we designed a new visual identity for the brasil arquitetura studio directed by francisco fanucci and marcelo ferraz. the project involved basic stationery, project brochures and website.
the studio had already gone through three different visual identities since its foundation, the last of which used frutiger in lower case and a tone of blue long associated with the studio’s residential projects.
designed for the signage at orly airport in paris, frutiger is intimately linked with architecture and space. lower case lettering—a milder tone of voice—also struck us as perfectly suited to the studio’s profile.
our first proposal was a change of color. rather than recalling the architecture itself, we wanted the visual identity to have a meaning of its own.
brasil is brazilwood red, and the fact that the name was derived from a commodity says a lot about the nation’s history.
also in relation to brazil and the studio’s vast experience working with heritage sites, we thought the cross would be a good graphic sign. the cross is a reference to brazil’s origins—the country was first named the Island of the True Cross—and to the format of the pilot plan of brasília.
the cross was also a way of introducing greater variety to the identity, as it serves as a visible grid that can be modified from one piece to the next.
so, using a grid of 4x4 fields, we were able to shift the center of the cross about the page, to any of the 9 possible points of intersection.
this meant we could structure different items, such as business cards, without losing the basic theme, and it also gave us a means of conjuring movement on the website.
for example, on the business cards, we were able to use all nine variations—5 for personal cards and 4 for studio cards.
in all cases, the cross indicates horizontal and vertical relations that organize the content.
A single position was adopted for the writing paper.
on the covers of project brochures and presentations, the cross could be used in any of the 9 formats depending on which fit best with the content.
inside, the same 4x4 grid was employed, though without the cross being visible.
with the project approved and underway, there was a sudden change of plans.
the partners asked us to abandon the cross and its variations and ‘simplify’ the stationery.
this is what the writing paper ended up looking like.
the result is certainly a clean and elegant visual identity—and in red. however, we still contend that something of the relationship with the studio’s architecture was lost with the removal of the cross and its variations.