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Featured Design Studio

Estudio Cru

September 2018

Dubbed as the 'photoshop guy' at his first job, with the original dream of being a tropical Bob Dylan—Estudio Cru Creative Director Bernardo Winitskowski— took a turn when he discovered Sagmeister and his true love of visual expression. Check out the awesome team that makes up Estudio Cru and some golden nuggets of advice Bernardo has to share.

When did you fall in love with design and how did you get started?

Design came into my life by accident. When I was 18 I started working at a small business creating some cheesy power points and design report covers for some suited guys that I did not quite understand what they were doing with that material. I was the photoshop boy. But at that time, it was my first job and I was proud of that. With no proper education at all, I had no idea what design meant and had to study on my own on the confusing and disorganized internet, right after the millennium bug. A special thanks for all the tutorial guys. I was doing what had to be done. The professional designers I met, during this first period of my professional life, worked in filthy old printer houses where the word "art" was synonymous to "file". Disappointed with that scenario, I did not seek out a formal degree, I believed my life in graphic design would be temporary, for sure it was an accident. My real passion at that time was my guitar and during those years I dreamed that I could turn myself into a kind of tropical Bob Dylan or a neo Caetano Veloso. 

The day I opened the right door was when I heard the name of Stefan Sagmeister for the first time. My mind was blown! I fell completely in love with that distinguished Austrian lord and discovered design as a new form of visual expression. Everything I did so far or what I used to call design, at the time, melted. Ok, I was not a designer... but I had what it takes to become one. That day I understood all the potential in my hands, at the same time I understood how fundamental it is to have successful examples to guide us. Stefan, Bob or Caetano, all made me who I am. For me, falling in love with design was like a reboot, I had to re-shape my work and my life, and looked everywhere else to understand where I was standing.

Who are your top five design crushes right now?

Zach Lieberman—To me, this guy is some kind of creative mad scientist. His code experiments lead to beautiful visual results and very interesting applications. He’s also one of the developers of the amazing Open Frameworks, and founder of the innovative School for Poetic Computation. Simply genius.

Dia Studio—DIA is my first name when I look for a reference to ESTUDIO CRU. They have understand where design is headed for the next few years and anticipate trends in motion graphics, creative coding and identity systems.  If there is a yellow brick road of design, these guys are in it.

Eike König—This is a special mention for the great work of Eike as a creative director of HORT, but also for his work as a visual artist. Always awesome, simple and original.

Yasaburo Kuwayama—If you are a graphic designer and have never heard about this guy, you’re already out of time, babe. Author of great classics such as Trademarks & Symbols of the World, this great designer and researcher will always be at my references list. 

Aranha—She was ESTUDIO CRU’s first intern and participated in the whole concept at the studio's foundation. Multitalented, Aranha develops an incredibly beautiful work with art direction and fashion. Her sharp look cuts the obvious and presents us a very particular idea of future.

What do you look for in a great portfolio?

I receive lots of emails from young designers looking for a job opportunity, and I have this awkward feeling that most of them do not know exactly what they're doing. The average young designer compiles some random images with a confused letter and simply send it. No purpose, their intention is to get a job. Nobody’s looking for someone who just wants to work for him. You need more than that to claim your attention, these days. The obvious [which is not so obvious at all] about building a portfolio is that people will hire you to do what you offer. If your portfolio is full of business cards of your family and posters of the school events, you have not understood anything about being a good graphic designer.

The typical portfolio that catches me is the one that is simple in its form and bold in its content, is aligned with trends and doesn’t expect the perfect client to carry out a good project and the designer that also prefers to present a great authoral project than a lot of mediocre commissioned projects. A great portfolio is not a compilation of everything you've done in life, it's an expression of your professional moment.

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A great portfolio is not a compilation of everything you've done in life, it's an expression of your professional moment.

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Who’s on the team, what are their roles and why do you love them?

Composing a committed and motivated team is my main purpose at ESTUDIO CRU. I believe that creating a sense of community and support is essential so that the work does not end with deliverables. I am very lucky to have people with me who share the same beliefs, people who inspire and motivate me daily.

Maria Alice Leal—Partner-director and studio manager, all business decisions go through her bold and sharp eyes. Without her, I would never feel ready to start this dream. With her warm and loving manner, she gathers everyone around the same table. Vegan, Baby Dami and exotic choreography.

Gérome Ibri—Partner-director and project manager, Gérome has the wisdom to calm down the studio's moods when things heat up and manages to lead the team through challenges always on a planned and safe path. Meditation, [my taste for] good music and mashed potatoes.

Pedro Rivera—Designer by formation and programmer by passion, Pedro builds the perfect bridge between design and code. With a sagacious curiosity, Pedro is the guy who brings the technological news to the studio. Exotic plants, distorted guitars and an evasive answer.

Katherine De Franco—Graphic designer, Kath has an incredible mindset of organization and planning, which makes the work much more fluid and natural. Feminism, Asana and many name possibilities.

Carolina de Ferran—Graphic designer, Carol graduated a couple of weeks ago but has a serious air, rare for her age, which reflects in her work. Fashion mood, deep look and delivery man pants.

Geane Nunes—Administrator, she organises the house and the money. Her work does not appear in the portfolio but is essential for the existence and the balance of the studio. Vegan cake, Coca-cola and Paзoquita.

Ton Zaranza—Graphic design intern, Ton surprises us every day revealing to be a multiple visual artist capable of acting on the edges of design with great finishing. Prints, Aracati and a naked person at UFRJ.

What advice would you give students starting out?

Don’t be lazy, wake up early, work until its done, let yourself go wrong, try again, visit your city's best design studios, send an email to anyone you admire, make your best shot, do great projects without getting a penny for it, prepare a portfolio with something that you truly believe in, don’t be like everybody else, do not waste time on an internship that does not make you great, smile whenever it's possible, read a lot, be bold, take a chance, you only live once.

2018 for you in a sentence.

No one ever got anywhere without leaving some shit behind.

Website: estudiocru.com

Instagram: @estudiocru

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