Unveiling the Creative Journey
by Elizabeth Lavis|
27 Jul 2023
Bruno do Nascimento, a.k.a. Mr. DarkSide, is a Portuguese lettering artist with a fierce freelance alter ego that he sometimes refers to as the Dark Knight. “I usually joke around when I say I’m like Bruce Wayne during the day since I work full time as a UX/UI Designer in a software consulting company, and that at night I’m like Batman in which I do other types of work, namely related to custom lettering, branding, and illustration.
Do Nascimento finds a wellspring of inspiration for his night job thanks to Lisbon’s fascinating culture and design scene. “Like most people, I’m influenced by the obvious things like movies, music, and so on, but I’m also privileged because there are many things I find on the street, like the custom typography/lettering of a store that’s over 200 years old, the color palette of a fruit shop in the local market, or a detail on the facade of a castle or monastery,” he says. “The possibilities are countless, even more so when you live in a country like mine with almost 900 years of history.”
His personal history also set himself up for a thriving career in design. “I think I was connected to design from an early age, even if I didn’t realize it,” he says. “By the time I entered high school, I started doing graffiti, and it became almost ten years of graphic obsession. Of course, the first years were mostly visual rubbish, but the following years were learning times, from composition and framing, movement, and scale to color schemes. I put many of these skills into practice today with my designs and my relationship with my clients.”
OFB - The Complex
Do Nascimento’s early stint as a graffiti artist profoundly affected his life and helped hone his eye for custom lettering, illustration, and branding. “I’m a kid from the 80s, and I grew up with all of these amazing cartoons with dynamic lettering full of perspectives and colors,” he says. “ThunderCats, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, and Saber Rider are just a few of them. Graffiti gave me the possibility to do something similar, and I started painting around 14 years old, the age when you’re developing your character and personality. Although I don’t do graffiti anymore, I can see traces of hip-hop culture and that ‘urban’ aspect and boldness in my work today. It’s most likely the reason I continue to draw letters.”
He also thinks that new designers breaking into the industry should start with tangible materials. “I would say don’t skip steps and go through the analog side first,” he says. “In my opinion, we must literally get our hands dirty, making initial sketches on paper, collages, or clay models.” He also advises learning anything and everything about the design world. “Having notions of scale, color, shape, line, texture, typography, contrast, hierarchy, and visual harmony will always make you, without a doubt, a better designer,” he says.
Initial in-person meetings, and ample coffee consumption are two cornerstones of Do Nascimento’s initial design process. “If possible, I like to schedule a face-to-face meeting to get to know the client, their vision for the project, and a bit of their personality,” he says. “Afterwards, I consult with them occasionally to find out if we’re in tune with the direction the project is taking. Finally, I schedule the last meeting to show the result and, if possible, leave room for another collaboration in the future.”
Do Nascimento plans to continue getting his hands dirty with the ‘organic side’ of lettering and looks forward to making murals and exploring mixed-media designs. His work with both the analog and digital side of things certainly makes him one to watch.
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