The Daily Heller: Everyday Handmade Signs From Mexico City

Posted inThe Daily Heller
Uriel Sánchez holds a gift for my wife.

His name is Uriel Sánchez. He is a leteros (sign writer). His stall is inside Mexico City’s Mercado Central de Abastos—passageway No. 3, in between the entrances O-P and Q-R.

“La verdad es que me enfoco más al diseño gráfico, esto de los carteles es un plus, como un extra, más que un oficio es un servicio,” he says. (It means that signs are just one part of his graphic design business.)

When street artist, Quantel Paintbox revivalist, type and design archivist and photographer Adrian Wilson recently visited Mexico City, he commissioned Sánchez to write some signs. “Do you want some too?” he asked me. “Why not,” I said.

But I also wanted know more about Sánchez. Wilson asked me to write up some questions, and Wilson translated the answers below and took the photos.

My birthday present for Seymour Chwast, 92.

“I’ve been a signwriter since 2015.

“I was lucky to be born with this talent but I keep practicing to perfect my skills.

“I prefer capitals, but use different types of letters depending on what I think will attract customers to each stall’s product. The colors are chosen to complement or contrast with the product the sign will be next to.

“I feel humbled that people outside the market have noticed and like my style of signs. Mexico City’s Chilango magazine featured my work, I’ve been interviewed on Mexican TV, and have been commissioned by Televisa.

“You can email, follow me at @dmtpublicidad on Instagram and Facebook, or arrange to visit my stall at Central de Abastos market.

“Always happy to hear from people, as I love the wide variety of things people now ask me to create signs for.”

Title cards made for Adrian Wilson’s film in progress documenting the Quantel Paintbox.
Posted inThe Daily Heller