Spain’s vanishing street typography is trending on Instagram

I’ve spotted a growing movement on Instagram, and I seem to be part of it. Welcome to the Spanish community of retro typography hunters, who are acting fast to preserve Spain’s unlikely works of street art.


Everything produced in early- to mid-20th-century Spain was built to last. It was a time when small business owners believed that their businesses would be passed down generation after generation, so the initial, good investment in their facades, floors, furniture and signage was worthwhile.

Even the typography of their storefronts was designed to last, like timeless works of art that we can see for free. But, for many, these retro fonts are outdated and in decline. Those few vintage signs haven’t been replaced by adrenaline-fuelled trends are becoming a vulnerable time capsule to Spain’s mid-century high-streets, and here are 18 nostalgic souls on a mission to capture them all…

Alberto Graco – Madrid
Zaragoza Letters – Zaragoza
Typofilia – all around Spain
Tipos de Madrid – Madrid
Storefront BCN – Barcelona
Sevilla Tipo – Seville
Santatipo – Cantabria
Retreros – Madrid
Retolsrotuls – Barcelona
Reliquias de Madrid – Madrid
Madrid ye ye – Madrid and around Spain
Ignacio Buhigas – all around Spain
Rótulos & Letreros – Barcelona
Pamplona_Iruña – Pamplona
Historia tipografica Madrid – Madrid
Fetenletters – Madrid
Carril___Conga – Madrid
Barcelona Tipo – Barcelona
El Dafont Boquerón – Malaga

These Instagram historians are doing a wonderful job of capturing Spain’s old facades and typefaces, yet despite all of our combined efforts to preserve them, they may well end up in this signage cemetery. But, imagine this: the nostalgic typography trend booms and suddenly, preserving old classics is the norm. In the future, it might save us a trip to the past, and there’s one rising artist hoping to do just that.

Tom Graham, the Brit behind Freehand Madrid is reviving the art of hand-painted storefront typography. Perhaps Tom, you, me and these 18 Instagram heroes can preserve Spain’s vanishing retro typography forever. So, what do you say, shall we ride the wave? Here’s a hashtag to get you started: #tiposcallejeros

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