Interview with logo designer Fabio Issao


Let’s gave a big welcome to our “logo of the month” award – July 2014 winner, Fabio Issao. This week he agreed to tell us more about the winning logo, UNUS. We are pretty impressed, we hope you are too.

Fabio has a lot experience and advice to share with you, so if you have any questions don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments section.

Enjoy the interview.


Q. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

A. I’m a 35 year old Brazilian born designer, currently living in São Paulo with my wife Patricia, our newborn Kim, 2 boxers and 1 kitten. I lived in many different cities in Brazil, from the extreme North to the Southeast of the country, a journey that gave me a diversified social-cultural background, since Brazil is known for its cultural plurality.

I’m graduated in Advertising —although never worked in Ad Agencies— and went straight to the graphic design market since the last year before graduation. I co-founded 3 design studios in the last 10 years, which gave me a broad range of skills in many different design fields, such as branding, packaging, editorial and digital.

After that I was invited to join Mandalah, a global conscious innovation boutique, where I developed more strategic skills and had the opportunity to manage strategic innovation projects and brand positioning for local and global clients.

Now, as a freelancer, I’m focused on working with purpose-driven projects, from Education to Technology, using Branding and Information Design as my main deliverables.


Q. Where do you get your daily inspiration?

A. I believe that learning with life and with those who surround me is the best way to keep continually improving my vision and concepts, no matter what my focus is pointed to.

I also love to check different channels of information daily, like Fast Company, Wired, Brain Pickings (one of my favorites), Behance timeline, AsBoasNovas and magazines like Offscreen, Monocle and Bamboo. Beside all these channels, Nature has always been my greatest source of inspiration.


Q. How do you come up with a concept for a logo?

A. I’m lucky enough to have a strategy+innovation background, which helps me to develop purpose-driven dialogues with my clients. In that sense, all my work is based on delivering clear, concise and meaningful communication to the people and projects I’m involved with.

Through design-oriented methodologies and tools, that include ideation, business and service canvas, value proposition and strategic frameworks combined with in-depth interviews and co-creative workshops, branding naturally comes up as a result of these efforts, as well as the visual identity, all in a very authentic way.


Q. Do you sketch first or work on a computer?

A. I usually spend a lot of time thinking and drawing on paper before going to the computer, it gives me more freedom of thinking than a computer app.


Q. What are the steps you pursue in designing a new logo?

A. Pursuing a clear understanding of the brand essence and defining its positioning and audience constitute the philosopher’s stone to achieve a good result. It emerges from a high-quality and purposeful dialogues with my clients.

After that, lots of sketches and iterations are done in order to polish the idea and its applications. It’s about zooming in and out from times to times to find the right balance between the logo, the brand’s visual universe and its communication goals.


Q. What’s the story behind your UNUS logo?

A. With UNUS I was pretty lucky to be part of the strategic team since it was a dream of its founders Renata Rocha and Marina Cancado.

We had many different sessions together and with different partners to discuss the ideas and make it understandable to ourselves, at the first moment, followed by refinements of the original idea until it could be expressed in a simple, clear narrative and what were the core concepts that would drive all the organization’s vision, actions, products and services.

During my design process, I made 6 different versions that followed this evolution. When I presented the actual version, all of us were confident it was a true representation of their dream.




Q. How long did it take for you to create the UNUS logo and what tool did you use?

A. Since it was a brand strategy + visual identity project, it took me around 5 months to achieve the final version, and 3 weeks to deliver a brand book.

The process was fully based on a co-creative model, with 2-3 workshops with different stakeholders, lots of research and coffee hangouts, a Moleskine full of sketches and Adobe Illustrator to develop and polish the vectors.




Q. How did you choose the right color and font for UNUS logo?

A. By connecting the brand purpose with its correlative color meanings. The final set of fonts was chosen after a lot of iterations with the client.




Q. What was the most challenging part about UNUS logo and how did you deal with it?

A. Definitely, to clearly connect the logo to its supportive communication pieces was the most challenging aspect.

I tried many different illustration techniques until I tried the halftone vector illustrations, which enabled each piece of communication to clearly express the brand essence (the dots that compound an image or a symbol).




Q. Lastly, do you have any advice for a beginner logo designer?

A. Live life with love, know things by heart. The more you’re able to trust your feelings, more likely you will find people who resonate with your life purposes.

We all work with people, and by making these relationships meaningful and fun is what matters after our projects are done.


Thank you for the interview, Fabio Issao!


See more of Fabio’s work on:



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