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Bráulio Amado - The Designer With Many Faces

Words:

Edd Norval
April 19, 2018

There is a style that can be considered ‘no-style’. It’s something that can be eventually mastered, although naturally, it’s a bumpier road than sticking to one thing. The plus side though is that nothing is out of reach – you can always experiment, change and adapt.

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The pathway for Bráulio Amado to reach the level of design he is at now began fairly standard. The kid at school that isn’t good at sports retreats into himself, dedicating time to a pastime that is less typical at school age. For Bráulio, that was building websites for bands on geocities, a platform that under-25 year olds may struggle to recall. Think a basic Wordpress, but without any of the usability.

Music remained constant. Designing websites was the gateway drug to the scene that took him in, where he was with other kids that were like him. Lisbon’s punk and hardcore scene had lots of bands, lots of live shows and as a result, lots of posters and records that required artwork – cue Bráulio.

At this stage things were a little uncertain, meaning that he was making things that he wasn’t really sure how to make. Yet somehow, it worked. Realising that his gung-ho approach could only get him so far, yet coming to terms with how much he loved it left him with only one option – he decided to try his hand at it properly. It became a job.

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After studying graphic design he made the move to New York. Nothing’s changed – he still loves music and live shows, still pulls influences from cinema and art. The only difference is that now he is one of the most in-demand designer’s, known for his employment of ‘no-style’, or to be more precise, his versatility – the ability to harness the right visuals and feelings for exactly what is desired. The results are some very cool posters and later, editorial work.

Bloomberg Businessweek is a powerhouse. It’s got the content, the layouts, the contacts, the stories and the design. It was a dream job for Bráulio, even when he eventually got it, the magic never wore off. It helped refine his ‘no-style' and he attributes it to having a huge influence on his current work. When we talked to Braulio, he also had this to say, “It was really hard for me at first because editorial was a whole new world for me, and the pace was dramatically different from what I was used to. But I absolutely loved it and I miss it every day.”

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It’s clear how much design means to him – that’s why he doesn’t allow himself to be tapered into one particular way of doing things. He values the form, the process and the clients too much to leave things out of bounds for them, “I try to experiment as much as possible, and the whole point of an experiment is to get to a new place where you have never been before — it's that feeling that makes me want to keep pushing it and continue to mutate whatever I do”. This is apparent in his work, that’s why he’s already released a book that's filled with his stuff – remember he’s only just passed 30 and has already designed a cover for Frank Ocean.

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To talk about his designs would be to talk about the history of design - there’s a little bit of everything there. His work blends analogue and digital processes and ranges from Dadaist repetitive slogans to vibrant candy-hued neon designs that are straight from a 1980s surf catalogue. The most consistent thread is probably the quality of the finish, or depth of concept – there’s a narrative quality that lends to his love of cinema and music. His work has to say something, to make a comment about why it is there for. It always manages to do that, and some.

What does the future hold? He mentioned large-scale installations, another frontier to be explored. He also mentioned something about theme parks, which wouldn’t be entirely unsurprising. Whatever it is, there’s no point trying to guess. His work is many things, but predictable isn’t one of them. Even he admits that he’s often not sure what he’s doing. Whatever it is, the benchmark is high and judging by the rapid trajectory of his work, nothing is out of bounds.

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