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Rio Grande do Norte

Tudo Começa Aqui (It All Begins Here)

A destination branding project for Brazil’s northeastern state, Rio Grande do Norte. Academics have long debated that this is the birthplace of Brazil, first discovered by the Portuguese in the 16th century. Provenance would be a recurring and inspirational subject for this project.

Touring the polos

There was a specific focus on five key areas (or ‘polos’) across the region, each with their own unique offering; Costa das Dunas, Costa Branca, Agreste-Trairi, Seridó and Serrano.

Spending time in each of these locations was key to gaining a better understanding of the culture and people. 

Cordel style

I discovered a style of literature unique to the northeast region called ‘Cordel’, which derives from the Portuguese term, literatura de cordel, literally “string literature”. These booklets are typically produced and sold on the street markets and have a distinct illustrative visual style, usually woodcut black & white or bright colors. This style was hugely influential and inspirational for the creative development.

Visual language

Natal is the state capital city of Rio Grande do Norte and is home to the historical site, Forte dos Reis Mago, a star-shaped 16th-century Portuguese fortress. There are many visual references to the guiding star throughout Natal (Brazilian Portuguese for “Christmas”) and wider Rio Grande do Norte region, including statues of the Wise Men or Biblical Magi following the star in the sky. 

I worked with the Brazilian illustrator, Eldes de Paula, who created a unique typeface aptly named ‘Eldes Cordel’, which was used across all communication materials. This helped bring together the Cordel style and provided endless inspiration – this was the basis for creating the unique patterns, color, textures and iconography which represented each of the polos.

Eldes Cordel Typeface

Textures

Iconography

More folio samples

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