Translating graphic design beyond the pages of publications, papers or magazines is a dynamic being tackled more and more by artists in this discipline. The mobility that allows you to tailor a drawing, design or graphic to other media allows you to publicise the work through other means and, of course, enrich the world of design with new approaches. Take, for example, Milton Glaser, who turned his legendary phrase/logo “I Love New York” into one of the most recognisable in the world, after being stamped on t-shirts, mugs, posters…

María Figueiredo, a young 28 year old Portuguese illustrator and founder of studio and brand My Friend Paco, is one of the latest Portuguese names to embark on the difficult task of translating her graphic ideas to textiles, an element in which she states she feels comfortable and that allows her to be in constant contact with the world of decoration and interior design, two of her most recent passions. My Friend Paco, which currently focuses on producing cushions and pillows of various formats, aims to reinforce its presence in the home decor market through unique offerings in which graphic design is key. Above all, she wants to establish it as a brand filled with fresh ideas and a youthful spirit. “I’ve always expressed myself through images, and as a designer and someone who’s passionate about interior design, I came to the conclusion that textile pieces for the home (in this case, cushions) was the perfect medium; a way of uniting illustration and design in a single product,” she tells us. Conceived with the aim of creating a concept with personality, bringing together culture, emotions and memory, My Friend Paco reflects the personality of its creator, expressing many of her personal stories.

“We wanted to convey a youthful, easy and humorous vibe. And with hand-embroidered pieces by Portuguese artisans, we also want to promote work well done and perpetuate working methods that are part of our DNA and cultural heritage. We believe that translating traditional handicrafts to modern design offers a great deal of possibilities,” says María.

Limited ranges, in which each piece is unique, authentic and exclusive are the characteristics of this brand, and with its huge sentimental value, My Friend Paco offers something very different from the rest. “Each one of these cushions has a personal story behind it – an evening with friends, an intimate meeting…” she says. 100% cotton, a fabric that resembles synthetic tanned leather with a vintage look, which the designer found in Viseu, her home city, and velvet with wool: these are the materials on which María expresses her world.

Special mention should be made of her designs, in which clean lines take on curious forms, latticed with embroidered pieces, and the more informal prints, filled with fresh and simple ideas. The major textiles brands now have a new competitor – one with a Portuguese accent.