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Poster Recipes: Philosophy of Color by João Machado

This post is part of our Poster Recipe Series, dedicated to getting an inside look into the techniques and design practices used by some of the world’s most remarkable artists in creating their posters.

João Machado is a brilliant graphic designer from Portugal, whose art is imbued with unique imagery of piercing beauty that flows onto the sheet with a gracious and vivid fluidity. His visual style blurs a line between color and shape, blending the real and the imaginary, and almost bending the fabric of time and space.

One of the ways of expression that João Machado always comes back to in his work is the art of the poster. Artworks created by Machado for numerous poster exhibitions and cultural events exude sensuality and plasticity and are an excellent illustration of the master’s exceptional sense of rhythm and a one-of-a-kind color pallet.

João Machado


A good story
Positive approach
A strong message
Clean images
Vibrant colors


I always start working on the main IDEA/STORY by taking notes, thinking, doing research, and making sketches on my iPad, which will lead me to the final design, with the help of a computer.

My approach to the topic is always guided by the objective of a “happy ending” — I’m always trying to address the bright side of an issue.

The MESSAGE must be strong, appealing, and objective. It must have the power to surprise and tell a story, without being overly intricate. Typography should be limited as it is secondary because communicating through images is what poster art is all about.

Vibrant COLORS and clear-cut SHAPES are a part of my graphic identity. I’m always trying to create IMAGES that might surprise and are worth contemplation and discovery by the viewer.

Making a poster is a LOVE AFFAIR. It is a lonely act and a creative reflection on things that concern me the most.

GOAL: to quote someone who wrote about this art, “the poster is a kind of window that it is open to meditation, on any wall over the noise of the city (…) causing a state of social reconciliation that operates through drawing, with the intention to turn the ordinary into extraordinary” (F. Providência, 2016).

Interviewed, translated, and curated by Olga Severina.

Olga is an exhibition curator and graphic designer residing in Los Angeles, California. Having a passion for the graphic arts, Olga Severina founded PosterTerritory initiative that became a launching platform for contemporary art shows and poster exhibitions in the US and abroad. Under its umbrella, she curates graphic art campaigns that tackle a variety of social issues and feature artworks by some of the biggest names in the international design community.



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