Office of
Ricardo Santos

Graphic design. Illustration. Kindness.

Graphic design. Illustration. Kindness.
Lisbon → World.
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Office of Ricardo Santos

identity, print, web, motion

Identity and web design for our very own practice.
Because fuck nazis.

I — Backstory

Before November 2018, I’d never really had a solid formal identity as a graphic designer. I had burned through 4/5 portfolio designs. The typefaces I used on the wordmark and on printed stuff changed as the google fonts I used in the website changed.

Everything was in flux but for one thing. The only element of my visual identity that had remained unaltered was the mark I’d designed a couple of years ago and which never really changed. An angled, geometric, minimalist, symmetric monogram¹ of my initials: RS. That is until I found out that it was basically an upside down version² of one of the most used nazi symbols after the swastika.

It turns out that the symbol is an ancient german/saxon rune, which was adopted by the nazis and then by neo-nazi and fascist groups hence after. In retrospect it is fairly obvious that such an essential and simple shape would’ve had some history as a symbol, and it did. As a grapheme for thousands of years, then as a nazi insignia and right up to the neonazis in the US «replacing the swastika with it to go more mainstream»³.

I was mad. I hate hate. I hate f*cking fascists. And I needed a new logo.

Logotype + Mark

II — Smile, You’re Being Designed

A couple of weeks before finding out about all this I had been designing a series of small self promotional gifs called OPEN 4 BIZ⁴. One of them had some colorful smiles paired with a bolder weight of the recently acquired Neue Haas Unica. When thinking about the new identity, it occurred to me that the smile would be a good symbolic antithesis to all the hate and the nazis and all the mean ugly shit going on in the world.

We adopted the smile as a symbol of kindness, compassion, goodwill, love, and openness, but also as a representation of what design essentially means to us: happiness and fun.

↑ A smile: kindness, compassion, humour, creativity.

↑ Lockups.


III — A Gradient is just a color on it's way

Since I came up with the quip about gradients being just colours on their way I started to look at them as powerful visual metaphors for movement. That is the post-rationalization that I’ve arrived at after intuitively filling my anti-nazi flower-power smiley mark with bright two-color gradients.

5. ↑ A gradient is just a color on its way. July 2018
You can actually buy it here.

#FF931E to #FF7BAC

#3FA9F5 to #0EE5A5

#FF1D25 to #FF7BAC

#0EE5A5 to #FFFF00

#FF1D25 to #FF7BAC

#FF1D25 to #FF7BAC

#FF1D25 to #FF7BAC

↑ Lockups.



↑ Business Cards.

↑ Letterhead and invoice.

IV — The Smile is the message

And we got to thinking: what if your smile acted like a canvas for ideas, visuals, styles, homages, whatever? A window to anything that makes us smile and a chance to inject the identity with some real-life-sh*t™.

Promotional Material


↑ Mobile website.