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Featured Design Studio

ps.2 design

September 2018

Both stemming from an education based on the principles of Bauhaus, we can see where Fábio Prata and Flávia Nalon — Partners of ps.2 design — have gained influence from the architectural process. Loving what Fábio and Flávia have to share especially their view on where they think design is heading—go and check it out!

Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs?

Me and Flavia have both studied architecture a FAU-USP, University of Architecture from São Paulo. It is a course built up on the principles of Bauhaus, where you have to go through other disciplines than architecture like Industrial Design, Urban Planing and Visual Communication. We both ended up following the path of graphic arts but our visual thinking is very much shaped by the architectural process — the planing, the systematisation, the functionality and the usability, the interaction of what we create with the user.

Our first job was to produce the visual material for FILE — Electronic Language International Festival, a digital art exhibition. At the time I was part of a small philosophy study group, like 4 or 5 persons, who would gather every week at the house of Ricardo Barreto, the teacher. When he came up with the idea of the exhibition all the group got involved. We worked for this festival for about 5 years in a row, doing visual identities, catalogues and space graphics. It was not well paid, but it was a great push at the beginning of the studio for us to get quality reputation.

What are your three must-read design books/blogs/podcasts and why?

— Book 1: The Elements of Typographic Style, Robert Bringhurst. Friendly written, it gives a clear understanding on the principles that guides the use of type as text.

— Book 2: Grid Systems, Josef Müller Brockmann. The fundamentals that rules a page layout – the relations between text, image and space.

— Website: AGI – Alliance Graphique Internationale. The greatest graphic designers of all times, gathered in a single place. What else you need?

What do you look for in a great portfolio?

Strong ideas, objectively approached and clearly communicated. Work that speaks for itself, that needs no subtitles. We do also pay special attention to the designers editorial work, because it reveals to us his/her knowledge on the basics of graphic design – type, grid, rhythm. Another aspect we consider, is the candidates ability to create visual identity systems, that means, to create a group of visual assets that successfully organizes and give visual consistency to a client’s product or company communication.


In a world of continuous digitalisation and automatisation it is good to be involved in creative, subjective activity. We designers give things a soul, not the computers or the big data reports.


What qualities and skills to you look for in a graduate?

When we are hiring we ask the candidates to name three things: one typeface, one designer and one music. That is a way for us to hear a little from the person, to get a glimpse into their personality. In the dynamic of a small studio like ours, it is very important that the designer shows initiative and disposition to collaborate with other team members. A person that is passive and constantly needs to be told what to do is very different from one that is proactive, that is aware of the studio projects and tries to help things to move on.

Where do you think design is heading in the next five years and how will you adapt?

In a world of continuous digitalisation and automatisation it is good to be involved in creative, subjective activity. We designers give things a soul, not the computers or the big data reports. But there is a change going on that I fell will expand even further in the future. It is about the traditional relation between designers and clients, where the designer passively waits for a clients “problem” to arrive and then starts his work. I have seen more and more designers proposing their own briefs, creating their own agendas and projects. The designer needs then to act as a project manager and deal with time, resource and money allocation.

What advice would you give students starting out?

Someone in the early years of practice will strongly define their future development. If you start doing crap work there is a great chance that you will continue to do that along your career. I would deeply recommend that a young designer focus on getting good work done at the beginning. It does not need to be for famous clients. It could be to your neighbour cake store, the local coral, the church newspaper or simply it could be experimental work, where you set your own briefing.


Instagram: @ps2design

Foto anexa, from the designer Ahn Sang Soo


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