Bruno Veloso on Letter, Line, and Levity

This interview is part of our Designers We Love series, crawling inside the heads of wonderful illustrators, photographers, photoshoppers, doodlers, and generally super talented artists that we’ve had the pleasure of working with. These folks make The Book of Everyone beautiful.


Bruno Veloso is all about teeny details woven around big bold lettering, skipping and dancing all over the page. He designed several options for the dedication page in our book (the very first one! and first impressions count!). And he doodled all over our “Haven’t you been busy” page, that tells you how many bull elephants’ worth of food you’ve munched and how many years you’ve spent dreaming.

Since my own writing is one step beyond chicken scratch, I was eager to interview him to find out how he keeps his playful lines so clean.

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Describe your style in three words.

Letter, Line, and Levity.

You call yourself “a graphic designer with the eyes of an illustrator.” Can you talk a little bit more about what you mean?

That quote works in reverse as well. It means that, having worked as a graphic designer first, I will approach illustration jobs with more discipline when it comes to process and execution. And if people laugh when they hear me talking about “discipline,” just ignore them.

What was it like collaborating with The Book of Everyone? What was fun about it, what was challenging?

Fun: they are open to letting you do what you do best. Challenging to craft a a page chock full of information, some of it dynamic, and make it both look good and read well. Also, to make an M that does not look like a N.

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Tell me about this new project you’ve been making spiffy GIFs for.

The campaign is to fight hate speech of any kind on the internet.

In german you say Egal to mean “who cares,” so the campaign pushes the idea of “NichtEgal” – meaning you do care, and you will speak about it to share the idea.

I see a lot of work that has to do with cityscapes in your portfolio (NYC, favelas). How does your work interact with the urban world around it? How does it influence you; how do you influence it?

I grew up one block away from a very busy avenue, no doubt the constant background noise and contamination somehow made it into my blood. I think there’s a mix of people, noise and movement that only happens in big cities, and, while I can appreciate solitude, I can’t see myself building a hut on that idyllic island just yet. And if I influence somehow the people in my building, that’s a lot already.

Who are your influences?

Hardware shops, Italian pasta packaging, and Moebius, who made quite a strong impression on me for the obsessive detail in the drawings.

 

You’re currently working on some German sayings. We loooove life lessons from different countries. Can we get a sneak peek?

Yes indeed. This [below] is my favorite drawing of the series and it translates (roughly) as “Happiness is being useful to others.”
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Question from Jag Nagra, who designed the superhero-ology page in our book: “I’m wanting to incorporate hand-lettering and hand-drawn illustrations into my work. Any tips for getting started? I feel a bit intimated about sharing hand-drawn work online!”

First, thank you Jag. I say: always take a notebook with you and try stuff freely whenever you have a little time. Never a boring train ride again…It’s a great way to build confidence and does not have the weight of it being “real work,” even though a lot of good work ideas do come out of that. And I would also try to scan flat illustrations/type and color and combine them in the computer. That way you can bring the new style into a workflow you are already used to. Get to it!

What’s the coolest place your work has ever been displayed?

On a beer can.

How do you balance commissioned work with the artistic drive to create what you want to see in the world?

Try to make them into the same thing is the goal.

Name somewhere you’ve been that you think more people should know about.

Hamburg, where I live now, is hardly obscure, but does not get the rep it deserves: a fascinating, multi-faceted city with killer nightlife.

If someone loves your work, what other artists should they look into?

Lisa Hanawalt, Olga Capdevila, Niveo, and last but not least Philippe Vuillemin.

 

What’s your favourite YouTube video?

Let’s go there and randomly select somet… no, this compilation [above] is great.

What’s the best thing to combine with anchovies?

Still need to test a watermelon salad.

Besides your own, what’s your favourite page in our book? Got any questions for that artist? (I’ll be passing it on to that person when I interview them!)

I love what Kyle Platt did, and I’d like to know: any great memory of smelling your fingers?


Kyle Platt did a blindingly colorful piece for our launch exhibition – we’ll add in his odiferous answer to Bruno in an upcoming interview.

Big thanks for the interview, Bruno! See more of Bruno’s work on his website and Instagram.

Everyone’s got a story. That’s why we started The Book of Everyone – to help you celebrate the awe-inspiring, utterly marvelous stories of the people you love. So who do you know that deserves a book with their name on the cover?

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