Blackletter in Mexico

Cristina Paoli's picture

I just completed the MA Typo/Graphic Studies at LCC in London. My final project was about the use of blackletter in Mexico. I explored the possible reasons for its use, historical facts, and the shapes and tendencies of Mexican blackletters. From the photographic research performed in Mexico I found patterns and deviations in Mexican blackletters. Then I deconstructed each signage, ending up with more than 1500 individual characters. I removed the letters from its context and colour, transforming the colourful typographic elements of the original signs into black silhouettes. Afterwards I overlaid all characters of each letter in order to appreciate the most popular shapes, line strokes, elements and ornaments. The result is an X-Ray look-alike alphabet, that conveys the essence of Mexican blackletters.

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Cristina Paoli's picture

Check out this S:

And this F:

Tholan's picture

Hi Christina,
you wrote
„Tholan, Nop. I haven’t seen a long s in Mexican blackletter. Because we don’t have that letter in Spanish.“

Yes, but perhaps you had this like in France, where it was probably in use 'till the french revolution in the late XVIII. Century? Perhabs it's the same in spain and mexico?


fontplayer's picture

I have posted examples of the buses in Ensenada, and yesterday I stumbled on one of the station hubs. Although the letterer has a wonderful style, he apparently hasn't heard about kerning.

rs_donsata's picture

A chain of abbreviations by the way.


SuperUltraFabulous's picture

very cool topic... Christina has done a remarkable job here!

fontplayer's picture

Found in downtown Tijuana

jselig's picture

Anymore word on this book publication?

fontplayer's picture

Thanks for the link.

jselig's picture

wonderful, thanks Tim.

fontplayer's picture

I just finished going through my copy. I enjoyed it, since the phenomena is something I've also been noticing on my trips to Baja. I especially enjoy seeing the one that are either very skillful, or very quirky, but obviously hand-painted.

My favorite quote from the book, "Just raising the question of why they chose blackletter made some people uncomfortable under the pressure of having to verbalize an un-rationalized aesthetic whim."- Somehow I can picture it.
; )

Jason Walley's picture

Just stumbled upon this thread in my search for inspiration, and am now more than simply inspired. Am putting this book at the top of my list of books to buy and am very excited about it.

You've done a fabulous thing, Christina. Many thanks and accolades.

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