Watering the word – Molhando a palavra


The illustration above was made as part of the process of ideas developed for Café Aviz’s windows, a traditional coffee place of Porto. Not serving only coffee but also, drinks, “Francesinhas” and others, it is part of the city life for years, having it’s common customers and long time waiters, that become almost like characters.



The name of the coffee and it’s history carries a lot of content that could be used in the creation of the project, but it was not clear if it really had an importance. At the same time, the last edition of the Vitrina Project on Café Aviz had already been through this direction. So, by taking this other path, it could be possible to try to establish a relation to the last project and yet to be a bit different.

The number and position of the coffee’s windows appears to configure some type of comic strip display. In this way, some previous attempts were made, like this reference to Philippe Caza’s work, something that would have to do with coffee, morning, Porto… But the message seemed to be not clear. At the same time it would be better to try some kind of solution that would have to do more with the physical space in itself, the specific characteristics of the vitrina in question.

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The lowest windows have their bottom real close to the top of the tables, dividing the ones inside from the ones outside. It seemed like a nice possibility of creating and working with fictional characters, as they were having a coffee, a drink, eating, reading a newspaper, thinking, talking about life, everything and nothing… usual coffee talks…


The possibility of creating captions and illustrations of known public figures, characters from music, philosophy, literature, cinema, pop-culture, popular imaginary, in this common (or uncommon) situation of having  a talk and a coffee, or having thoughts about life in general, seemed at first really motivating (like the ones on top of the post).

But it was then decided to use existing illustrations of known comic characters, a safer decision, as they are already visually recognisable and the results for creating the other figures would be uncertain and still would have to be tested. It wouldn’t be necessary to create new drawings, as just collecting and using this known images seemed creative and interesting enough.

The hand drawn comic characters also have a relation to sketches and hand drawn notes, normally made on napkins and paper towels on tables, during a talk, between one and other coffee, drink or in the end of a meal.

A research and selection of comic characters drinking, eating or talking on the table was made, with quality to be made as vectors to be resized to the size of the windows. At first we would create the captions, but later it was decided that could be interesting to play creating an interaction with people. So anyone could suggest the captions that would be later displayed.


vitrine_direita_simulacao-01In the end, many tests with the possible illustrations to be used were made, and a bit more time should have been left for the application work. As there were limits in the budget for the production cost and application of the stickers in the glasses, they had to be put outside the windows, what made them unsafe for violations and unwanted graffitis. A different solution must have been thought for the inside application, besides the ones thought previously.




Murder by Numbers


Murder by Numbers is an attempt of creating an editorial piece that drives you through some different information categories involving serial murders, in a way to organize this data. It is a mapping project about Serial killers.

Many interesting ideas were discarded, before investing in this topic. Ideas that tend to be seen as positive ones, are personally preferable. Not just that sending a positive message seems to be the right thing. It also represents to me a bigger challenge in developing them in interesting and unexpected ways, knowing that there is always the risk of the “preaching”, being tacky, repetitive or uninteresting.

What we could call a “negative idea” already has an inner force for pulling attention and interest. Most of the times this topics are interesting by themselves, what may seem easier to work and create with. But of course, are not less interesting.

Serial Killers, although involving at first a negative approach, appeared to be a topic that would call enough attention for its content and carried potential creative possibilities.

For this kind of project it also has to be taken in consideration the amount of information that you can find in relation to an specific theme, in order to choose it as a potential subject. It can’t be a few data, and if it’s too big, you’re supposed to choose part of it to work with. A list of horror film antagonists was a direction discarded. A list of Serial Killers by country was found, but it seemed too big. Focusing on the country with more numbers (USA) would be one possibility. But it was decided then to focus on a list of serial killers by number of victims, as it seemed more interesting in terms of meaning and impression.

Within this direction, still a number of sublists or categories were found and it was again necessary to narrow down to one focus. Serial killers with fewer than 15 proven victims, appeared to be the list with a good amount of data to work with.

Working with infographics and big data normally carries a cold and clean aesthetic. The goal is to be straight to the point and as clear as possible, taking into account the amount of information. Here the topic of murderers, and because of it’s nature, turned into a possibility of creating a different aesthetic for this type of project.

The desire was to create an atmosphere (a narrative?) for the reader based on the subject, as he is introduced and led by the developing topic, anticipating what might come next. In this way increasing the potential interest and giving emphasis to the the mystery of the content. An editorial project seemed an interesting solution in this context.

The attempt was to create with found images almost what would be an introduction to a film. As you flip the pages, the images approach the crime scene, introducing the environment, going from top to a closer view.


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The first graph that is showed, as part of this introduction, already envolves the main focus chosen to work with the data that was found. Using the bars as well as the numbers came as a way of giving visual emphasis for exaggerated differences in the number of killings. There was not much preoccupation on a perfect readability here, rather than to show a general view of this specific topic and one or other singularity.

Some interesting and contextual data was found along the research and even not dealing with the main objective given to the project it appeared to be a good strategy to use them as a way of introducing and creating attention to the topic. In fact, they are not completely accurate, their statistical significance and data relevance are questionable, and later on, observations were made in terms of clarifying their veracity. This characteristic appeared to contribute to a desired mystery and puts in question also the other data (that at first is believed to be more truthfull), what gives a curious point of view to the project.

Another decision was not to use violent or victim pictures. Focusing on the crime scenes seemed to be more clever, adding to the meaning of search, analises and discovery. As the images were found on the internet, I had to come with a solution for resizing, in a way to use them in the print project. Photocopying in a large resolution, also gave them an arquive or file quality, besides the normal register nature that a picture has. The rough quality also added to the approach and in this way the strength of the image is a bit lost as being a loyal portrait of reality.

The editorial was structured in a way that the images have relations between themselves, introducing visually, what will come next. Either in a sutil way, like the repetition of a form, or by having objects in a close position in the page, as well as by working with a close meaning, but in a different way.

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Here, the fingerprint graph page follows the image of the police man analysing evidence from a crime scene, possibly searching for human traces. Playing with the fingerprint form as what would be a graph for the list of Serial killers by Name (with between 14 and 5 proven victims) seemed to fit right here, as the data is organized through the identity of the killers. Slightly opacity changes were made to differentiate the diference in the number of victims.

The page also introduces the readers to what will be the main sections of the project, following similar graphic visual solutions. The main list (Serial killers with fewer than 15 proven victims) is organised during the project following different categories: name, country, years active, proven and possible victims. The graphs were created mixing the data of two categories in each time.

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The images in this project were used as a way to contextualise the data information, as they all portray, (as some form of example) the kind of murder in question. The fingerprint section is here followed by the proven murders (Number of proven victims of serial killers with between 14 and 10 proven victims, by country) and the image is from a crime scene where the murder was identified.

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In this section a time line is drawn and the bars are used in a different way. There was an attempt of using mainly bars and lines for the graphs as a visual relation to the “uncrossing police line” used in the crime scenes and in our imaginary. The black tapes also refer to the lines, but also deals with the roughness of the subject, and the file and registre nature, desired in the images.

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The bar used in vertical and in repetition also relates to the figure of bodies. In here, the next section is predicted as it also deals with unproven victims, but then organised by name. To play with the target form seemed appropriate as dealing with an attemptive of having a bit more of certainty in the information showed.

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Maybe another image could be chosen for here, as the one in question shows a crime scene (and it’s good in that sense) but not exactly for a serial killer…

The next page repeats the use of centred images, as in the main graph sections through the project, but anticipates a conclusion, making a reference to the introduction, using an image from the same group. Notes are made here, reconsidering the introduction data, that is not completely accurate, but still plays an interesting role.

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And to conclude, a final picture of Albert Fish’s crime scene. All the images used in the introduction and in this final part are from this same situation. It seems like a good image to conclude, resuming the energy and mystery of these sites in question. It can be also a good metaphor for the project itself, the construction of meaning that we play in these situations, that can be seen in some weird way as cold and even objective situations.

As an attempt, this final object didn’t reach my expectations, but for further possibilities of corrections and tests it seems valuable. It may have achieved some good points in some parts and as a hole editorial project there might have been interesting developments in narrative.

Some graphs still had to be further developed to cover the hole list of serial killers chosen. Using hand made marks, notes, maybe for the bar graphs (lines crossed) seems like a nice addition, possibly making it more readable and adding meaning. A question that emerged envolves the choice made for the list to be worked on. Even if it was a smaller list, a different focus (such as Serial killers with the highest known victim count) could be more impactful, as mixing and developing graphics from different subcategories (like it was done here) could generate a sufficient amount of data and visual information.

Anyway, it is curious to notice how you can easily manipulate the data, in order to prove or give enphaisis to a point (maybe showing just part of it), even if that is not completely truth, nor the “most truthful” data or approach, leading to possible wrong conclusions.

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Door Ways


The word “Door” seemed simple enough, and at the same time complex, in my opinion, to be the theme for this project. A door can mean a passage, a transformation, and a key for an illusion, or what a place can represent.

Ways of Seeing and Telling: Form + Content. The same theme, 3 different perspectives. In this project, the forms chosen should represent different ways of constructing meaning or narratives. After researching I decided to work the subject through the view of it´s usage, the way it works and what it could mean as language.


Door Styles is a collection of 12 different types of doors, based on their design, history and specific purpose. The first idea was to make an animation video about the history of doors, but as it was getting too long, a different focus was given to this first perspective. The book format, almost as a manual and simulating the proportion of a door, seemed to be a good solution.



The white and blue colors are a reference to blueprint illustrations, used on the production of objects, showing them in different views and their measurements. Besides the general movement of doors, which is similar as browsing the pages of the book, in some cases the other specific movement of the door type is also simulated.







Some different paper and grams were tested, variations in layout and in the number of pages. Although the most simple solution for binding seemed to be the best, as it was close to the way door hinges function, possibilities were open for future tests with different types of binding.

Door Mechanisms defines 4 categories of doors according to their movement, and the way they work. Instead of looking at where it could take you or what it could represent, here we look at how it works, or what the movement can mean.


The desire to use these already existing instruction graphics led me to this concept, and the unfolding poster format came as a solution from it. An attempt of having the concept in the form. As the piece is unfolded, the movements are shown as an introduction, leading to the content inside, which explains in more detail how the mechanisms function.









Some other tests were made with different types of paper, colours and typography solutions, resulting in interesting alternatives and possibilities. Here, the typography follows the movement of the different types of doors and the paper relates to the metal color of mechanisms and blueprint illustrations, rather than the color that a common manual could have.





Maybe some more development should be invested in this part of the project, in terms of what it could mean, or what kind of metaphor could it be transformed into.

Door Stories is a collection of pieces of narratives that deals with doors in a literal or in another meaningful way. Here, the door could come appear just as a word in a passage or with a bigger meaning in the story.


The best format would be something close to a book, or a zine, as it is a collection of stories. Also, a romantic look seemed appropriate, following the ludic and mysterious characteristics of this part of the project.


This approach was also pursued in the choice and development of the illustrations, although in a minimal, but hopefully in a meaningful way. Simple collages were made in almost all the cases, using existing drawings with similar style.









Once more the project brought good possibilities for future attempts and improvements. The list of tales could be grown, as well as the illustrations could be developed in different ways. The movement of pages could be explored in relation to the passages, as well as sequence design attempts could be done. Illustrations and text blocs should be adjusted slightly upper, as centred they seem to be a bit downer on the page: the eye center, instead of the page center.

The gates on the cover and back seemed a good metaphor for entering a fictional world, what sometimes literature and poetry can be.


*Best Wishes*


The poster ahead is part of “Best Wishes”, a collection of christmas and happy new year´s postcards made almost only with variations of the money symbol. A recreation and a pastiche of a letterpress german poster of around 1913. It can be seen as a critic to the commercial forces that sometimes hides the real values of christmas, or a sincere wish for what many people would like to receive as a gift. It was presented and units were sold at ESAD MA´s event Pop Up Shop.


Many visual ideas were discussed and discarded until reaching this results. One of the main final objetives was to make a comment on the religious and moral values. The work of Jonathan Barnbrook was a reference for the subject that was being developed and the type of visual solution that was trying to be created. As usual, the work left space for other possible visual testings and possibilities, such as creating other christmas recurrent forms and shapes with the money symbol, and not just focusing on the ornaments.

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Four different models of postals were created. As well as the envelopes, the prints were made in golden and silver paper, besides some white paper units. As well as being colors used on christmas decoration, they also represent money values.

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Also, a model of wrapping paper was created using a variation of the pattern. The use of the form and the color emphasizes and gives new directions for the meaning that was used before. Silkscreen would be maybe the best solution in this case, and possibilities were open for future tests.


Ceci n’est pas une Design Reader

Ceci n’est pas une Design Reader discusses different categories of surreal  illustration. Its use as editorial illustration, as a concept for ads in advertisment, as a style of illustration for posters. Also seeks to define and contextualize the style historically, since the works and relationships between word and image of Magritte, till today.

The work involves texts of Illustration, A Visual History by Steven Heller and Saymour Chwast, Graphic Design History, also by Steven Heller and Georgette Balance, A Dictionary of Surrealism and the Graphic Image – Design Observer, by Rick Poynor, Les et Les Images motifs – La Révolution Surréaliste numbero 12 by René Magritte, Posters – a Concise History by John Barnicoat and Illustration, The Theoretical and Contextual Perspective by Alan Male.

Almost all the images used can be found here: http://pt.pinterest.com/jpdias/surrealist-illustration/








Peter Greenaway, A Walk Through H. The Reincarnation of an Ornithologist, 1978


Although it’s been some time we saw “The Gleaners and I”(“Les glaneurs et la glaneuse”) from Agnès Varda, I wanted to make a comment about it with another film that I really enjoy: “A Walk Through H. The Reincarnation of an Ornithologist” by Peter Greenaway. I believe that the behavior of collecting is an universal characteristic (in different levels) and an intensive part of a designer behavior, and in this short film, the director constructs a hole narrative, involving in some way, this subject.


This similar construction repeates itself in other works, such as “Intervals”, and “Windows”.

Also, because I really enjoy the french Nouvelle Vague’s aesthetic (wich Agnès was part of) I’d like to quote this cool short film: “Beyound Mountains, Short Mountains”