Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer MarkaBranka ("MarkaBranka") for their original perspective and innovative approach to design as well as their creative lifestyle, we are very pleased to share our interview with our distinguished readers.

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?

MarkaBranka : I'm 31 years old. I've been a Professional Designer for 11. I took a professional Course in Graphic Arts. Later, when I started to work, I took my degree in Graphic Design simultaneously. I won 2 national awards, one in a contest for a poster (FITU - Festival Internacional de Tunas Académicas, Oporto 2009) and another for a newspaper cover (Feiras Francas 2011 - Palácio das Artes, Oporto).

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?

MarkaBranka : What motivates me most is to be able to change the direction of a brand, a political election, a village, the feeling we can create value through our design. Then we have the emotions and feelings that are created in the creative process, while we try to arrive at the “idea”. These emotions, that inherent adrenaline is what makes me be and continue in this area.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?

MarkaBranka : I didn't choose, but I wasn't also forced to do it so. It appeared by chance, in a random choice, which at the time I took without knowing its genesis.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?

MarkaBranka : What we like to create most are Brand Identities, whether for brands or events (major or minor). And also create another kind of identities on which we can build self-worlds, using storytelling. We love it. Associating to a great graphic identity a beautiful storytelling concept and a wonderful illustration is the type of work we most like to do.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?

MarkaBranka : The surprise aspect. We live in times of stupidly large amounts of work. Social networks brought the need to create daily genius. To stand out in this creative jungle, we have to have something original. Framing is also important, as not all ideas are good for all brands, and we cannot fall into the mistake of imitating the success steps of other brands. What works for one brand may not work for another. The big projects are the result of this positive dynamic, where everything seems to fit naturally.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?

MarkaBranka : Like art, the value of great design is defined by the price the customer is willing to pay. We believe that it has to be paid well. After all, it is also a creative area. Companies should invest only in great design. To spend in poor design is to lose more money than to invest a little more in great design. We always tell our clients that if to invest poorly, it is preferable to do nothing.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?

MarkaBranka : We want to continue working on this project, Feira do Alvarinho, turning it into a Comic Strip.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?

MarkaBranka : We have several projects that we haven't had time to complete yet. But there is one that I have had a special interest in for many years. Create a local, satirical newspaper with illustrated political interventions, in the style of Charlie Hebdo.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?

MarkaBranka : The approach to the problem, always thinking about solving problems differently, combining a rich visual culture.

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?

MarkaBranka : Christoph Niemann, The New Yorker covers. I like projects with a high index of iconicity.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?

MarkaBranka : The ideas came up so easily that we found it unbelievable how nobody had explored that side yet. This is synonymous of great design. Furthermore, it is a project that has no end. We can create countless and parallel things.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?

MarkaBranka : Designers are eternal self-taught, eternal students, so I can't see this profession any other way. Study, study and study. Stay informed, read a lot, see many projects, be compulsive investigators.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?

MarkaBranka : I would always be a creative person, whether I was a doctor, plumber, worker, lawyer. Creativity is an adjective that defines a person and not a profession. It has to do with approaching problems, so I would always be a creative person. But I think that if I stop being a designer, I could be an architect, it is the airline that is most enthusiastic, after design.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?

MarkaBranka : In its purest form, for us, design is the combination of words, images and symbols to create communication. We look at design as a creative discipline, not artistic. We have a purpose, a function. Art does not.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?

MarkaBranka : The need to have to be good. I worked to be able to pay for my studies, I didn't have a wealthy background. If I failed, it would be more complicated. We created this project from scratch and with zero. We knew we couldn't fail. The need strengthens us and helps us to stay focused.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?

MarkaBranka : We are working on a super ambitious project, a brand for a municipality, which we think will have a very positive impact. It is a project that breaks with the conventional.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?

MarkaBranka : We want to be a national reference, have access to the best projects and create things that are iconic, that last over time.

DL: How does design help create a better society?

MarkaBranka : Although today design is more associated with brands and territories, it has been and will always be present in people's lives, in everything, every day. I think design is essential on social level. With it, we can change the world, help make better and more sustainable societies, create better products and strong communications.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?

MarkaBranka : The project that gave us the most satisfaction was the one that won this award, the Feira do Alvarinho, because we like to work with projects from our culture and deconstruct them. In this project, we managed to seek universal concepts and adapt them to our values and culture.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?

MarkaBranka : I hope, shortly, we will be required to change our approach, where communication with the truth prevails, creating design and more credible communication, creating sustainable and responsible products. We increasingly think that the meaning is the return to the past, the creation of slower narratives, sustainable hedonism and a slowdown in production, the bet on craftsmanship and the local factor at the expense of the global. That is why it is important to create brands and products that last over time and tell people something, not this ephemerality of everything now.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?

MarkaBranka : We have projects for 6, 12 or 24 months.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

MarkaBranka : KISS - keep it simple and stupid. If an idea doesn't have something crazy, at the beginning, if it doesn't create a discussion, it's not a good idea. And the result has to look so simple, looks like it was easy to do.

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?

MarkaBranka : I think really good designers are the ones who set the trends. Then we have a river of designers who try to follow those trends.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?

MarkaBranka : Technology is just a means of coming up with ideas. We have to take advantage of the new tools because they can improve the execution of new ideas and even open up our spectrum. But only that. I value ideas more.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?

MarkaBranka : Adobe Creative Suite.

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?

MarkaBranka : In the specific case of graphic design, it is with sadness that I see the decay of printed materials. It is one of the things that gives me the most pleasure, motivates me the most. Work on the colour, materials of a graphic product, a book, a flyer, a business card. But in general, colour, materials and the environment have a very significant importance in the design, it is impossible to create an identity without foreseeing these aspects. There are identities that are valid for that very reason, for a material, for a colour.

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?

MarkaBranka : When I see an excellent design, I get jealous. I always think I wish it was me.

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?

MarkaBranka : I already have the ideal partners, the MarkaBranka team. Yes, we prefer to work as a team, without a doubt. We believe in the “genius part”, where we are just social architects who try to create a space where people are willing and able to share and combine their talents and passions.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?

MarkaBranka : I would love to meet and discuss ideas with Stefan Sagmeister. He is a character who looks at design and life in the same and a very positive way.

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?

MarkaBranka : Colour - Black. Place - Portugal. Food- Spaghetti. Season - Summer. Brand - Apple.

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?

MarkaBranka : Although I only decoded it now, yes, some things would make you predict, such as the obsession with having the school's daily notebook always very well organized, be careful with the information hierarchy, different sizes and colours. And also the curiosity to create fonts.



Feira do Alvarinho Advertising Campaign

Feira do Alvarinho Advertising Campaign by MarkaBranka

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