In July 2022, Portuguese art director and graphic designer Paulo Graça embarked on a significant and personal project: crafting a visual identity for the ‘Festa dos Tabuleiros’ (Feast of the Trays), one of Portugal’s most vibrant and historic cultural events. Held every four years in the picturesque city of Tomar, Paulo’s hometown, this project was more than a professional milestone—it was a heartfelt tribute to the community that shaped him.

Festa dos Tabuleiros visual identity by Festa dos Tabuleiros
Festa dos Tabuleiros visual identity by Festa dos Tabuleiros

A Deep Connection to Tomar

Paulo Graça, a seasoned designer with a rich background in multimedia design from ESAD.CR, has traversed the landscapes of Lisbon, Leiria, Guimarães, and Porto, contributing his artistic talents to various cultural events, exhibitions, and branding projects. However, Tomar holds a special place in his heart. Born and raised in this city, Paulo’s connection to Tomar infused his work with authenticity and passion.

A Gift to His Hometown

The Festa dos Tabuleiros is a spectacle of color and tradition, celebrating Tomar’s heritage with intricate trays adorned with flowers, bread, and symbols of faith, carried by women in a grand parade. When Paulo was commissioned to create the visual identity for this event, he saw it as an opportunity to give back to his community. Offering his services pro bono, he aimed to encapsulate the essence of Tomar, its traditions, and the festive spirit through his designs.

Crafting the Visual Identity

Paulo’s approach was both comprehensive and intricate. He developed a complete visual identity, consisting of over 40 illustrations that represented the traditional icons of the Festa dos Tabuleiros. These illustrations became the foundation for all event applications, from posters and banners to digital media and merchandise.

His objective was clear: to convey the essence of Tomar, tradition, and festivity through a cohesive and compelling graphic language. Each illustration was meticulously crafted to resonate with the cultural significance of the event, blending historical motifs with contemporary design sensibilities.

An Artistic Journey

Paulo’s signature style—combining hand-drawn shapes and illustrative techniques—shone through in this project. His ability to merge art and culture into visually appealing designs is evident in every element of the Festa dos Tabuleiros’ visual identity. By doing so, he not only honored the event’s rich history but also ensured its relevance and appeal to modern audiences.

About Paulo Graça

Beyond this project, Paulo Graça is known for his versatile design portfolio. He excels in creating graphic identities for cultural events, designing catalogs for art exhibitions, and developing branding for diverse clients. His work is a testament to his belief in the power of art and culture as sources of inspiration.

Despite his professional achievements, Paulo remains grounded and personable. He humorously notes his fear of bees and fondly recalls his mother’s encouragement of his artistic talents. Her words, “You do pretty things,” still echo in his mind, driving him to create beauty in every project he undertakes.

All images © by Paulo Graça. Don’t hesitate to browse through WE AND THE COLOR’s Graphic Design and Branding categories.