The Helvetica of Mexico

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gudmundur ulfarsson's picture
Joined: 10 Dec 2007 - 4:23am
The Helvetica of Mexico
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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 Erdmann's picture
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Joined: 6 Mar 2007 - 8:36am
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Maybe Helvetica is the Optima of the rest of the world.

Blank's picture
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Joined: 25 Sep 2006 - 2:15pm
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I’m pretty sure that hand-painted blackletter is the Helvetica of Mexico.

Simon Daniels's picture
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Joined: 11 Apr 2002 - 6:37pm
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>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
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Joined: 26 Feb 2003 - 11:00am
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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.

Kemie's picture
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Joined: 7 Jan 2002 - 12:31am
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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 :)

Claudio Piccinini's picture
Joined: 11 Jan 2003 - 9:32am
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Please, remind from where Zapf got his inspiration…
Original sketches of Optima were done on a 1000 Lire banknote… :=)

Eben Sorkin's picture
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Joined: 22 Jan 2004 - 4:19pm
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...of inscriptions in Santa Croce in Florence, Italy.

Claudio Piccinini's picture
Joined: 11 Jan 2003 - 9:32am
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;=)
OT: Eben, give a big greeting to Antonio for me!

Pablo R's picture
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Joined: 14 Nov 2008 - 6:06pm
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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
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Joined: 20 Apr 2004 - 9:24pm
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Speaking of Santa Croce, here are a couple pics from the tomb in that allegedly inspired Optima.

Pablo– that is interesting about Industria...

Rob


David Berlow's picture
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Joined: 19 Jul 2004 - 6:31pm
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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!

Claudio Piccinini's picture
Joined: 11 Jan 2003 - 9:32am
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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…

David Berlow's picture
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Joined: 19 Jul 2004 - 6:31pm
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"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
Joined: 10 Dec 2007 - 4:23am
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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.