One of my favorite things about Mexico is the brightly painted, hand lettered storefronts. Instead of the heavily branded corporate sameness we have in the US, there are miles of open-air stalls and stucco facades with hand painted signs and murals showcasing the town's finest paletas, carnitas, and cocos frios. These signs are imperfect, and sometimes the letters are crude and crooked, but they have a human quality that draws me in, promising something special and exciting to be found inside. Maybe I'm romanticizing, but those hand painted, brilliantly hued scripts, icons, and anthropomorphic mascots strike me as being so endearingly proud and impassioned that my first instinct is to give the shop all of my money. (Um, true story.)
Sign painting is still a respected trade in Mexico, and hand lettered signs are called "rotulos." In Tulum, you'd be hard pressed to find many chain restaurants, but even world-renowned corporate advertisements and logos are often painted on walls and bus stops. Sometimes at closer inspection, you'll notice that a logo is a rip-off of a better known brand, like this MacGomez sign (pictured last). The golden arches are the only thing the restaurant shares in common with McDonald's. MacGomez is actually a thatched-roof, open air cafe, serving poc-chuc (Mayan-style grilled pork). Ha!
¡More, more, more!
+ The Dying Art of Rotulos in Merida, Mexico
+ Is hand lettering making a comeback in the US?
The Incredible Lost and Found Art of Hand Painted Signage
The Unexpected Renaissance of Hand Painted Signs
+ Oh!! Have you seen this yet? It's really NEAT.
(Give me a break. I'm a graphic designer.)