Monday, February 25, 2008

More on Mexic-Arte

After an intensive search for the details of the design and typeface of the Mexic-arte logo, I was finally able to contact and meet with the designer, Tony Romano. Questions about the concept, typeface, and formal decisions of the sign arose in my meeting with him. As an artist, designer and local supporter of the Arts in Austin he would frequently visit Mexico-Arte. At the time, almost 15 years ago, the museum did not have a set logo but simply written text. Tony Romano offered to design a logo for them and the concept was left entirely to him. He looked through some books in the Museum library and was inspired by a particular late nineteenth century/early twentieth century Mexican print artist named Jose Guadalupe Posada. He admitted not doing enough research and focusing just on the formal aspects of the letter type. He took one of Posada’s typefaces and modified it to formally fit the composition of the logo. He explained the decision behind the square shape logo and how it is typically more convenient to use a square form when shrinking and expanding a logo. He drew inspiration from the blocky papel picado Mexican decorations and decided to mimic the stencil quality by separating the text and connecting it to the division bars. He initially wanted the edges of the sign more rough looking, but the budget could not accommodate it. Since the museum was not as well established back then, a logo was not a priority. As a result, this logo depended on practical and financial decisions. Mexic-Arte seems to be a Mesoamerican art museum, but the chic design contradicts its appearance. The logo lacks research, a more in depth study of Mexican culture without just looking at images that are commonly associated with the culture and show one aspect of its traditions. It also lacks representation, an image that speaks about the museum that is cohesive rather than contradictory. Design decisions made according to a budget can ultimately affect its communication. This was the case for Mexic-Arte.

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