Art + Design

From the Design Desk: The State of Brazilian Design


Brazil is known for its abundance of color, warmth, and rhythm. You see this on the beaches, in the food, and in the people. This vibrancy is often also evident in Brazil’s graphic, industrial, and fashion design.

On a recent trip to Brazil, I was delighted to see book designs taking chances and breaking away from the photography-driven mold. The book on the left (below) was designed by an independent studio in Rio with illustrations by New York-based illustrator Chris Silas Neal. The middle book is part of a series by seasoned designer Warrak Loureiro. The bright, yellow book on the right, which tells the true tale of two 19th century Europeans in the country, screams Brazil to me. It’s designed by Renata Milan, a young book designer in São Paulo. Typography and book design nerds will appreciate that every book I picked up featured a colophon in the back.

Book design is only a tiny sliver of the larger body of creative work coming out of Brazil. Illustrator Eduardo Recife of Misprinted Type, fashion designer Francisco Costa, and industrial designers the Campana Brothers have long enjoyed some notoriety outside of Brazil. New talent is always emerging, such as graphic design firms Colméia and Idéia Forte, as well as illustrators such as Adhemas Batista and Fernando Leal. I’m not sure whether the growth spurt in my list of bookmarked Brazilian illustrators, photographers, and artists has more to do with a new trend (could Brazil be the new Sweden for creative inspiration?) or whether it’s just improved communication thanks to the proliferation of the web.

Either way, learning about Brazilian design and getting access to such talent is increasingly easy with the internet. I’ve really enjoyed reading Alvorada, a blog by SVA graphic design master student Frederico Duarte, about his monthlong trip to learn what it’s like to design in and for Brazil today.

Graphic designer Nando Costa, who started the broadcast design firm Nervo out of Portland, Oregon, has published two books on Brazilian design: Brasil Inspired (out of print) in conjunction with his website project by the same name, and Disorder in Progress (Gestalten). Nando is one of many talented young designers helping to galvanize and bring recognition to a diverse band of creatives. All of them, in their own way, spread a little of that Brazilian color, warmth, and rhythm through their work.

Suzanne LaGasa

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