The Helvetica of Mexico

gudmundur ulfarsson's picture

A friend of mine recently came back from Mexico. He showed me some nice photos of both "good and bad type". He also told me that there was so much of Optima that it was like it was the Helvetica of Mexico!

What do type specialists say about this? Is there any Mexican here to back this up? I'd really like to know more about this.

Jan's picture

Maybe Helvetica is the Optima of the rest of the world.

blank's picture

I’m pretty sure that hand-painted blackletter is the Helvetica of Mexico.

Si_Daniels's picture

>He also told me that there was so much of Optima that it was like it was the Helvetica of Mexico!

I blame McCain. Just as picking Palin was a play for the Canadian vote, by using Optima in his campaign he was pandering to Mexican voters.

William Berkson's picture

Hermann Zapf just turned 90. Congratulations!

I hope also to live to be 90 and to have people protesting the ubiquity of my work :)

Optima is great, and more readable in text by far than Helvetica. Not that I want it everywhere, but rather it than Helvetica.

spiral's picture

I agree with James, can't say I've ever noticed an Optima boom in Mexico. Might be one of those cases where once you beginnoticing something you find it everywhere :)

piccic's picture

Please, remind from where Zapf got his inspiration…
Original sketches of Optima were done on a 1000 Lire banknote… :=)

ebensorkin's picture

...of inscriptions in Santa Croce in Florence, Italy.

piccic's picture

;=)
OT: Eben, give a big greeting to Antonio for me!

Pablo R's picture

As a Mexican designer I have to accept Optima is abused in many logos in Mexico. I even used it (Zapf Humanist actually) in a graphic cleaning operation for a major bank. Not only Optima but Brody's Industria is very alive and used in open air markets in Mexico City.

James I wished hand painted black-letter was still used as often as you say. It is a fantastic hijack, with an unique personality.

But no, I have to say that Mexico's Helvetica is Helvetica (or was it comic sans?)

rob keller's picture

Speaking of Santa Croce, here are a couple pics from the tomb in that allegedly inspired Optima.

Pablo– that is interesting about Industria...

Rob


dberlow's picture

Maybe some of it is Helvetica eroded by the higher altitude?

"I’ve [n]ever noticed an Optima boom in Mexico
We neither, in publications south of Houston.
Roger Black recently did a redesign, or proposal for one that was all Zapf fonts, but that was for a lower altitude.

"Please, remind from where Zapf got his inspiration…
Original sketches of Optima were done on a 1000 Lire bank note…"
So he did it For the money, On the money or From the money?

"...the tomb in that allegedly inspired Optima"
Maybe, though it looks to me more like it inspired his Michelangelo.

In any case Happy 90th B'Day Herr Zapf, and Happy Optima Mexico!

Cheers!

piccic's picture

So he did it For the money, On the money or From the money?
He did it ON the money (I should have a photo on a book on Zapf). Or maybe you were just kidding, David? :=)

From similar sources we have the Florentine Set by Paul Shaw & Garrett Boge:
http://www.letterspace.com/LETTERPERFECT_FONTS/newreleases/FLORENTINE_SE...
Exquisite, although Optima is more "typographically-wise", as they say…

dberlow's picture

"Or maybe you were just kidding, David? :=)"

No kidding. I was genuinely curious from the phrase, "...got his inspiration..." followed by the Lire reference.

Cheers!

gudmundur ulfarsson's picture

Too bad that this rumour was not true. I liked the idea of a typeface taking over a country and be given a different name.

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