balance that sometimes.My biggest achievement? That’s a tough one. I guess doing what I love for a living. That’s a pretty big deal after all.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
Don’t feel intimidated by the overwhelming male population in the design community. Hold your ground and believe in what you do.

Sara Presenti

Sara Presenti

Bio: I'm a Italian web designer, that have been working in the field of graphics and web development for six years and at the moment besides collaborating with a web agency she successfully manages her freelance activity under the name of mascara design. Like many freelancers she is used to handling more roles, ranging from print graphics to HTML/CSS development; nonetheless this passion of hers remains, always and however, web graphics.
Portfolio: mascaradesign.it
Twitter: @mascaradesign

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
In 2003, I was doing graphic design at a small local newspaper and by pure chance I had to take care of the aesthetic design of the newspaper’s website. It was love at first sight and since then I started to deal with web graphics, almost completely abandoning commercial art. Later on I met my current partner (developer) who has lovingly tutored me regarding XHTML and CSS. But my first love always remains Photoshop!

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
I think there is a lack of females in every workplace, and as a consequence in web design also. It’s a real pity because I think that women have not only got a particular eye for the aesthetic taste but also are more prone for works which require fantasy and emotion. Just a little bit of patience and I am sure great female web designers will emerge you better watch out guys!

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
Luckily I’ve never had such problems, my clients have always been respectful towards me and my work and anyway, I consider myself to be an assertive woman. Working as a freelancer also gives me the freedom to reject a client whenever I want, at any time my instinct tells me that there’s something wrong and that the person in front of me is not the one he pretends to be.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
No, on the contrary. I think that a female designer has to sweat more to obtain the same recognition, in order to be taken seriously, especially if she happens to be young unfortunately.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
I have always drawn a lot since I was a kid, so I think that maybe I would have been an artist, who knows. Or maybe a journalist, veterinarian, lawyer, photographer. I have always been undecided regarding my profession, I would have wanted to do everything. I can say that it was not me who chose my current job, it’s actually the job that chose me.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
The project that me and my partner have created: Your Inspiration Web. That’s an Italian community dedicated to web design, in Italy it’s still an unknown path (we lack a Onextrapixel, a Smashing Magazine, an Italian WebdesignerDepot!) so we are dedicating precious time and hard work in order to succeed in creating a quality blog in our language as well. This is really an exciting challenge for both of us at the moment.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
To all the women in the world, whether designers or not: Be assertive! Do not allow anyone to tell you what you can’t do, every woman has got an immense potential within, all that it takes is to discover it.

Sarah Enid-Moule

Sarah Enid Moule

Bio: My name's Sarah and I love art, design, comics, movies and music. I'm a kid from the 80's who loves where I came from and where I'm going. I wear jeans and hightop sneakers every day and I when I was a kid I used to be obsessed with Dinoriders and Lego.
Portfolio: sarahenid.net
Twitter: @ponypants

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
I grew up as a pretty artsy person, but being good at drawing doesn't really get you very far unless you are super passionate about it, and I never really was. Eventually I wanted to have my own website to show off my artwork, so I tried to make it myself and I was in love! I think I redesigned my first website about 8 times before I ever uploaded anything, it was full of flashing sparkly .gif's and I thought it was the coolest site ever!

Since then, I have worked hard to learn and grow as a designer, did a lot of freebie jobs to get a portfolio going and then just started applying around!

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
I think there's a lack of nerdy girls overall, but our numbers are defiantly growing. Women are starting to realise its cool to be smart and outgoing, so I think in the next 5 years we will see a lot more ladies branching out and getting their geek on!

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
I have not. I think if I was a different kind of girl I might, but I'm one of the boys. I stay back after work to play Team Fortress 2 and leave with a very smug face after top scoring for half the map.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
Unfortunately, yes I do. I find that clients seem to respond a lot better when dealing with girls as their project managers than with the boys. Apart from that though, it’s just about talent and skill and your gender hasn't got anything to do with that.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
I'd like to try my hand at Tattooing actually! But if it wasn't design related, I think I'd really like to work with my hands. Maybe a mechanic or a carpenter. Something that still requires me to be creative, but maybe get away from the dratted computer more often.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
I don't really have any big scores, I think the thing I'm most proud of is every time I get a concept sign off where a client is super happy and just loves their website. Every time that happens it reminds me why I love this job.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
Take criticism graciously and never be too proud to change your work (even if it’s just to prove your idea was better!). That's how you learn and grow into an excellent designer, and people will want to work with you. No matter how long you have been doing this for, there's always something more you can learn in this industry. Also drink tea!

Sarah Hicks

Sarah Hicks

Bio: I currently work as a web designer, both in-house for Mason Companies Inc. and freelance under Sarah Lynn Design. I'm well versed in the retail industry when it comes to working within a niche. I enjoy cooking! I'm growing my first vegetables ever this spring. I am planning a trip to Europe next year, and hmm well, I can't resist a great concert! Rock, country and most genres in between.
Portfolio: sarahlynndesign.com
Twitter: @shicksdesign

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
I began the exciting journey about 6 years ago when I began studying web design in college. I've always been interested in the web and technology so combined with my love for art web design was a perfect pathway to take.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
Not at all! I find that there are increasingly more women moving in the direction of web design, whether they started with print or went to school strictly for the web. When I was in school, I would say about 70% of the design students were female.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
I am happy to say that I have not!

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
Being that we are in a profession that requires you to have knowledge in many different business areas, you do have an advantage in particular cases if you are a certain gender. Let's say for example I am designing a hunting website or maybe a website for women's clothing. The client might look to hire a male designer for a hunting design because in most cases, (not all of course lady hunters!) they might have more knowledge on the subject and be surrounded by people who hunt themselves. This gives them an advantage because they don't need to do quite as much research into the hunting realm. Granted in today's world, gender is becoming less and less of a barrier, but there are always going to be those areas in which men/women have more knowledge because of their sex.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
If I wasn't a designer I would probably be a marketer of sorts or a photographer. Let's hope there isn't a need to switch careers! I would be incredibly sad if I couldn't design! It gives me that extra something to wake up to each morning.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
My biggest achievement has been starting my own business. It's been a continual learning experience! I've met some incredible designers, artists and people in general from around the world working on the web under Sarah Lynn Design.

I have to say learning about the world and its cultures by designing with folks from other countries has been my most eye-opening experience. I guess that wasn't quite the question, but oh well! Most other professions don't give you this opportunity. The more you see and experience the better designer and artist you become in my opinion.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
The sky is the limit ladies!

Sarah Parmenter

Sarah Parmenter

Bio: I'm a user interface designer specialising in iPhone, iPad and web design. I also contribute written features to printed media, including .net magazine, and speaks at web design conferences around the world.
Portfolio: sazzy.co.uk
Twitter: @sazzy

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
I was always drawing from a young age, I remember my parents giving me rolls and rolls of wall lining paper to draw on because I used to run them out of paper so quickly - as long as I had a pencil, crayon or felt tip in my hands, I was happy. Going digital though was something I did much later on, my school wasn't great on technology facilities so I studied "Fine Art" up until I left school, all the while practising web coding and digital graphic design in the spare hours I had at home. I guess design was always in my blood, I'm not sure where it comes from though as neither of my parents are like this at all. Web design was something that just interested me when the internet was still in its infancy and I was lucky enough to jump on board at this time, when we were still designing table based layouts! I was very lucky to also have a family friend who owned a web design agency in Australia who was able to help me out on the finer details of web design and was always about with great advice!

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
No, I think there are plenty of female designers out there but probably more doing the design side rather than the coding side. I think the design element would appeal to more females, so naturally you’d find more in this side of the industry.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
Negativity yes, people assuming I am where I am because of the fact I’m female and blonde. I’ve worked really hard to get where I am today (I wrote a blog post about it here) and I get the odd comments pop up in forums and sometimes even at conferences, either about the way I look or the fact I’m a minority in a heavily male dominated industry. It really doesn’t bother me what people think anymore though, you have to have a tougher skin than that in this industry and I can cope with that as the positives far outweigh the negatives.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
It’s a well known fact that women like to chat, so I think the only advantage we have is that our communication may be a little bit better with clients than our male counterparts, this is purely a guess though!

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
I really have no idea, it’s never entered my head to do anything else other than design/web related jobs. When I was little I wanted to be a nurse, just like my Mum, but an acute fear of needles scuppered those plans!

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
Growing and establishing my business from age 19. It’s only now, looking at other 19 year olds, do I realise how young I was to be delving into the business world and living without a lot of money. Nothing ever phased me though, as you do when you are young, you feel like you can take on the world and no one can stop you doing what you want to do. I’m glad I was able to do this so early on as when you get older and you have the pressure of mortgages, bills and such like, it’s not so easy to throw caution to the wind in the same way.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
Don’t let being in a male dominated environment make an ounce of difference to the way you do business, it’s never adversely affected me. As long as you keep your head down, work hard and produce good work, no one can ever accuse you of not doing your best.

Sarah Whinnem

Sarah Whinnem

Bio: By day, I'm an in house designer for a company in the financial industry. By night, I write for my own site, design cool stuff, and make a mean margarita. And then I drink them.
Portfolio: madysondesigns.com
Twitter: @MadysonDesigns

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
I originally started in web design back in the days of Geocities and Angelfire. I picked up an HTML book and learned how to make my first site from scratch. The design was pretty par for the course (i.e. terrible), but back then, there wasn't much good web design to aspire to.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
I know plenty of successful female web designers; I think that today where we rely more on working remotely and freelance work that it matters less who is on the other end of the conversation. Their talent and body of work are much more important.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
As stereotypical as it is, the further you get onto the development side of things, the more you see a different standard between men and women. I'm used to the typical male chatter that goes on, and I've learned to tune it out.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
It depends on the person, but I think women on the whole have a better sense of empathy, emotion, and delicacy than men do.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
Before I decided on design, I was actually headed toward an even more male-oriented career, probably computer science or support. If I could choose anything now, I think I would pick something more active or outdoorsy. I have found I function better the more often I get my Vitamin D fix!

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
My biggest challenge isn't anything female-related, but rather my tendency to procrastinate. I have to work really hard to keep myself motivated.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
I think that if you're female looking to get into the web design industry, you should know that it's a hard job, but a very rewarding one, and that the design world can always use a woman's touch.

Selene M. Bowlby

Selene M Bowlby

Bio: Selene M. Bowlby is a web designer and front-end web developer with over ten years of professional experience in the design industry.

As the owner of iDesign Studios, she specializes in creating custom web sites for other businesses – focusing primarily on custom Word Press theme design and develop¬ment. Selene also blogs on topics relating to web design, small business, freelancing and work-life balance.
Portfolio: idesignstudios.com
Twitter: @idesignstudios

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
Ever since I can remember, I’ve always held an interest in art and design. I was also lucky enough to have been exposed to computers at a very young age. Combined, my artistic interests and early exposure to technology led to my current career passion – web design.

Although I majored in graphic design in college, at the time, the web was nothing more than a hobby. My career goal at the time was geared towards print design. However, the more I dabbled in the then emerging technology of the internet, my interest in it grew tremendously. So much so, that by the time I graduated, I was 100% positive that I wanted to focus on web site design and development.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
While I realize that the majority of people involved in the web design industry are male, I see a lot of great work from many talented female web designers. Just being a part of the design community on sites like Twitter shows how many great female designers there are. Perhaps being part of the community, it’s sometimes difficult to see that we are in the minority.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
As a freelancer and business owner, I have been fortunate enough not to have experienced any negativity or sexism – at least not that I’ve been aware of. In my past life as a full-time employee however, I’d be lying if I said that I felt my income was up to par with that of my male counterparts in the industry.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
I do think that female web designers have a different perspective on life than males – and our own life views and experiences can easily work their way into our design. For that reason, I do think we have certain advantages.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
I can honestly say that I don’t know! I’ve always wanted to be involved in the arts. Without web design (or even print design) I think I’d be at a loss for what to do. I would definitely need to be involved with computers in some form or another. Exactly what I would do, though, I couldn’t say.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
My biggest challenge and achievement has definitely been making the decision to run my own web design business full time. Although I started my company, iDesign Studios, almost 10 years ago, it was always just something I did “on the side” in addition to my full time job. I always knew that I wanted to run my own design company full time, but it wasn’t an easy step to take.

There was an incredible amount of planning and hard work involved in reaching the point where I was ready to leave my day job to become a full time freelancer. But I finally achieved my goal – and in fact this June marks my 2 year anniversary of taking the freelance plunge.
Of course, the hard work still continues, but I’m living my dream, which is something I’m quite proud of.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
I would tell other female designers that dedication and perseverance are key to being successful in this industry. Whether it’s business and marketing, or keeping up to date with the latest design and development trends, it’s important to keep pushing ahead.

The web design industry is a great one that allows us to be both creative and technical, all at the same time. It’s the best of both worlds, in my book, and with such a great community of other female web designers, it’s a fun one, as well!

Shannon Farrell

Shannon Farrell

Bio: Born and raised in Rochester New York, I always had a passion for the arts and anything that involved creativity. I went off to NYC to get my Bachelors in Graphic Design and I now reside in Virginia Beach. When I'm not designing, I'm usually doing something with music or figuring out where to travel next.
Portfolio: shannonfarrell.com
Twitter: @dolceshan

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
I originally majored in Fine Arts and saw that my friends majoring in Graphic Design were working on some really cool projects. I decided to switch my major and when I graduated I wanted to focus on print design. I soon took a job as a Web Designer just to get some experience but quickly fell in love with it.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
Based on studies, the web design industry is dominated by males, but I know a lot of truly talented female designers out there that are gaining recognition.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
In my experience I have seen a lot of respect for female designers. I know a few of my male designer friends also seek out female designers to give that "feminine touch" that a lot of guys have a hard time accomplishing.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
As I stated previously, I think they are better than male designers at creating elegance in their designs. I have also noticed that females tend to pay more attention to the minor details.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
I love design but I've always had a passion for music. I love to sing, play the piano and attempt to play the guitar.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
I think the biggest challenge is always originality. You see so many recycled designs out there. It's harder to do something that hasn't already been done.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
I'm sure there are some awesomely talented ladies out there that are just waiting to gain recognition. Connect with fellow designers, through Twitter and otherwise, and show your talent to the world!

Siska Flaurensia

Siska Flaurensia

Bio: A web/graphic designer and owner of Squeeze of Lime Studio; think of me as your fresh lime squeeze to spice up your web and graphic design needs!
Portfolio: siskaflaurensia.com
Twitter: @SiskaFlaurensia

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
Funny thing about me is that I originally came from a Marketing and Sales background not wanting anything to do with computers or the web. But I found my love for web designing right after I moved out here to San Diego, California (from Iowa) a few years ago. I started taking a few technical classes and basically fell in love with web designing because it channels my innate creative intuition that I (almost) forgotten I have had since I was a little girl. I started my freelance online studio called Squeeze of Lime Studio. I applied my background in Marketing and Design to its development and it’s continued to grow ever since. Now I can proudly say that I have found my true calling in life; I am happy being in this industry.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
Well, based on the stats numbers by A List Apart Survey, about 17% of web designers out there are females. The number might seem small but I am noticing a steady rise in the numbers of female web designers every year. In fact according to my personal observation, when I was taking web design classes the majority of students were females (3 males to every 10 females). I am positive we will hear of more new female shining stars in the future.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
Fortunately, I have not experience those yet while dealing with people in my industry (clients, fellow creatives, etc). Simply because I conduct myself with the utmost respect and professionalism whenever I am in my work environment and during online/offline presence. Occasionally, some clients might not take me seriously because I am a female web designer but after they talk with me they learn that they can trust me and my ability to do the job well. Keep this in mind, you will gain respect and recognition from people you are dealing with as long as you respect yourself first and believe in your ability. There is not such a thing as the weaker sex nowadays. You are in front of your computer reading this and learning to better yourself; that in itself shows something about you. So remember this: "People view you as how you view yourself."

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
One of the few things that we ladies are good at when it comes to designing is our color intuition; meaning that we naturally know how to put together great-looking color combinations/scheme. Another thing is that we are (almost) always more patient in dealing with clients and our colleagues than our male counterparts. And lastly, we have the gift of listening and understanding.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
I would still be stuck selling some goods some where as an overworked salesperson and dreaming of the day when a prince charming will come and free me from this hell-hole.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
What I have is a "daily challenge," is to find opportunities in order to move myself and my company forward every single day. One of my proud achievements is to be the first web designer in my family; I love making my mom proud. My future goal is to be invited to speak at design conferences and/or being recognized for my life's work.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
Ladies, this is just the beginning. Every minute we are changing the future of web designing and we need more support than ever before. So encourage any budding female designers out there to become their very best because for once, we will not miss the train.

Sonali Agrawal

Sonali Agrawal

Bio: I am a self-employed web designer and front-end developer currently situated in Dallas, Texas. I live with my lovely partner, Abhinav and daughter, Aarushi. I grew up and spent most of my life in India and always engaged myself in front of the computer working out stuff which would help me grow personally as well as professionally.

I embarked on my Web Design dream in the year of 2000. My journey to fulfill this dream started with formal education and continued with projects, hands-on experience and self-education. In this process, I have acquired competitive skills in various web design technologies such as HTML, XHTML, CSS, Dreamweaver and Photoshop. I am a voracious reader of books in this area. My interests include reading, photography, web browsing, music, movies, animation and outdoor sports activities. I believe that creative web design requires continuous learning and exposure to divergent ideas.
Portfolio: sonaliagrawal.com
Twitter: @sonaliagrawal

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
The passion to do something different and of my own got me into the Web Design industry. To be specific, while doing graduation in IT (2000), I learnt HTML and that interested me a lot. Hence, my journey to become a web designer and front-end developer began.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
I don’t think so. Since the time I have actually stepped into the web world, I have seen some really awesome works and not just a few, but many, from the female web designers out there. And who wouldn’t mind a few more competitors, right?

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
Not to date. In fact, my colleagues and clients have always treated me with a lot of respect.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
In my opinion, it’s all about equality currently. Nowadays, the designers are recognized and chosen by their talent and work.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
Now that’s a really tricky question. I am currently a homemaker and freelance web designer. If I weren’t a designer, I would have been a homemaker.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
The biggest challenge was getting the first break and being able to convince the client that I would be a good choice for that project. My biggest achievement is completing projects on time that finally led to happy clients and referrals.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
You go girl! Just have confidence and faith in yourself. Never let your emotions come in between your goals and future. Self-learning is the best education there can be.

Tanya Merone

Tanya Merone

Bio: I am a UI and Graphic Designer based in New York, specializing in User Interface Design and Development. I build clean, appealing, and functional interfaces which comply with the latest web standards. My other passions are print design and photography.
Portfolio: www.tanyamerone.com
Twitter: @tanyamerone

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
My love affair with graphic design began in high school. I remember using MS Paint, then graduating to Photoshop, diving into HTML and CSS, and never looking back. I did it for fun and loved it.

Currently, I'm growing into more of a user-experience position, acting as a bridge between business, users and developers.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
A yearly survey by A List Apart consistently finds that females comprise only about 16% of designers. I've had the unusual experience of working with more women than men designers, although I have worked with both equally well.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
No.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
I don't think gender stands in the way of good design – it's all based on vision, abilities, and passion for what you do.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
Maybe a photographer, it's my favorite hobby.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
NA.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
This actually applies to anyone - you have to love what you do. Without passion, it's harder to find your way to be great at it. There are a lot of setbacks, such as lack of inspiration, lack of time, late hours and deadlines, but if you truly love what you do, it's easier to focus and have fun while you're at it.

Ximena Ruiz

Ximena Ruiz

Bio: I've been doing graphic and web design for over 10 years now based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I've a degree in Social Communications but since I graduated I work as a designer. I’ve taken tons of courses but the best school is the practice. I like to be updated so I read continuously feeds from designer’s blogs I follow. I have a fulltime job as designer in a global company and I do a lot of freelance work during my “free time”.
Portfolio: xruiz.com.ar
Twitter: @xruiz

How Did You Get Into the Web Design Industry?
I have always liked computers and design. My first job was as a trainee in a desktop publishing center for a large company that paid me graphics and web design trainings for several years. It was 1999 and I used Dreamweaver and Flash 4!!! I remember those days when everybody wanted to have a flash site and also when we used tables for everything.

Do You Think There is a Lack of Female Web Designers?
Yes, there is a lack. I think in my country women prefer to do graphic design. The reason I found is that sometimes they don’t feel too comfortable working with coding and programming. Anyway I think the new generation is changing this.

Have You Ever Experienced Any Negativity or Sexism Being in This Industry?
Only once. I was working with a male colleague on a project where I did most of the work, and the client (female) preferred to speak only with him anytime she needed something changed.

Do You Think Female Designers Have Advantages Over Their Male Counterparts?
I think we have permission to be more expressive. We can create more organic design; we have more flexibility to express. I think also clients search for that advantage; the female creativity is based on the details that transform a design in something unique.

If You Were Not a Designer, What Would You Be?
I would be a programmer for sure. But also I would like to do something artistic, like a painter maybe.

What is Your Biggest Challenge/Achievement?
My biggest challenge was to do my own web site. I worked for almost 3 months on the design alone. And I built it in four days. We are our most critical client.

Anything to Say to Other Female Designers?
Take advantage of the female side of design, be creative, expressive, and always pay attention to the details. That will make the difference.

The Rise of Women?

We see many trends coming and going, some staying, but new trends happen all the time. Do you consider women web designers to be a trend? Do you think they will, in general, stay the course? As with all racist/sexist subjects, this is or could be very controversial – let us know what you think.

Why not try answering the set of questions yourself, whether you are female or male – you may surprise yourself with the answers… If you do, please share your findings with us in the comments below.

There are many more fantastic female designers and developers that we have not managed to feature in this post - do you know any of them? Are you one one of them? Please share with us here!

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Krishna is a web designer based in Cambridge, UK. She is passionate about all things design related and loves learning about new techniques and technologies.