Leandro Castelao

Leandro Castelao is one of the hardest practitioners for me to write about. I'm so stuck between whether I love or loathe his work. These examples shown to the right and below are so intensely bold, colourful and graphic. The use of repeated geometrical and carefully measured shapes, combined with varying organic forms creates an attractive aesthetic. This is due to the work appearing somewhat stylised but retaining legibility and therefore inviting an audience to examine the work closer to discover what they are really viewing. The use of colour, bold, muted and used in blocks of defined shape is very eye catching. The image below for example I find effective due to the use of colour. The consistent use of the light teal blue throughout the image is very effective. Used as the border background colour and within the illustration, the whole image is brought together due to the visual link using this tone of blue. The brightness of the colour attracts the viewer's eye to the image whilst not confusing what could already be a complex info-graphic, by bombarding a viewer with multiples of varying colours. Originally an illustrator, it would make sense that Castelao's drawing, composition and communication techniques would be very highly evolved. And they are. Even in his simpler info-graphics below and below to the right, the aesthetic is very strong strong, I would hang the bottom right image on my wall, not to educate housemates of the workings of the solar system, but just for it's appearance.

On the other, more negative hand, I cannot get my head round how one might learn about the solar system from that particular info-graphic! This observation relates to his work in general. Lets take the bottom right image as an example. The stereotypical planet shapes are used here as well as a darkened background in comparison to the central shapes, and small stylised star illustrations border the page. All of these elements guide the viewers mind to the realisation that the solar system is being shown here. Castelao has combined these features with the composition of the planet shapes reflecting balls on a Newton's cradle. To me, this visual link, of the planets to ball bearings on a newton's cradle is not effective. Originally I found the link completely irrelevant but once I had researched exactly what a newton's cradle represented I saw more of a link. The cradle is a three dimensional diagram that shows us the effects of momentum. Although the planets of our solar system do have momentum in their orbit of the sun, the cradle analogy that is illustrated in this image I believe is a bit too simplified compared to the actual forces that are exerted on the planets of the solar system by the sun. 

From this, I can learn that it is valuable to obtain feedback on work produced before allowing it to be finalised. A link between too concepts that I as a designer may find effective, such as Castelao has between the solar system and the Newton's cradle, may in fact not be effective or full understood by a target audience.

http://thestrangeattractor.net/?p=6498

http://vizualize.tumblr.com/post/2414671676/by-leandro-castelao

http://dutchuncleagency.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/leandro-castelao-new-work-up-online.html

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