How telling my life-story tells so much about my inner-self.
From Paris to my Education.
30 years ago, a child was born in Paris. And from an early age, he had particular tastes related to art. For this story, that child was me. My parents (not French from origin), were part of that group of people who emigrated to work hard in a country that promoted better conditions for them. Therefore, my education started in France. But my intrinsic refuge was nod in the arts and in the French culture. And more and more the French culture was absorbing multiculturalism - which ended up by creased my person without me realizing that this would be happening.
If you have ever visited Paris, you probably felt some of the values that built me up. The Freedom and Tthe Arts. And probably you felt that love for the arts from parisians, either in their architecture, in the decors, in the way people dress and even live!
One of the things that I remember the most was my Wednesdays, going to school… but not for classes. I was very young at the time, and me and my colleagues used to go to some cultural places like Museums. Looking back, I believe that France tried to integrate and envolve many people coming from abroad and mostly the young kids born there. Fact is, soon we had to have a look and respect for the arts, and many times to take our own interpretations from what we were analysing. Most of the time, without even fully realizing at what we were looking at. Imagine going to the Pompidou, siting on the floor of one room, staring at some amazing abstract pieces of art, and try to recreate or representing it into a piece of paper. This still happens today (as least I saw it when I went back there in 2015)! It’s obvious that we shouldn’t assume that this strategy doesn’t pretend to create a unique path for the future of children; not everyone would follow the arts when they get older, but I did.
Back to Portugal, I always keep my passion for the arts. And the vocational psychological test I did before sixteen, confirmed everything:1st my passion for Arts. 2nd a passion for Psychology.Discovering myself. Writing. And Design. -
I never thought to follow Design. Honestly, I guess I didn’t even know what it was. But as I was exploring music production at 16 - all by myself - I also started to make some logos and illustrations in Freehand to one or another client. You might have heard about Freehand, but if not, this was a software where you could make things like (vectorial) drawings in the computer. Nowadays, most of us deal with Illustrator from Adobe. But it was at this stage that I realised that I was involved with Graphic Design, as I was for the Arts.
Writing was also a passion. It’s curious because I never thought about writing. In 2010 I was a fan of the magazine Computer Arts (Portugal), and when the crisis came, the magazine started to have problems so I decided to step in, take an initiative, and write digital content for them. I didn’t want to see the collapse of such great magazine, which… rapidly came to happen. Twitter and Blogger were also platforms that I was already using at the time, evoking without realising my passion for writing and expressing myself on the internet (I guess I still do this nowadays?).Universities and my studio. -
At the university I had great moments, and I guess like you and most of us, right?! But instead of talking about all of them, let me highlight a few. I would say to you that the first one was at the end of the 1st year (3rd semester), when I had the chance to be the first student in the history of ESAD Matosinhos (School of Arts and Design) to be able to apply for Erasmus so soon. Plus, I had the chance to see my school creating a protocol with the LUCA School of Arts in Ghent, Belgium, so I could apply for that university. Luckily or not I wasn’t accepted to the course I should have taken (Graphic Design). But anyways, I had the chance to get into the course of Digital Design and so I was 1 in only 7 foreign students to get into LUCA. There I started Digital Design, where I’ve learned some basics on After Effects, Premiere, and others. Something that I wouldn’t have the chance to learn at my course (Communication Design) in Portugal. And again, if you are wondering why I moved to Belgium… well... it was something that I want so much and I guess without knowing exactly why (go with the flow). This particular moment changed my mind and I got bit by the love of different cultures (at the time, without fully realising this). The confirmation surges just some years after, and you will see it in a moment. Already in Porto for the 3rd year, a director of a ONGD came to our school to ask to all finalists an identity project/rebranding. And short story, between 120 students got involved, and I had the chance to see my project as the selected one! At the time I also met one of my best friends today who, without knowing me, suggested opening a studio in a large multidisciplinary design collective based in Porto. I accepted, and I would hardly know that I would be escaping some classes, in love with the real life of design and with analog printing systems (such as silkscreen printing and typography).A lot has happened intensely.
In 2014 I finished the course, and only having the opportunity to apply for the 2nd phase of the master's degree in Graphic Design and Editorial Projects at FBAUP, I decided to try and apply. To my surprise, and I confess that without great confidence, I ended up being one of the 5 students selected from more than 70 candidates (including international). Fortunately or unfortunately, it was time for me and my colleague to decide to leave the collective and open a studio right in the center of Porto where we would receive the first interns who would come from France.Leadership. Entry into politics and collapse.
Setemper 2015. I was taking a master's degree and I had a studio to manage. But I was also called to participate in some activities of a young political party in Portugal. A few months later, also to my surprise, I was integrated as Vice-President, a position that I would assume for a year. I had weekly meetings at night for politics and busy weekends (several times at rallies and meetings from north to south of the country). I also spent nights in my studio, mornings mostly in master's degrees (adjacent to an obvious inability to respond to all classes). I had interns and clients to manag and deal with. Time after my co-partner' is being forced (by circunstances of his life) to walk away from our project. As you can calculate, all of this led to my absolute wear and the collapse of everything. The inevitable would come to pass: I decided to suspend the master's degree indefinitely, not reconsider any second term in politics that that could have arisen (or not), close the studio after the last intern left and accept a proposal to work as an in-house designer in Belgium. My objective was a focus now: to be free and just be focused on learning from different cultures.From Belgium, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Switzerland, and without ending.
After finishing the projects that I had to carry out in Belgium, I decided to move abroad. I confess that the 2nd agency I tried was Landor in Singapore, which I would have an appointment for an online interview. but the email got off my radar, and when I saw it.. it was too late (I was already employed at BRND WGN, in Malta. The good thing: I had the opportunity to enter the largest Branding agency in Malta where my love for brands would emerge. Time ran out, and took me to Warsaw to one of Poland's biggest creative studios, and for my surprise, for a short time. After one season, I return to Porto with a girlfriend - someone who decided to make 4 hours to visit me with a trip plan on hands. Months after, and for many times, I thought my life would change for the better and for the worst. Why for the worst? Because in Porto I couldn't find my pace, nor my space, and I felt that I was going against my principles and my mission. But today I realize that everything had a purpose (as I believe, everything in life. Life isn't easy to control, neither a straight line, since not everything that happens depends fully and only on you.
The relationship was not okay for me, and that's fine. Rapidly I had the opportunity to go to Switzerland and I must confess that I was both excited and sad. But, going with the flow brings great experiences. I would hardly know that I would be so involved with the country and with the company. Switzerland ended up being the place where I found the best people, where I had the greatest support (inside and outside the company), where I was able to be truly responsible for big brands. Time dictates stories, and this one from Switzerland I dedicate it especially here, in this article (read more
).Covid. The reflection.
Portugal, again. (At this stage, if you want to find out more about my return, check the link above about Switzerland.)
Back to the base where, I confess, I didn't want to be. A virus paralyzes companies and leaves others on standby, paralyzes flights, and dramatically injures health and worldwide economy. It also hurts the things I value the most (give me a time to breathe
I must confess that nothing was by chance. One day I intended to return and open my space, my project, with all the lessons I learned. The pandemic forced me to try to anticipate the project that I would have for later, it makes me look for clients (or try, worst time right?!). More than anything, it forces me (or tries to force me), arrest me (or try to arrest me).
Time dictated new things to me that one day I will address here.
Deep down, I believe that not everything is bad. I am sure that the pandemic brought reflection to all of us. It allowed us to analyze where we are and redefine goals. What policies we might tolerate and those we don't. Where do we feel good, where do we feel bad. Where do we belong or not. And if our feelings were right or wrong; some of mine had confirm me the worst, but that's good; better now than never.
Sars-Covid19 also leveraged the means and our interactions with the digital (for good and bad). Possibly anticipated scenarios. And I hope that it allowed all of us to take time and deepen our knowledge with materials, courses, new readings, new projects.The past is the future.
The past shows evidence. I like to be involved in companies and with companies. And for the agencies where I went, there are responsibilities that I obtained almost directly. I highlight two of them:
- In a very natural way, I always tried to be responsible (and always - pleasantly well assumed) for the well-being of the interns (I discovered their value when my studio in Portugal hosted some! Then in Malta, Poland, Switzerland). I always saw the interns as creative volcanos that has yet to burst out with fresh ideas. I always valued those young creatives (I sound old now, and I'm just 30 (at the present year, 2020)). I think they cannot be seen as a minor element in a company! That's why I always found appropriate to connect with them, and to give my attention through out the day. A lot can be done by getting interns more involved in projects. They are not furniture to be stagnant or not properly observed or not well monitored throughout the day (which is sometimes normal, given the workload in agencies). I saw that those who have a first experience, or start a new experience, often need to improve their morale, see their enthusiasm defended and boosted, as well as their dreams!
- Over time, I was also given great brands and customer contact so that I took on more responsability. Because, let's be honest, but being locked in front of a computer, all day with one or two screens is... well, okay, at least for me, staring at one or two screens, in silence, just making pretty visuals "just because it's cool" and last-minute forced bs concepts
... simply doesn't work for me. (erg!
). Neither to make things without being curious enough to understand how our work affects the audience, consumers and why people make the decisions that they do. But I understand that several designers might prefer to be quiet and work like a machine, believe only on their intuition instead of good and factual data (with professionalism, we reach the right sources). It seems to me that most designers have wanted a “seat at the table.”. I myself prefer to know about the project, the client's company and its ecosystem. I like to focus on agency environment (happiness in place, interns, team concerns, etc). And again, to have always a third eye focusing on the public and economical behaviours. That's the type of seed I sowed in the past. And, in a way, what defines me as a graphic designer. Those characteristics move me. The recent past has taught me something that simply lived inside of me, and that today is clear when dealing with brands... there is no initiation of a good project without a briefing, without storytelling, without strategy, without foundation.- The future is brands.
I intend to continue working with big brands. And big brands are those that have mechanisms and essentially the courage to make a management that allows them to assume themselves as such: big
I intend to continue to be involved in what deserves involvement and with those who recognize and add value! Those who allow freedom of growth, affirmation, evolution!The future can only be in another way:
I intend to have more responsibility, more involvement, but always in a natural way. The contrary would not make sense.But the future is essentially one way:
The love of brands in a world of brands. I believe we are all brands, and we breathe brands. Brands is the DNA of communication that creates connections, emotions, memories. Brand is a path of freedom, where evolutionary footprints are engraved in the way.
That's how I want to fight. For connections, for good memories, for freedom, for footprints.