São Paulo-based graphic designer Rodrigo Sommer specialises in print and identity design, with a particular flair for adding mixed media approaches to posters, book covers and album artwork. Intrigued by the Brazilian design scene, and by Rodrigo’s willingness to incorporate hand-drawn and collage elements into digitally-dominated spheres, we caught up with the designer to find out how he approaches a new project, and why procrastinating isn’t always a bad thing.
Where do you work?
I work from home. I recently moved to this apartment where I have a room with my desk and all the office and studio stuff I need, and I also have a big dining table in the living room that I sometimes use for drawing and collage.
How does your working day start?
Coffee! I always start the day with a full breakfast: fresh orange juice, a cup of coffee and some slices of homemade bread. After that, I check my emails and Facebook, take my dog for a walk and then I make my plan for the day and start to work.
How do you work and how has that changed?
When I’m starting work on a new project, the first thing I do is try to escape from it. I’ll take a really long walk with my dog, spend some time searching for music on the internet, or clean the house… Whatever it takes to keep me away from dealing with it. But eventually I come back to my desk and get to work. I’ve always worked this way, so I don’t worry anymore when it happens. I think it’s part of the process, a way of giving my mind the time to wander freely around the subject before having to really focus on it. And it works!
My process can vary considerably for each job, but it basically consists of initial research and a mixture of handmade and digital work, with a number of comings and goings from one to the other. If I’m working on a logo or identity, I start by drawing sketches until I think I’ve got something that I can work with on the computer. For posters, as I am not very good at drawing, I usually search through my collection of paper scraps, old books and type samples for images that might fit in with the job. Then I’ll make a collage, or create a few pieces that I’ll scan and manipulate on the computer. It’s a very intuitive process, with a lot of space for accidents and changes of direction, until I have a basic layout.
This working process hasn’t changed much in the last few years, but neither is it a rigid method. I like to experiment and I’m always trying new ways of doing things. I also like to test my weaknesses, such as drawing and painting, and use them to my advantage. Lately I’ve been increasingly willing to use my drawing in my work.
Where can we find you when you’re not at work?
Anywhere there’s good music. It can be a folk or an alternative rock gig, a free jazz concert, or even a small club with groove sounds coming from old records played by DJs. I also like to go out to eat, I can spend several hours chatting and drinking with my friends. And on the way between all these places, I take the opportunity to do another thing that I love, which is photographing the city, especially at night.
Would you intern for yourself?
This is a difficult question for me because I’ve never been an intern and never had one working for me. But I guess I would, just to try something new.