MarkaBranka

Good in Advertising Design.

About MarkaBranka

MarkaBranka is a Portuguese Creative Agency, founded by Fábio Alves & Márcio da Rocha in 2016, that moves from the Thought to the Action, with Creativity, Strategy and Communication, offering services in graphic design, illustration, advertising, webdesign, and art direction. With a particular self-identity and made up of round headed people, so thoughts can change direction, MarkaBranka shows a willingness and attitude of not depending on a name to create a good project. For example: Feira do Alvarinho de Monção - The biggest Wine Party in Portugal; GlammFire - Exclusive Fireplaces; Adega de Monção.

  • Winner of Advertising Design Award.
  • Specialized in Advertising Design.
  • Original Design.
  • Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Advertising
Feira do Alvarinho Advertising Campaign

Feira do Alvarinho Advertising Campaign

Advertising Design


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Interview with MarkaBranka

Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
The passion for the arts and design was born very early. Even though, at that time, I had not identified the design as my passion, it was already there. I always drew a lot, not only draw fonts, graffiti. I took care of the appearance of my school's daily notebooks. At this stage, I just knew that I liked the arts in general. The design appears much later, in an almost fortuitous way. My parents did not want to let me study the arts, at the end of basic education, a situation that made me went to high school without any motivation. Therefore, I almost lost three years. When I reached the end of high school, I told them that they would either let me go to an arts-related course or drop out of school at that very moment. The course closest to my town was Graphic Arts, a professional course, but I was completely uninformed of its content. For me, because the course is arts and being close to home, it was enough. From that moment, I knew what I wanted to be for the rest of my life. It all made sense. I realized why I spent the day designing fonts, being careful with the graphics on my notebooks and everything else. I completed the 3-year course, with an internship in Romania in between, won two national awards and started working, in a design studio, at the same time as taking a degree in graphic design.
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
We are a creative agency, not an advertising agency or a specific brand activation agency (of any specific communication discipline). We think specialization is boring, less risky and creates habituation. We always prefer to have new problems. Learning has to do with new experiences, so we want to have experiences that make us learn something new. The creative essence of MarkaBranka bases on two pillars, Fábio Alves and Márcio da Rocha, but we believe it is important and necessary to release the talent and passions of those around us (employees and clients) to create good projects. We want to create a world where everyone wants to live. For that, we need creative leadership, abstract ourselves from conventional notions of leadership. The company's philosophy is: Stay Small, surrounding us with the best employees available to tackle each project. We want to have a small structure to have time for big ideas to be born, we don't want to have countless accounts and do creative work in series. We want to maintain relationships with employees and close clients, and clients feel better about connecting with the head of the company than with a chain of people.
What is "design" for you?
In its purest form, for us, design is the combination of words, images and symbols to create communication. We look at design as a creative discipline, not artistic. We have a purpose, a function. Art does not.
What kinds of works do you like designing most?
What we like to create most are Brand Identities, whether for brands or events (major or minor). And also create another kind of identities on which we can build self-worlds, using storytelling. We love it. Associating to a great graphic identity a beautiful storytelling concept and a wonderful illustration is the type of work we most like to do.
What was the first thing you designed for a company?
The first thing was a catalogue for a Brand of Exclusive Fireplaces named GlammFire.
When do you feel the most creative?
At the wheel of the car, when I travel alone, this is where I feel most creative.
What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
In the creative process, until we get to the "idea", the main emotions are anxiety and frustration. We want to get to the big idea, we want to open up the possibilities as much as possible, but it is difficult to stop and choose one, we always thought there was still more to explore. But we have deadlines. Then, when we finally get to the idea, the emotions are enthusiasm and motivation, and willingness to present it to the client.
What makes a design successful?
The surprise aspect. We live in times of stupidly large amounts of work. Social networks brought the need to create daily genius. To stand out in this creative jungle, we have to have something original. Framing is also important, as not all ideas are good for all brands, and we cannot fall into the mistake of imitating the success steps of other brands. What works for one brand may not work for another. The big projects are the result of this positive dynamic, where everything seems to fit naturally.
From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
Designers must be one of the first professionals to take a step forward on environmental and social issues. We have to present projects that inscribe these concerns and convince customers of the need for that. The social part is where we think design has a more important role and where we would like to work. More than creating brands, more than creating products, we would like to create projects where we could change something.
How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
We think that the future of design will go through what it has always been, good ideas. We think that it is transversal to all generations of designers and creatives and that it will always be the most important. The evolution of technology and society will require new approaches, new ways of working, new platforms and tools, but this is the normal adaptation of a designer. If it doesn't evolve and adapt, it dies. More specifically, in the present or shortly, we will be required to change our approach, where communication will prevail, create credible design and communication, because the old school old marketing of spending more on advertising than on the product already it is not valid. And then, create sustainable and responsible products. We increasingly think that the meaning is the return to the past, the creation of slower narratives, sustainable hedonism and a slowdown in production, the bet on craftsmanship and the local factor at the expense of the global. That is why it is important to create brands and products that last over time and tell people something, not this ephemerality of everything now.
Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
We place a high value on visual culture. We are devourers of content, the more things we see, the more creative we are. I don't believe in the aha moment, that almost magical moment which happens only to predestined people. The process goes on every day, without exception, to take 30 minutes or 1 hour to research projects, from all over the world, from different areas. This helps us to build a visual culture that allows us to think about different possibilities, conceive our ideas and chart our paths.
How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
We don't have a stated design style, nor do we want to. We think that design is a discipline in which we have to solve problems. As they are all different, we have to take an appropriate approach to each project and idea. For example, in our view, some ideas are best expressed in minimalist illustration, others in surrealist photography, and so on. The company consists of a designer, a marketeer and an illustrator. Our approach is to try to make the best of the three, so projects with illustration and storytelling are often born. But we also work with the ultra-luxury sector and make a minimalist design. This is the challenge, finding the best solution for each project.
Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
Yes, without a doubt, it influences us a lot. We like to work with projects of our culture, such as Feira do Alvarinho, where we managed to seek universal concepts and adapt them to our values and our culture.
What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
The advice we give is to choose well the designer to work with, the person they think will be the best for their project, after analyzing several portfolios. From that moment, delegate and trust the designer, to generate a positive atmosphere and create a great project.
Can you talk a little about your design process?
Since the beginning, we have been obsessive about the process, which is continually updated. We have not yet reached the methodology that seems perfect to us. We have been in a constant trial-error process. We have a reference that we love, Bruno Munari's project methodology, through which we guide ourselves to make our own. In short, we have a phase of analysis and material collection, where we analyze the problem, photograph, make videos, collect all the information that exists. Then, we research things that exist, similar, or solutions from other areas, and get together to start trying to understand what our path will be. Once the path is defined, we make several creative sprints, where each one of us does its part so that, later, we can meet again and check the ideas. We make the sprints that are necessary until we have something that we think is great and will please the customer. After presenting it to the client, the ideas are executed and implemented.
Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
Look for a company where you would love to work and do the kind of work you like, in an environment where you would like to be. Do everything to get a job there and work very, very hard to earn your place, in the company and the industry. Because after entering this world, we don't want to leave.
From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
For us, the fundamental point is to work on what makes us happy. After all, we all pursue that dream. It is fantastic waking up every day to do what we would do, even without being paid for it. It is also a positive point that can change the direction of a brand, a political election, a town. The feeling we can create value through our design is a very positive point. The negative points are related to the wear and tear of the designer-client relationship. It is always very difficult because it is an area with a high level of subjectivity. Besides, add the wear and tear of creating so much creative product, due to the daily need that today's brands have to create exclusive content.
What is your "golden rule" in design?
KISS - keep it simple and stupid. If an idea doesn't have something crazy, at the beginning, if it doesn't create a discussion, it's not a good idea. And the result has to look so simple, looks like it was easy to do.
What skills are most important for a designer?
Having a huge visual and global culture and knowing many business areas and mastering multiple topics. The better I know a topic, the better I solve it.
Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
This is one of the main topics on creative work, time management. We assume the Stay Small style, so we want to have time for our projects. We want a small team, a small company, for a few projects, to be able to give them the time they need. It is always hard because customers always want everything fast. We also try to choose the right customers to create the right projects.
What are your future plans? What is next for you?
Our ambition is high. From the beginning, we defined that we wanted to develop projects that would make the difference. We don't care about the size of the client, but the dimension of the project. We want to do creative things. There are no reasons, today, for an agency to only do work close to its geographic area. With mobility and flexibility, we can work for any corner of the world. We hope that this award will help us to go further, win new clients and develop projects that enable us to win this and other awards.
Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
We prefer to work as a team, without a doubt. We believe in the “genius part”, where we are just social architects who try to create a space where people are willing and able to share and combine their talents and passions.

Extended Interview with MarkaBranka

Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
I'm 31 years old. I've been a Professional Designer for 11. I took a professional Course in Graphic Arts. Later, when I started to work, I took my degree in Graphic Design simultaneously. I won 2 national awards, one in a contest for a poster (FITU - Festival Internacional de Tunas Académicas, Oporto 2009) and another for a newspaper cover (Feiras Francas 2011 - Palácio das Artes, Oporto).
What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
What motivates me most is to be able to change the direction of a brand, a political election, a village, the feeling we can create value through our design. Then we have the emotions and feelings that are created in the creative process, while we try to arrive at the “idea”. These emotions, that inherent adrenaline is what makes me be and continue in this area.
Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
I didn't choose, but I wasn't also forced to do it so. It appeared by chance, in a random choice, which at the time I took without knowing its genesis.
What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
What we like to create most are Brand Identities, whether for brands or events (major or minor). And also create another kind of identities on which we can build self-worlds, using storytelling. We love it. Associating to a great graphic identity a beautiful storytelling concept and a wonderful illustration is the type of work we most like to do.
What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
The surprise aspect. We live in times of stupidly large amounts of work. Social networks brought the need to create daily genius. To stand out in this creative jungle, we have to have something original. Framing is also important, as not all ideas are good for all brands, and we cannot fall into the mistake of imitating the success steps of other brands. What works for one brand may not work for another. The big projects are the result of this positive dynamic, where everything seems to fit naturally.
What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
Like art, the value of great design is defined by the price the customer is willing to pay. We believe that it has to be paid well. After all, it is also a creative area. Companies should invest only in great design. To spend in poor design is to lose more money than to invest a little more in great design. We always tell our clients that if to invest poorly, it is preferable to do nothing.
What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
We want to continue working on this project, Feira do Alvarinho, turning it into a Comic Strip.
What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
We have several projects that we haven't had time to complete yet. But there is one that I have had a special interest in for many years. Create a local, satirical newspaper with illustrated political interventions, in the style of Charlie Hebdo.
What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
The approach to the problem, always thinking about solving problems differently, combining a rich visual culture.
What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
Christoph Niemann, The New Yorker covers. I like projects with a high index of iconicity.
What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
The ideas came up so easily that we found it unbelievable how nobody had explored that side yet. This is synonymous of great design. Furthermore, it is a project that has no end. We can create countless and parallel things.
How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
Designers are eternal self-taught, eternal students, so I can't see this profession any other way. Study, study and study. Stay informed, read a lot, see many projects, be compulsive investigators.
If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
I would always be a creative person, whether I was a doctor, plumber, worker, lawyer. Creativity is an adjective that defines a person and not a profession. It has to do with approaching problems, so I would always be a creative person. But I think that if I stop being a designer, I could be an architect, it is the airline that is most enthusiastic, after design.
How do you define design, what is design for you?
In its purest form, for us, design is the combination of words, images and symbols to create communication. We look at design as a creative discipline, not artistic. We have a purpose, a function. Art does not.
What helped you to become a great designer?
The need to have to be good. I worked to be able to pay for my studies, I didn't have a wealthy background. If I failed, it would be more complicated. We created this project from scratch and with zero. We knew we couldn't fail. The need strengthens us and helps us to stay focused.
What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
We are working on a super ambitious project, a brand for a municipality, which we think will have a very positive impact. It is a project that breaks with the conventional.
What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
We want to be a national reference, have access to the best projects and create things that are iconic, that last over time.
How does design help create a better society?
Although today design is more associated with brands and territories, it has been and will always be present in people's lives, in everything, every day. I think design is essential on social level. With it, we can change the world, help make better and more sustainable societies, create better products and strong communications.
Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
The project that gave us the most satisfaction was the one that won this award, the Feira do Alvarinho, because we like to work with projects from our culture and deconstruct them. In this project, we managed to seek universal concepts and adapt them to our values and culture.
What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
I hope, shortly, we will be required to change our approach, where communication with the truth prevails, creating design and more credible communication, creating sustainable and responsible products. We increasingly think that the meaning is the return to the past, the creation of slower narratives, sustainable hedonism and a slowdown in production, the bet on craftsmanship and the local factor at the expense of the global. That is why it is important to create brands and products that last over time and tell people something, not this ephemerality of everything now.
What is your life motto as a designer?
KISS - keep it simple and stupid. If an idea doesn't have something crazy, at the beginning, if it doesn't create a discussion, it's not a good idea. And the result has to look so simple, looks like it was easy to do.
Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
I think really good designers are the ones who set the trends. Then we have a river of designers who try to follow those trends.
What is the role of technology when you design?
Technology is just a means of coming up with ideas. We have to take advantage of the new tools because they can improve the execution of new ideas and even open up our spectrum. But only that. I value ideas more.
What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
In the specific case of graphic design, it is with sadness that I see the decay of printed materials. It is one of the things that gives me the most pleasure, motivates me the most. Work on the colour, materials of a graphic product, a book, a flyer, a business card. But in general, colour, materials and the environment have a very significant importance in the design, it is impossible to create an identity without foreseeing these aspects. There are identities that are valid for that very reason, for a material, for a colour.
When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
When I see an excellent design, I get jealous. I always think I wish it was me.
Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
I already have the ideal partners, the MarkaBranka team. Yes, we prefer to work as a team, without a doubt. We believe in the “genius part”, where we are just social architects who try to create a space where people are willing and able to share and combine their talents and passions.
Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?
I would love to meet and discuss ideas with Stefan Sagmeister. He is a character who looks at design and life in the same and a very positive way.
What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
Colour - Black. Place - Portugal. Food- Spaghetti. Season - Summer. Brand - Apple.
When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
Although I only decoded it now, yes, some things would make you predict, such as the obsession with having the school's daily notebook always very well organized, be careful with the information hierarchy, different sizes and colours. And also the curiosity to create fonts.

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