Atelier Carvalho Bernau is a design studio based in Porto, Portugal. The atelier was originally established in 2005 by Susana Carvalho and Kai Bernau in The Hague, the Netherlands. We mainly work for the culture and publishing fields, both locally and internationally.

We value long-term relationships where commissioners become collaborators, or even accomplices, and where we each contribute domain knowledge and experience to move towards shared goals.

We maintain a flexible and rich network of professionals who work with us whenever the job requires: researchers, editors, curators, photographers, illustrators and programmers. We manage our time between commissioned projects, teaching and self-initiated projects.



Atelier Carvalho Bernau’s focus is on reading* experiences across traditional, current and future media – from typefaces to user experience.

To that end, we develop and art-direct book and editorial design, typography, typeface design, web and interaction design, concept development and content strategy and research.

We see any assignment as an opportunity to question the state and understanding of design, and the roles it can play in society: each project is a tight-rope walk between applied realism and free-form research.

We give form to meaning. Content is as important as form, and we don’t mind design that is invisible every once in a while, and lets things speak for themselves.

* for a rather wide-ranging definition of “reading”.


Clients (selection)

  • Brill Uitgevers, Leiden
  • Baumeister Magazin / Callwey Verlag, Munich
  • Comme des Garçons, Tokyo
  • Commercial Type, New York/London
  • Culturgest, Lisbon
  • Esquire UK, London
  • Esquire US, New York
  • HBO, New York
  • Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge/MA
  • House Industries, Yorklyn/DE
  • Internazionale, Rome
  • Mark Porter Associates, London
  • Marsèll, Milan
  • Midway Art, Minneapolis
  • Mumok Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna
  • Munich Re Group, Munich
  • Museu Villa dei Cedri, Bellinzona (CH)
  • Museum Villa Stuck, Munich
  • New York Times Magazine, New York
  • Octavo publicaties, Amsterdam
  • Phaidon Publishers, London
  • Prix de Rome, Amsterdam
  • Royal Palace, Amsterdam
  • Sandberg Instituut, Amsterdam
  • Serpentine Galleries, London
  • Stroom, The Hague
  • Typotheque, The Hague
  • University of Warwick
  • Veem, Amsterdam
  • Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Cologne
  • W139, Amsterdam
  • Works That Work Magazine, The Hague
  • Witte de With, Rotterdam

Exhibitions (selection)

  • Designing Tools, Weltformat Festival, Lucerne (2019)
  • Designs of the Year (Works That Work Magazine), Design Museum London (2014)
  • This is the school and the school is many things, Royal Academy, The Hague (2013)
  • Split Fountain, The Physics Room, Auckland, New Zealand (2013)
  • Millennium Magazines, MoMA, New York (2013)
  • Open Books, Royal College of Art, London (2011)
  • Typopass – Critical design and conceptual typography, Dorottya Gallery, Budapest (2009)
  • 10 years of Stroom prize laureates, Royal Academy, The Hague (2007)
  • Paraat/Nieuwe oogst collective exhibition, Gallery W139, Amsterdam (2005)
  • Neutrality at tangential programme, ExperimentaDesign biennial, Lisbon (2005)

Publications (selection)


Susana is taking a break from teaching after 10 years of graphic design in the Graphic Design BA course at the Royal Academy of Arts, The Hague; she also previously taught typography in the BA programme Graphic Design at ArtEz Academy, Arnhem.

Kai teaches type design, at the MATD Master of Type Design at Écal in Lausanne.

We have lectured and set workshops at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Lisbon, Tÿpo St. Gallen, the Typographic Society in Vienna, the Danish School of Media and Journalism, ArtEz Arnhem, MICA Baltimore, ELISAVA in Barcelona, and many many others.


Some of the typefaces we design are proprietary for our clients (You could be one of them!) and are not available for licensing.

With the exception of Jean-Luc, which can be downloaded here, our typefaces are published by Commercial Type: Algebra, Atlas and Lyon, and Typotheque: Neutral

No Internships

We are no longer offering internships.

Past interns:

Eline Makker, Jonas Hegi, Bernd Volmer, Søren Wibroe, David Ortiz, Aaron Harris, Hugo Marucco, Ohri Ogi. Thank you, folks! ♥

External Validation

  • HERE: A World Poem by Tishani Doshi was selected as one of the Best Verzorgde Boeken (Dutch Best Designed Books) 2021.
  • HERE also received a Certificate of Typographic Excellence from Type Directors Club New York, 2021.
  • Irma Blank: Blank won silver medal at Best Portuguese Books 2019
  • Works That Work magazine nominated at Designs of the Year 2014 at Design Museum London
  • Documentation Subsidy, Stroom Den Haag, 2013
  • Practice subsidy by Fonds BKVK, 2012
  • Documentation Subsidy, Stroom Den Haag, 2010
  • Project subsidy by Fonds BKVK, 2008
  • Documentation Subsidy, Stroom Den Haag, 2005


This website and the works shown here are Copyright © 2005 – 2023 Atelier Carvalho Bernau

This current version of our website is online since March 2014.

Principal photography on this site is by Nadine Stijns. Some photography by us.

Built by Atelier Carvalho Bernau, based on Emil Olsson’s Hi-Response.

The typefaces used are Atlas Typewriter (everywhere), designed by Susana and Kai, and Lyon Display (in the Current Affairs section), designed by Kai. Both are available from Commercial Type.