Friday Fives: Vitor Bastos

September 22, 2023

We're bringing back our Friday Fives series, where we give #highfives to a different designer from our extended family of PNCA students, faculty, alumni, and guest lecturers. 🙌🏾🙌🏻🙌🏽 This week, we're featuring Vitor Bastos, who is visiting us on September 26 to kick off our Fall 2023 Design Lecture Series! Register to watch the livestream of the talk, or better yet, join us in person in the PNCA Mediatheque at 6:30pm.

Vitor Bastos is a Creative Strategist and Multidisciplinary Designer focused on defining true identities, designing solutions and connecting people. As a proud immigrant with a long nomadic life, he’s contributed to truly connecting with local cultures and creating empathic designs. While Vitor started in fashion, and has done an extensive amount of work in sportswear, fashion, and social impact, exploring new challenges and systems is where he feels most comfortable. He’s worked with brands and nonprofits of all sizes and performed in the most varied fields: from fashion and design with adidas in Latin America and the US, to exhibition design and museum work in Barcelona. Recently, Vitor has been working in positive impact design and re-thinking Design Thinking.

Graphic Design department head Kristin Rogers Brown spoke with Vitor in September, 2023.

Q: What or who inspires you?

A: Pretty much anything. But if I had to pick one thing, I’d say learning inspires me the most. The best feeling I get with a new project is when I have to navigate something totally new to me and discover details and characteristics that I would never have come across any other way.

Q: What feels vital to the future of design, to you?

A: It’s time we take up some space! Design has been reduced to shape and aesthetic and I am here (well, here, at the lecture series) to argue that it’s not ‘cute’ and ‘cool’ that makes up design, but rather design itself has a power on its own.

Switching between fields has been a big part of my personal strategy over the years to continue to love what I do.

Vitor Bastos

Q: How do you balance staying true to yourself, especially in projects with a global company?

A: Working at a big corporation (or a tough client for that matter) can be hard. And sometimes the answer is just to learn how to say, "No, thank you!". But it’s not like you can say that all the time. The bills will keep coming. This is extremely personal to me. Ultimately, we have to find out what our set of values are and not deviate from them. For me, quality work can look "ugly." Whether it looks beautiful or not is just a question of personal taste. This is where I take comfort in designing what is right—fulfilling a task and finding beauty in the empathy with the consumer or user, instead of looking for it in the end product.

Q: How has your work or collaboration style changed over the past few years? How has this time, or this phase of your practice, affected your design process most drastically?

A: The last few years have been particularly tough (with Covid and all!). It was also the time I focused more on working in Creative Strategy for Affordable Housing projects. The projects have a massive scale and move at a totally different pace. Switching between fields has been a big part of my personal strategy over the years to continue to love what I do. Navigating a field where project care and ownership cut across so many fields was definitely a learning curve. My learnings were most importantly to work with live sketching and inserting comments and inputs in what I later called a VFA (Visual Aid File), to make sure we meet all the languages and inputs in one clear idiom: the idiom of design!

Q: A good question from a previous guest...“Why do you do what you do?”

A: This is a great question! Thanks to the last person who suggested it. There is no design without culture. I come from an immigrant family. My parents were immigrants (from Portugal and Angola to Brazil). My grandparents were also immigrants (from Portugal to Angola on my mother's side, and from Portugal to France on my father’s). Being an immigrant means deciding to leave the comfort of your own culture; it’s hard, but also it’s greatest eye opener I’ve ever experienced. I would not be the designer I am today if I was too comfortable and had never left Brazil at age 18.

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To see more from Vitor, check out his website and follow @vitorlandian on instagram and TikTok, or @vitorland on YouTube.

Hear more from Vitor at the Design Lecture Series on 9/26/23, presenting "What Isn't Design?" and talking with students and community. 

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The Fall 2023 Design Lecture Series is in person, free, and open to the public. We are also livestreaming select talks with registration on Eventbrite. This event is preented by PNCA Graphic Design, co-hosted by graphic design department members Amber Marsh, Kristin Rogers Brown, and Flo Von Grote.

Follow along with our #fridayfives on instagram @pncadesign.