'el super' book review (mexican packaging) 'el super' book review (mexican packaging)
jun 04, 2010

'el super' book review (mexican packaging)

‘el super’ publisher: editorial rm editor: kurt hollander photographs: adam wiseman design: rocio mireles + bruno contreras language: english format: 15 x 15 cm features: 216 pages isbn: 9789685208475

________________________________________________________________________________________ designboom rating: ________________________________________________________________________________________

‘el super – snacks, salsas, sodas, sweets and lots more super stuff from mexico’ presents a thoughtfully curated collection of original mexcian packaging examples that nationals know and love and non mexicans are often mesmerised by. hollander goes on to describe why he thinks mexican packaging is the way it is through his insights into local slang, historical references and  recent market trends.

overview ‘if you are what you eat, then it would follow that grocery shopping is the way you construct your identity, and that markets and grocery stores are the laboratories in which whole cultures build theirs – as well as an early place to spot changes.

this small, chunky and completely charming gift book presents portraits of mexican consumer products alongside photographs of the supermarkets, stores, markets and street vendors where they are sold. the accompanying text places all this graphically striking material in the context of its historical antecedents and contemporary food trends, and considers the situation of locally conceived, designed and distributed products like these in the age of global consumerism.

in mexico traditional design, like the work showcased here, is competing with digital media and work done by international corporate design firms. culturally specific images are being displaced by global ones, the virgin of guadalupe by disney cartoons, literally changing the face of the food and beverages that mexicans eat.

mexican industry is holding its own against the onslaught for now, and mexican products still serve the needs of the vast majority of the country’s population. that is: mexican products sold in packaging that is less than environmentally friendly, displaying images that are not politically correct, and using ingredients that are banned in other countries still serve their needs. as el super confirms, bad things come in great packages.’

‘sheryn’ tostadas – image courtesy adam wiseman

‘miguelito’ salty, sweet and spicy pulp – image courtesy adam wiseman

‘miguelito’ salty, spicy and sour sugar – image courtesy adam wiseman

‘gusano lucas’ tamarind with chile – image courtesy adam wiseman

‘oblea mini cometa’ wafers – image courtesy adam wiseman

‘fresta, pecsi, fanda’ candy – image courtesy adam wiseman

‘la morena’ pickled chiles – image courtesy adam wiseman

‘moctezuma’ hot chocolate powder – image courtesy adam wiseman

‘morelos’ rice – image courtesy adam wiseman

‘yoli’ soft drink – image courtesy adam wiseman

‘boing’ fruit drink – image courtesy adam wiseman

‘chaparritas’ soft drink – image courtesy adam wiseman

is it for me? the contrast between the DIY style many of the products have in ‘el super’ and the slick, uniform appearance of global brands makes the book a must have for any packaging enthusiast.  it should also appeal to anyone interested in contemporary mexican culture particularly because of the adoration locals have for many of the featured foods.

‘el super’ is available to order here.


designboom ratings: ……………………. interesting ………………. good read, worth a look …………. very good ……. excellent, recommended . must have _________________________________________________________________________________________

design-aerobics ‘food’ and ‘revisiting history’ courses (june 8th – august 8th) are now open for enrolment!

examining the origins of today’s most common / popular design objects and asking how we can improve them or how they have been re-interpreted. more

from its packaging to the surroundings in which it’s consumed and everything in between.  this course gives you a good taste of design in the food sector. more

see how to enroll

  • very good stuff
    i want that book

    isidro rangel says:
  • wheres the ‘like’ button?

    claradead says:
  • increíble libro! perfecto material para presumir las delicias tradicionales de méxico

    gaby says:
  • Love the ‘gusano lucas’ bottle! would make great glue packaging! Thanks for sharing!

    Peter Hewson says:
  • who decides what is “politically incorrect”? You can´t do that based in others culture point of view. We don`t get offended that easy. Banned ingredients give them the great taste they have:)

    RTL says:
  • really nice pictures, the “fresta, pecsi, fanda” one is amazing.

    steve says:
  • Nice packaging!

    Pier says:

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