Kiko Farkas on the power of the poster

Fondly known as the poster boy of posters, we speak to the Brazilian graphic designer and founder of Máquina Estúdio about his three-decade career, including his famous designs for the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, and how digital has democratised poster design

Kiko Farkas was surrounded by design from day one. An avid drawer from a young age, he would take inspiration from his photographer father’s collection of old copies of Graphis magazine. His mother’s cousin also owned a publishing house which specialised in illustrated encyclopaedias of animals, geography and biology. “Every birthday I would get a new one. I still keep them, and also buy old ones,” he says.

While Farkas has worked as a designer and illustrator for the past three decades, he originally studied architecture and urban design at the University of São Paulo. He cites the influence of having an architecture background on his work to this day, since it was the first thing that taught him about the importance of the ‘project’.

Banner image: Farkas’ identity for a photography exhibition at the São Paulo Museum of Image and Sound; Above: One of the posters created for OSESP, São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, 2005
OSESP, São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, 2006

“I already knew what a drawing was, but a design project is something very different,” says Farkas. “The way we approach a building has a lot [similarities with] a book project for instance. There is a sort of long, industrial process involved, and both pretend to have a long life. I say that in opposition to advertising, which was the other option during my time in school. [That is all about] seduction, making something beautiful and the short term.”