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    The mini Rio project consists in an extensive collection of pictograms and illustrations which aims at celebrating and visually presenting the cu… Read More
    The mini Rio project consists in an extensive collection of pictograms and illustrations which aims at celebrating and visually presenting the cultural heritage of Rio de Janeiro. The project compiles over 100 pictograms of the city, 100 complementary mini pictograms, 80 derived illustrations, 2 fonts for download, a website, 2 videos, a book under development and much more yet to come. This work is an independent initiative, and has taken over 2 years of work, still growing and showing its great business potential. Read Less
Due to the next Olympic Cycle, the city of Rio de Janeiro is going through a phase of great visibility and expectancy, and everybody wants to learn a little more about that special spot in our planet: a charming, fun, chaotic, vibrant, contradictory, noisy and unforgettable city.

The mini Rio project is an extensive collection of pictograms and illustrations created specifically to visually introduce and celebrate the cultural patrimony of the city of Rio de Janeiro. This work is an independent initiative, and has taken over two years of work, still growing and showing its great business potential.

content research
When I started the mini Rio project I didn’t know I would make 100 pictograms, but after creating some city illustrations I realized I could expand the exercise to a huge spectrum of possibilities. So, I started developing a subject list, finally establishing 100 as the goal to attain.
At first I didn’t know if I’d find a hundred ideas, but then I realized the most difficult part would be what to leave out of the original plan. The thematic limit in mini Rio is mostly based on a personal basis and is rooted in my perception of the city. I didn’t care to create a conglomerate of images expressing the collective or “official” vision of Rio; that would have been equally arbitrary. In consequence, the project could perfectly be called 'my Rio'.
The contents definition process was pretty challenging. In spite of the extensive investigation made and the analysis of every possibility, I left out important parts and perhaps included pictograms not so representative for certain people. Certain decisions were simply visual: some ideas didn’t generate good graphic renderings while others worked fine with that design technique. Some things were discarded for subjective reasons, as degree of personal relevance, thematic diversity and political positioning. Other pictograms do not exist simply because I don’t know every place and story in Rio de Janeiro.
I discovered that my city stores an outstanding cultural complexity, and is really great to live in such a special place, even though not everything is perfect. And that is another important side of the project: mini Rio is not an idealized presentation of the city. I wanted to talk about the lovely scenery but also of the social problems of a big city, its contradictions and perils. I didn’t focus in the problems, but neither left them out.
To focus and balance the pictogram development I tried to organize subjects by category. The whole is divided in: tourist attractions, culture (music, art, museums, tradition, events), lifestyle (customs, habits, interesting points), everyday (day to day objects, services, urban equipment), nature (fauna, flora, geography) and problems. Some categories present obvious overlappings, and final definitions show my personal understanding of these subjects.
creation stage
Almost 1,500 images were collected and produced for the creation of the pictograms. With these references in mind, I started to draw each pictogram carefully in a process that demanded attention to detail and technical accuracy. The set was created following well-defined rules such as: unfilled shapes (outline drawing), linear structure of uniform thickness, single color, rounded corners, no use of perspective, geometric alignment and standardized human figures.
The visual language used in the project is purposely simple, due to the high level of complexity and particularity proposed by the content. Very abstract illustrations would obstruct the comprehension of pictograms. The complexity of the ensemble and the huge amount of illustrations soon determined that the use of a rigid construction grid would be inappropriate, because it would limit the creative work with no gain in quality. I realized that visual coherence would be achieved by means of the constant repetition of common characteristics and not by excessively regular geometric forms.
All pictograms were tried in extremely small dimensions (less than 2 cm), useful to check the degree of design recognition and quality. Some pictograms required dozens of versions and adjustments; others were more readily born. Many times I had to go back to work in a pictogram I thought ready, to differentiate it from a new design or simply to make it better.
Some pictograms show details or images built from letters of the alphabet. In those instances, with the purpose of fully integrating image and text, I decided to develop a set of exclusive typefaces for the project: mini Tipo (mini Type), mini Gentileza (mini Kindness) and mini Tattoo.
All typefaces are based in the same visual characteristics as the created pictograms: rounded finish, uniform width and simple structure. The mini Kindness alphabet was executed solely to recreate the traditional writings of the famous prophet and wanderer of the city (these fonts can be downloaded from the project site).
+ 100 and mini Lab
A few steps from completing the list of 100 proposed pictograms, I began to realize that some of them could have small complementary images, so I made it a standard throughout the set, creating the demand for another hundred pictograms, smaller and simpler, which allowed me to animate the illustrations in some specific applications and uses of the project.
When the creation stage of the pictograms was finished, I've set foot on a specific work period to experience the language created, called mini Lab. The purpose of this phase was to test the potential of further development and application of the mini Rio project. The images are made from expanded and combined pictograms, producing colorful designs, patterns, small animations, new pictographs, graphics and complex landscapes.
The next stage of the project consists of commercial trading of this set of pictograms and derivatives through partnerships, to create a range of licensed products. The project would not be complete if I couldn't tell a little more about each pictogram, and a book about mini Rio is already being produced. 
Have a pleasant walk through Rio de Janeiro!
mini Rio products are available in website through Colab55 platform.