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serafimmendes.com

Duration: Five years.

Location: Porto, Portugal.

Education: BA in graphic design from Escola Superior de Artes e Design’s Politécnico de Leiria, in Caldas da Rainha, Portugal; MA in communication design from Escola Superior de Artes e Design in Matosinhos, Porto, Portugal.

Career path: I was born in 1994 in Guimarães, a town in north Portugal, and lived there until I went to college. When I was around six years old, I started working with Adobe Photoshop on my father’s computer, which was like playing with Microsoft Paint on steroids. After doing many random experiments, I wanted to learn more and looked online for tutorials to create those shiny, glowing effects I liked so much. I was an avid gamer and used Photoshop to design wallpapers and an avatar and signature that I used on gaming forums, which were very common in the 2000s.

At the age of fourteen, I started my formal education in high school, where I enrolled in a multimedia course to learn the basics of creative programs like Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, to name a few. I was lucky to have two teachers who were professional graphic designers; they shed a light on the industry.

When I was seventeen, I moved to Caldas da Rainha in the southern part of the country to pursue a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. I started applying things I’d learned from my multimedia classes to graphic design, mixing them both together. After finishing my bachelor’s, I enrolled in a master’s program in communication design in Porto. At this point, I had been investing most of my free time into learning 3-D illustration on my own. During my second year, I started my thesis project Post-print, in which I created a mobile app to experience AR posters in three dimensions with animation.

Upon graduating, I began to freelance and managed to make it work due to my different skillsets. Nowadays, we have more designers who know 3-D illustration, but when I started back in 2015, it was much less common—especially in Portugal. After participating in 36 Days of Type and having submissions featured on graphic design blogs, I began getting requests from clients.

If the technology is out there and can help you, don’t be afraid to learn and use it!”

Favorite projects: My master’s thesis project, Post-print, due to the innovative AR posters. It also aligns perfectly with the things that interest me: graphic design, typography and 3-D illustration.

Also my work for the 2019 Fórum Internacional de Gaia (FIGaia), a multidisciplinary annual forum held in northern Portugal, created to affirm and project the city of Gaia as a cosmopolitan center for meeting and debating contemporary issues, and hosting events in a festive and inclusive atmosphere. In terms of design, my work for FIGaia 2019 felt like Post-print applied in a “real” context—in the streets for the community to see instead of an exhibition. Because it was a team project, it included more interactive AR experiments as well as editorial design, motion and print. We wanted to provide interactive experiences for users.

This edition of FIGaia was focused on poetry, so we wanted to visually seduce the general population into actually reading the poem verses. We found that presenting poetry in its traditional form would not suffice for users who weren’t into the subject in the first place. Through this digital materialization, we attracted their attention and created meaningful, memorable experiences.

Work environment: When I first started, I worked from home. After two years, I decided to rent a coworking office with friends, but due to the pandemic I am back working from home. I like sharing a space with other creatives, because working alone sometimes makes it hard to judge our own work. It’s ideal for me to get feedback from the people around me when I find it difficult to distance myself from my projects. Sharing an office also makes it easier to collaborate with colleagues, which is something I do often. If I have a project that demands a skill I’m not comfortable with, I hire other people to help me achieve it.

Approach: By combining traditional graphic design with new or upcoming technologies, I achieve creative solutions that stand out.

Aspirations: For the time being, I’m comfortable with working alone, but in a few years, I want to create a small team so that we can take on more projects and provide even more unique solutions for our clients. Ideally by then, I would be able to just accept work from clients, brands and institutions that I truly believe in.

Philosophy: Underpromise and overdeliver. I always try to take projects a step further and never stop learning. If I am too comfortable doing something, it’s time to spice it up and try new things. It helps keep me interested in what I do for a living.

Anything else? If the technology is out there and can help you, don’t be afraid to learn and use it!

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