Andrea Sara Gallo is a visual communicator based in Lugano, Switzerland, whose innovative design projects reflect her curiosity about the world around her. She participated in the project in fall 2018 with her winning 45 visuals entitled Shaping Language, submitted while she was a student at the Academy of Art and Design Basel (HGK Basel).

“Care and curiosity are the key to being at peace as a designer.”

TPP45S Describe yourself in 3 words.

ANDREA SARA GALLO Rational, direct and minimalist.

TPP45S Your winning project, Shaping Language, is a sublime example of the exploration of printed language. You used digital methods to record and interpret the motion traces when one writes on a touch-screen keyboard, wherein words become line figures with their own aesthetics. How did you develop the visual language for this project?

ANDREA SARA GALLO Right from the start I wanted to turn words into shapes—but I had no idea how to do it! I had begun to explore the idea that today, our tool to communicate is the phone and its keyboard. Of course, we still speak and communicate with our mouths, but we also leak emotions and make ourselves understood through the phone’s keyboard. However, we do not deign the movements of our fingers, as they dance on the keyboards, even a glance.

So, one day I started monitoring the movements I made while writing with the phone. What did I click most often? Did I only use my thumbs or other fingers? I noticed, analyzing myself, that my fingers slipped from one side of the keyboard to the other, creating real bridges between the letters. Thus, I began to imagine the shapes of these bridges, bridges between one letter and another.


TPP45S Of the 45 visuals you created, which is your favorite?

ANDREA SARA GALLO I don’t have any preference, because they all reflect my initial idea of “writing.” However, “Movements” [11 of 45] is the symbol that fascinates me the most—it is complex and fully represents the set of possible lines in a single movement.

“Movements” [11 of 45]

TPP45S When you submitted your project, you shared that “Technology is now part of us and we have to accept it.” It sounds like you find it a necessary and fascinating challenge—how else would you describe your relationship to technology?

ANDREA SARA GALLO When it comes to technology, I would say I am almost a beginner. Yes, I’m always connected with my smartphone, computers, cameras, Netflix, social media. But I often do not understand technology, and I know I’m not taking full advantage of it. I’d say that technology and I are together; we’re a couple, but we don’t know each other well yet—we’re working on it!

TPP45S What a perfect way to put it! What about you and your phone?!

ANDREA SARA GALLO I see my phone like a “pocket house”—it gives me security, and I can use it in emergency situations, I can cover empty moments of the day through games and social networks, and still can extrapolate information of any kind through the Internet. I also rely on my phone for photos and videos—when we decide to capture an important or not important moment of the day. This creates a memory store that you can revisit at any time. Stunning, huh? The mobile phone is in my “most intimate and necessary objects” category. It is a need, to always have with me one of these “pocket houses.”

TPP45S What excites you most about your project?

ANDREA SARA GALLO I hope that the viewer will be enticed to discover his or her own idea of movement and make new and exciting symbols with their own words. Given that the words of our language are endless and wonderful, the 45 symbols that are visible now are just a taste of what a complete dictionary of millions of symbols could be.

TPP45S What’s your advice for artists submitting to next year’s open call to create a set of 45 visuals?

ANDREA SARA GALLO Open up! Design something that can open your mind to new horizons, and try not to fall into your comfort zone. But if you do get stuck there, you can get out of it by asking for feedback and input from a variety of people.

TPP45S What skills, competencies and values are most important to you as a designer?

ANDREA SARA GALLO I would say that care and curiosity are key to being at peace as a designer.

TPP45S What are 3 tools, programs or processes you couldn’t live without?

ANDREA SARA GALLO Surely my hands! Then our beloved Adobe Creative Suite, and pencils and paper.

TPP45S You’ve just graduated, so we have to ask—what will you do next?

ANDREA SARA GALLO Yes, I graduated—I’m very happy! My plan now is to go back to Lugano, my home, where I will work in a graphic studio as a designer. I can’t wait to get started.

Canton Ticino. Shapes, colors, and nature in general are
a great inspiration for Andrea’s design work.
“Animals, their habitats, and their behavior are also an important source of inspiration for me”.
Vineyards in Andrea’s hometown, Lugano. “I’m often inspired by the perfection of their parallelism and linearity,” she says.

ANDREA SARA GALLO Lugano is so wonderful—it has wooded mountains, and valleys full of vineyards. I’m often inspired by the straight lines of the vineyards, by the perfection of their parallelism and linearity. And of course, the greenery, the nature, the mountains, all give me a sense of calm, joy and security. I’m sorry to leave Basel, as the city gave me a lot and let me grow. Who knows, maybe I’ll be back!

Andrea Sara Gallo
Andrea Sara Gallo is a visual communicator based in Lugano, Switzerland. She is attracted to different yet complementary disciplines, both analog and digital, and her projects often focus on photography and editorial design.

Winning Project Open Call 18/19—Shaping Language