Every year, on the fifth of May across the United States, Americans and Mexican immigrants prepare for a celebration with sombreros, chips and salsa and cervezas. Cinco de Mayo, a holiday that celebrates Mexico’s victory over France in 1862 is just another day in Mexico, like President’s Day.  In the United States, it has become a much anticipated day, celebrating the Mexican culture in America.

Mexico’s influence in today’s modern world can be found through the use of bold colors, detailed and complicated designs full of shapes and natural surroundings, feminine textural fonts and severe calligraphy.

Top 5 Design Elements Influenced by the Mexican Culture:

  1. Bold, Bright Colors: Often used to break up the monotonous tone of a design, when it comes to Mexican inspired artwork, there is just more of it.  Bright teal and magenta, bold yellows and green grace the canvas of many fun and vibrant event posters and packaging. For this vibrant culture, even death is celebrated with bright, beautiful colors.

    Cinco de Mayo Invitation. Photo by Shutterstock Author: Vector Tradition

    Cinco de Mayo Invitation: Image sourced from Shutterstock Author: Vector Tradition

  2. Shapes and Detail: From swooping lines, triangles, circles and tear drops, finding the right balance can be challenging. It is usually in the details and the patience of a designer that this balance can be achieved.  Designs for invitations, menus and food and beverage labels are often created with bold lines, creative details and colorful designs.  The bright colors, use of fonts and bold lines found in our previous Lynx Paper Promotion is an example of how cultural diversity impacts designs.

  3. Traditional and Religious Influence: There is no doubt that the Mexican culture is a culture with strong family values and religious beliefs.  The infamous sugar skull is a great example of how designers have put their own twists into using shapes and colors. Originally designed by Jose Guadalupe, also known as the Father of Mexican Printmaking, his illustrations of death had a huge influence of today’s popular culture.  Even in black and white, the details in shapes and lines make this an amazing piece of art.

    Joes Guadalupe Posad

    Original design by Jose Guadalupe:  Image sourced from Wiki Commons

  4. Typography: When it comes to type, it is often suggested to limit the use of different fonts within a design. That is not the case for Mexican influenced design. Bold lines and organic free flow use of letters make typography another part of the detail in the design element.  Designer Paul Tuoroto does a great job in his hot sauce design for Benny Ts Vesta, earning him the #1 spot in Best Hot Sauce Label Designs List.

    Vesta Hot Sauce Label

    Design by Paul Tuorto: Image sourced by Paul Tuorto

  5. Natural, Earthy Surrounding: From animal motifs to cacti and sunrays, many Mexican inspired designs are influenced by the natural surroundings. The depiction of a sunrise or an animal is exaggerated with swooping and bold strokes while bright colors highlight the focal points.  Famous Mexican Artist, Frida Kahlo, does a great job of incorporating her surroundings around her. Known for her self portraits, many of masterpieces are set in nature.  In graphic design, the exaggeration of the suns rays or the lines of a cactus show movement and the down to earth nature of the Mexican heritage.

    Frida Kahlo: Me and My Parrots. Image sourced from www.fridakahlo.org

    Frida Kahlo: Me and My Parrots. Image sourced from www.fridakahlo.org

The key takeaway of integrating some Mexican flair into your artwork is that more is better and never be afraid to use color outside your element.  The Mexican culture, like many of its surrounding neighbors, is a passionate and diverse culture.  Designs influenced by this beautiful culture must come from the heart and evoke the passion and energy that life brings.  This Cinco de Mayo, before that first cerveza, take a moment to admire this colorful culture.

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