celso longo and daniel trench interview celso longo and daniel trench interview
dec 20, 2013

celso longo and daniel trench interview

celso longo and daniel trench interview
left: celso longo, right: daniel trench


we spoke to brazilian design duo celso longo and daniel trench.


DB: please could you tell us briefly about the evolution of your work?


CL: while I was studying architecture, I took part in a graphic design discussion group which never culminated in any actual project. it was there that I met daniel. we became fast friends and started working together. since then we have been teaming up in an ‘open relationship’ kind of way. today we share a studio with  three assistants and an intern. our agreement is to always do the coolest and larger projects together. our focus is on cultural projects and nowadays we do most of our projects together.


DT: I took a degree in visual arts so I didn’t have a formal training in design. it was crucial for me to have acquainted myself and become close to people who had such training. at the same time, my background in art helped me understand that, in any artwork, everything matters, everything is meaningful. hence my interest in the world of culture. it was a small leap from there to focusing on culture in my line of work.



‘mais de mil brinquedos para a criança brasileira’ SESC pompeia, 2013 – a multicolored isometric typeface silk-screened over cardboard creates the visual identity for this exhibition that presents more than six thousand toys.







DB: how would you describe your work to someone who hasn’t seen it before?


DT: we don’t have a strict work style. but we do have is a certain work-process that tends to repeat itself in our projects. we talk a lot about the project we are working on, which means that we usually start by giving form to an idea. when we tackle the design itself, we already know where we are heading.


CL: I believe our work is very sharp. I like to think that each project has a core issue that needs to be handled and resolved. the challenge is to find the best solution without beating around the bush, going heads on.




18th SESC brazilian film festival, 2013 – ‘space’ was the key element in the concept of this visual identity. it was applied at the ‘southern panoramas’ and also to the retrospective exhibition that celebrates videobrasil’s 30 years. the brand, catalogs and the massive video insatalation art-direction, all them carry this sharp identity, based on a strong typography and in a very close relationship with the architecture of SESC pompeia, a cultural center in são paulo.











DB: how do you share your workload between studio members?


CL: I feel that I’m more familiar with visual identity and design applied to spaces while daniel is better acquainted with editorial design. therefore we amass our strengths and conceptualize and direct our projects almost always side-by-side. from this initial stage we share the project with our assistants. 


DT: among the people who work with us, there are those who identify more with one kind of project or another. whenever possible, we respect this and try to allow our assistants to follow their interests.



circuítos cruzados MAM SP, 2013 – visual identity and catalog for the contemporary art exhibition promoting the crossing of classical video artworks from the pompidou collection and the são paulo museum of modern art.





DB: what is the attraction of designing brand identities for you?


DT: I believe that in any project where designing a visual identity is concerned, there is always a process of gradual understanding, both by the client and by the designer, of what is at stake, where we want to go. I always find this sort of discussion interesting and stimulating. 


CL: I am drawn to the challenge of reaching a visual synthesis and building a system or language specific to a given project.



‘brasil, país homenageado na feira de frankfurt’, national library and minister of culture, 2013 – visual identity for the brazilian presentation as guests of at the frankfurt book fair: translated the plurality of voices on a kaleidoscopic image.








DB: what would your ideal client or project be?


CL: the ideal client is one who is open to dialoguing with us; the ideal project is one which challenges me by removing me from my comfort zone.


DT: I agree. apart from the openness to dialogue, the ideal client is one who is willing to take a leap of faith with is into the unknown, take risks. the ideal project is the one that results from this leap of faith.



‘jorge amado e universal’ at the museum of portuguese language, bahia museum of modern art, 2012 – exhibition about writer jorge amado, the famous brazilian author who evokes the people and sensuality of north eastern brazilian culture. the colorful typographical treatment alludes to that vernacular and festive universe.









DB: what mistakes or ‘traps’ should a young designer avoid when working on an identity system?


CL: the idea of a system brings with it the idea of complexity. I believe it is both important and vital to accept and be open to exceptions and not to succumb to the temptation of strictly following a logic that might become a constraint, a straightjacket.


DT: laziness.



coleção cidades visíveis, 2008 – book covers



DB:  what are your thoughts on specialization vs generalization?


DT: I believe a designer must be someone suffused with curiosity. within the diversity of projects and subject matter we work with, everything should interest and stimulate us. therefore we are specialists on everything…or nothing.


CL: my training is totally generalist and I like that. I find extreme specialization rather dull, deprived of the beauty of the prismatic and larger picture. aside from that, the work of the designer, in my view, demands a constant inter-semiotic exercise. the inherent complexity of the projects designers work on all reacquires, of necessity, this multiple and global approach. one final point: a designer recurrently acts as an articulator, binding together text, image, medium etc. in this sense, it is easy to perceive the important of a generalist approach.



serrote instituto moreira salles, 2013 – quarterly magazine on literature and art essays. the blend of text, typography, and image editing plays a central role in the project. serrote is the main publication of its sort in brazil.







DB: how do you think online design resources have influenced the design being produced today?


CL: I think online resources and social networks have transformed culture as a whole. design is just following the trend.


DT: it is harder today to put a finger on the specifics and particularities of a regional or local school or trend of design. with the velocity and ease with which things circulate, everything becomes contaminated.



retorno da coleção tamagni, 2012 at são paulo museum of modern art – exhibition catalog



DB: do you have any superstitious beliefs?


CL: thankfully not.


DT: I do two somersaults before starting a new project.



DB: what’s the last thing that made you say ‘wow’?


CL: the retrospective exhibitions of irma boom and philippe apeloig, that I saw in paris.


DT: rio de janeiro.




    sparola says:

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