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Jo達o Machado

“The work of graphic design by the sculptor João Machado already carries more than twenty years trapped in a precision sample and consistency of style that are not common among us.João Machado rose, thanks to his work and the hallmark of his style, to the difficult status of author recognized not only nationally and internationally. “

Bernardo Pinto de Almeida


Jo達o Machado, was born in Coimbra in 1942, he

graduated in sculpture from the School of Fine Arts in Oporto, where he was teaching at the brand new degree in graphic design between 1976 and 1983, year that he left teaching and then embrace a career as a graphic designer, and especially as a poster designer.

In dedication to graphic design, has more than 400

posters, and has done extensive work as editorial illustrator and designer, distinguished by originality of its language, which combines influences varied, ranging from polish poster to pop art and Japanese art. The work experiences although preventing an objective characterization of the vastness and variety of situations to which they respond, still show a marked trend towards simplification of the images where the different figures are defined by patches of uniform colors and plans, with a intense chromaticism.


Approaching the design of the graphic arts, Jo達o

Machado has privileged the poster, but also paid attention to the postage stamps and corporate design.

It is the graphic designer best known Portuguese

abroad, and still the only name associated with Portugal when speaking about Communication Design. Had his work exhibited in group and solo exhibitions around the world was the only Portuguese to expose the DDD Gallery, Osaka gallery, with the GGG Gallery in Tokyo, is a "largest temple" of graphic design - and has exceptional work published in a large number of magazines. It also received various awards and prizes, among which, in 1999, the Award of Excellence Icograda (International Council of Graphic Design Associations), the principal organ of the subject worldwide.


From Sicssor to mouse

“From his work for children of Tele-School, began

working in children's illustration. In those early works that began the exploration of techniques such as pastel, and later the airbrush masks on paper cutouts, beginning also to "draw with scissors instead of pencil." Have been assumed by choosing this form of "design", strongly influenced by the Polish poster of the 60 and 70, where the art of the poster "was a matter of resistance, but also of survival" against the communist regime.

From this tradition stands the "master" Henryk To-

maszewski, who, by the way he used flat shapes of color in posters, influenced Machado to construct through the cutting and gluing colored papers available, expressive compositions that have become one of the components of his idiosyncratic artistic expression. Poster Expomóvel 85


Simple polygonal shapes - evoking elements drawn

from nature, industry or the man, brought the abstract to the begining point of being unrecognizable - will be, with its use of color and color transitions and gradients, its brand image, his "style" with which it is still identified today.

The “style” that John Machado has consistently cul-

tivated has not changed either with the transition of visual analogue to digital design. His design process is the same since the 70s, the days of drawing with scissors, till today, the time of “drawing with the mouse. From the first notes of ideas in notebooks that still has heretofore were followed by the models and studies of color in colored paper. Now outlines directly on the screen - using software such as Freehand or Photoshop - and when necessary tests in print large format printer of its “Atelier”.

João Machado e a Criação visual: Almada Editora: Casa da Cerca: 2001


The big difference between the two "ages", is the implementation of the final output: between the detailed and time consuming to trace artwork Rotring pen and color codes and the current print file exported in seconds, won the time formerly spent on graphic center, "the mouth of the machine," the testing of color, color gradients by mechanical, adjustments to color and other direct juggling that today only the romance of yesteryear has compassion.�

Dia Nacional da Ă gua 2005 Originally published in the supplement of the Publico Newspaper


In Jazz weeks, exhibitions and festivals, is large the number of collaborations in which João Machado has gained fame over the years. Probably the greatest example of complicity between designer and client will be their collaboration with the Cinanima, Animation Festival Espinho/ Portugal, "the story of one is reflected in the eyes of another." Machado admits: "After all this time, I told them to make way for new people, but they insist that I always do the poster." Machado has also been invited to make posters with other subjects, less literal, like the Rio Summit ‘92, Expo ‘98 Lisbon, or celebrations such as World Water Day, among other manifestations of humanitarian and environmental which contributes iconic examples of his style. Their posters, even when the subjects are more “serious”, invite contemplation, lyrical, playful, but passive. Use the illustration, refuses photography and let reportedly Typography into the background.



"The most important is the image", he argues. Images are the key issue, are they that come to mind when we speak of more than 400 posters have previously made. Jo達o Machado won a reputation as "the poster artist," with her and the status that allows you to not practice the "art of compromise", who will order a job knows that you are requesting the concessions made by a designer before targets. He does not work without cost, by statute, for him to "provide a service" is deprecated. However, not only posters lives Jo達o Machado.


Although these are his "real passion", performs many other projects. Since packaging for clients such as Ach Brito, the stamps, through architecture books and exhibition catalogs, and is the visual identity, including logo, Jo達o Machado reveals another interesting dimension of his work. For if the poster is a piece of the author, not all the work in graphic design is. An example is a logo: when we do not know who did it. But Jo達o Machado "signed" logos for several Portuguese institutions, from the Portuguese Institute of Museums, the House Museum Youth Almada, through the Douro Museum, Bull & Bear Restaurant, or the Port Intermodal Transport.



In this poster, Jo達o Machado, a set advertising prize

giving balance and rhythm needed in poster. The post-

Portuguese Footwear Design. On a yellow background,

er, as mentioned, aims at raising awareness of the

the center of the poster as the main image, we have a

prize Portuguese footwear design "to the population

silhouette in black, a stylish shoe. On this, it is written

in general, the customer is the center of Art S. Joao

in white, the title of the poster "Design of Footwear",

da Madeira. Aesthetically, the poster, linking both as

"broken" in three diagonals that "simulate" the strings.

image and text, is meant to be appealing, working

In the upper left, as the caption, we have a blurry

with the implementation of both. The central image,

black rectangle, on which, beyond its limits, it is written

the shoe has a connotation as iconic and abstract, for

in white, the event name, in Portuguese and English. In

its distinct shape, as if footwear, with life, the vari-

the lower right, also as a label, we have two rectangles,

ous curves, give an air soft. The shoe has a universal

smaller than the above, also these black blur, within

nature, or is perceived as a shoe for everyone. In the

which we have written in white, the year of the event,

final image has more aesthetic than connotative load

'96, showing a figure in each rectangle.

properly, John Machado in the work has more concern

The poster has a central structure, including a diagonal,

for the trappings of their work in their own way than

which helps us in reading / interpretation of it, going

to create a connotation.

from top left to bottom right. The silhouette of the shoe, in turn, creates a diagonal perpendicular to it, 15


In this poster we are presented with an advertising

The white leafs with various sizes, scattered through-

of Papéis Carreira Company. At the top, a bottom

out the right half of the poster, creating the rhythm of

bordeaux occupies most of the poster, on which

the poster. The poster aims to raise awareness of Papeis

centered on the poster, we have a simulation of a

Carreira Company, which is one of the four posters of

sheet of paper that he stood, leaving out several

the theme “Four Seasons”.The target group are people

white leafs. This simulation is done with a black

who want to have a type of paper with quality. The

blur, which serves as drop shadow, which sent out

poster, aesthetically, uses only the image as a means

the aforementioned leaves, which emerge from

of communication, not using text, only the logo and

the top center of the center and lower right corner.

legend. The image, once again, has an abstract con-

The background bordeaux is outlined by a frame

notation because it is a way if there was a page out

of small black oblique lines. At the bottom of the

of the poster and then creates a shadow, some fall

poster, there is a dark blue bar across, which, on

through the leaves, symbolizing the autumn. The red

the left, is the company logo, and the right side, the

"bordeaux" is a color somewhat dead giving the idea

"signature" / reference to the author and the print-

of being a time "dead", and white leaves, a sign of low

ing of the poster. The poster has a central structure,

vitality. The image is not understood by everyone, per-

supported by a triangle, which supported the dark

haps because of its abstraction. As already mentioned,

blue bar emerges into the center top.

João Machado is interested in "beautiful".


On a yellow background appear several flowers intertwined. The title of this poster is directly related to the colors of flower petals to create balance and harmony. This work of John Machado conveys joy and celebration, it seems to allude to the Chinese fireworks. The flowers appear on the lower right and hang to the left. These arise as a single image on this poster because it is the only attraction of the fair in question.


John Machado also draws stamps for CTT-Correios de Portugal. This stamps he alludes to the 2008 Olympic Games working on this project an image that contains two athletes, in which only sees the black shape.The detail happen in cloths of athletes, which appears like an explosion of colors, as if it could be any country, any nation. Another detail is the fact that the two midpoints existent in mid sides are cuted in the shape of a portuguese cross.


In connection with the stamps, but moving into the area of the environment, John Machado, is a colorful label that has the title "à gua, bem de consumo�. Nothing of course, that a glass of water, pouring it and a can underneath. In this work he uses colors fairly static, without movement, are present here and the influences of Pop Art.


Despite its main area is the poster, John Machado has developed an extensive work on logos and corporate images. This logo contains a picture of a stylized tree, similar to others already used by him. In this case it meant that the tree was very simple and focused to ensure that there was too complex. Lower apears the name of the client instittution “Ambiente Almada 21�


This poster on the Ecological Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Jo達o Machado focused on the environment without being evident in the image you want to raise awareness of the ecology. In Poster, globe appears on the center linked to the lower plane by a line and and is circled by blue hands. This graphic work can be interpreted in three ways, a wind turbine, a flower, or the more visible hands around the globe, all three symbols intended to raise awareness of the same, each one a different interpretation. From the standpoint of graph, the poster follows the language of John Machado, because it is very organized and the picture speaks for itself, as this poster is intended to be international, it works very well.


This poster belongs to a series of posters relating to the environment, prepared by Jo達o Machado. "Agua, fonte de vida" is the title that leads to a reflection on the environment, and in this case, especially on the water. The three fish have influences of Japanese art, very drawn, but with a fill complex, as if they had hair. This work I think is the most beautiful, can be transmitted by means of an image provided with unique simplicity, that only he can, a sense of complicity and beauty.


Prizes and Awards

1983 1st National Award Gulbenkian for the best Book Ilustration for Children, Lisbon, Portugal

1999 1st Prize – Best of Show, European Design Annual, Great Britain Prémio Zgraf8 Icograda Excellence, Croatia

1st National Design Award, Portugal

2004 2nd Prize, “4th International Triennal of stage Poster” ,Bulgaria 1985 1st National Design Award, Portugal 2005 “Asiago International Award for Philatelic Art 2005”, for Best 1985 1st Spetial award - “Die Erste International Litfass Kanst

World Stamp, category – Tourism, Italy

Bienale”, Munich, Germany Bronze Medal - Book Biennial, Leipzig, Germany

2007 “Asiago International Award for Philatelic Art 2006 for best World Stamp, category – “Environment Protection” – Italy

1996 Honorable mention, “Computer Art Bienal”, Rzeszow, Poland 1997 1st Prize Mikulás Galanda, Bienal do livro de Martin, Slovak Republic

2008 Honorable mention, EKOPLAGÁT’08 for the poster collection “International Year of Planet Earth 2007” and “National Day of Water 2007”, Slovak Republic

1st prize “First International Competition for fair Poster”, Bulgaria

1998 1st prize - Logo Film Commission, Association of film comissioners, International Denver, USA


Ruben Costa_2009

João Machado  

One of the most prestigious Communication Design of Portugal

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