A photograph of lettering work by artist Leandro Senna


portrait of Leandro Senna






Lettering project by Leandro Senna

1. Describe yourself and your work.

Hi. I’m a Brazilian graphic designer living and working in San Francisco. I’m also a lettering artist during my free time (what free time?).

Lettering is something that I really enjoy doing and that is growing stronger each day. I’m not a typeface designer; I don’t design fonts. I’m much more interested in the visual representation of letters and the changes in their meaning when combined in different ways. The power of language to communicate an idea fascinates me.

I have my pencil and sketchbook always beside me; that’s how my creativity sparks. I love to start my projects from scratch and craft all the small details. My goal is to make strong designs that are functional but first of all have personality and please the eyes and create an emotional relationship with the viewer.

Brooklyn Marker's Mart design and lettering by Leandro Senna

2. How did you get started?

I grew up in São Bernardo do Campo, a blue-collar city near São Paulo with very few cultural and artistic offerings. When I was growing up, my biggest influence was my parents. My mom is a teacher, full of creativity and interested in paintings and music. My dad is a very hands-on guy, always looking for something to fix during the weekends.

Driven by my passion for drawing, I earned a BA in graphic design, but I just realized what design really was during the course. A new world appeared to me.

I started my career and spent about eight years designing packaging and branding in some agencies in São Paulo. Later I realized that to be a great designer I would have to leave my comfort zone and experiment with different things, to be challenged more often.

3. What piece of work best represents you and why?

As a designer I always want to find the best solution for each project. I love lettering, but sometimes it is not the best approach for a specific client or project.

My Bob Dylan’s Hand Lettering Experience was a turning point in my life and work. It was my first personal project and, truly, my first experience with lettering.

I had just moved to New York and was still looking for a job, so I had a lot of free time. I could absorb inspiration from everything around me: signs in the streets, paintings in museums, books, T-shirts, restaurant menus….

The project was a unique moment totally dedicated to my creative freedom, when I learned and produced so much in a short period of time. It was the first time I could express my point of view and personality.  

4. What are you into currently?

I’m a commercial designer, but I think design is a very powerful tool and should be used more wisely. Creative people have a responsibility to use their skills to offer something back to the community.

I haven’t figured out how yet. I’m still putting some ideas together, but it would be amazing and special if I could help my country.

I’m open to ideas. Anyone out there?

5. What are three things you’ve learned that young creatives should know?

The Internet is a great source for research, but you need more. Travel a lot, learn new cultures, meet different people, read books, go to museums. I believe your design is a collection of your life experiences.

Work with people better than you. That’s the best way to expand your knowledge.

Do more personal work and have fun working. I’m always surprised with the results I can get when I’m just having fun. That is also the only way to figure out what kind of designer you are and develop your own style.

5¼. Favorite color? All of them.

5½. Favorite website? Google Translate (I’m still learning English) and Fast Company.

5¾. Pet peeve? Having lots of passwords.


Adobe recently invited Leandro Senna to reimagine the logo for Adobe MAX. See his work and read about his process in this post on the Adobe Creative Cloud blog.

August 3, 2015

Original artwork: Leandro Senna