Constanca Castro: Lusíadas

Interview with Constanca Castro for the Baseline blog.

ISTD Student Assessment

‘From the beginning I wanted to do something related to my hometown since ISTD is an international society and I wanted to take advantage of bringing some Portuguese culture and design into my project. As I chose Project 4: Eye Witness I had the freedom to choose the content so I decided to do extensive research on Portuguese artists by reading, not only English articles, but also Portuguese. I also used photography as I had the opportunity to go back to my country while producing this project.’


‘The concept is based on one significant event from Portugal. I decided to work with a well-known poem from Luis de Camoes that glorifies the Portuguese people on their maritime way to discover India. The first three stanzas of the poem were the ones that extolled the Portuguese community and that was the main reason that they were selected to be in the final installation, which would be situated in Portugal.

‘Along with the idea of using the poem I also added something traditionally used in Portugal, patterns of tiles. Tiles are used a lot in buildings, as decoration in Portugal and I felt that I could include them, and play with them as a typographic exercise.’

Detailing – creating a typeface

‘My project explored typography in two different ways and what gave more detail to the work was actually using expressive typography, a typeface created by using patterns. I think this bit of the artwork is what enhanced the installation to be even more visually appealing.’

The value of education

‘The learning process of this project was extremely useful and surprisingly big, while doing it, but what made me keep going was my effort to maintain my focus and not give up. The curious thing about this project is that things didn’t turn out exactly as I expected a few days before the deadline, and I struggled a lot to give this project enough time, but I tried with all my heart to make things work and never gave up. I think that it is important to keep thinking positively, and learn as much as possible with the people around us.’

A positive outlook

‘Passing the ISTD was really good as it gave me the opportunity to learn a lot and develop my design skills, and for me that was the most important thing. Having the ability to explore different skills and know more about typography. Of course passing in this competition, it means a lot, and what really motivated me was the ability to learn more, even though there are a lot of things that I still need to learn and develop as a designer.’

Front view of model. Constanca Castro, 2016.
Front view of model. Constanca Castro, 2016.
Model viewed from above. Constanca Castro, 2016.
Model viewed from above. Constanca Castro, 2016.
Rear view of model, a blank wall with a cut-out doorway. Constanca Castro, 2016.
Rear view of model, a blank wall with a cut-out doorway. Constanca Castro, 2016.
Lusíadas. Constanca Castro, 2016.
Lusíadas. Constanca Castro, 2016.

Constanca Castro

University for the Creative Arts, Epsom
BA Graphic Design

About ISTD

International Society of Typographic Designers, ISTD, the professional body for typographers, graphic designers and educators.

The ISTD student assessment scheme, started in 1975, is cited as a model of academic thoroughness and professionalism. Unlike many others, the scheme is not a competition as it considers the holistic achievement – not just the final outcome. The overall design process of research, reflection, strategy, design development, technical and production specification is assessed by teams of practicing designers and educators. Students who are successful in the scheme are offered membership of the Society.

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