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Nov 06

Fileteado: Unique signwriting of Buenos Aires

by in Argentina

During our time living in San Telmo; a culturally rich area of Buenos Aires, I became fascinated by the distinct graphic style used for most of the district’s signage.

Some research revealled that this elaborate style is known as Fileteado, and I was excited to find that you could do a Fileteado tour around San Telmo that included a workshop with a local Fileteado artist.

We met at Bar El Federal in San Telmo, which like many of San Telmo’s long-running bars, is decked out with many examples of the Fileteado style. There was just me and a young Canadian guy on the tour, and we were shown around by two young dudes from a local travel magazine.

We learned that the style began in the cart factories of Buenos Aires in the early twentieth century. It was a decorative style used predominantly on hand-painted signage, trucks and public transport up until the 1970s. Argentina gained a military government in the late 70s and early 80s and they declared the style (on buses at least) illegal, citing concerns with legibility. Since 2000 there has been a resurgance in interest in fileteado as it has become recognised as an artform unique to Buenos Aires.

After a short walk we visted a local artist who showed us examples of his work and gave us a lesson in using the brushes for creating smooth flowing lines.

We practised our technique before jumping right in and hand-painting our own fileteado letterform. He suggested the first letter of our name as a staring point, but I decided that “T” was not interesting enough and went for the more challenging “A” (for Annaliese, naturally!)

We were pretty proud of our first efforts!

We followed up our class with coffee and a few more good examples seen around San Telmo, including the signage on the local McDonalds!

More info can be found at

One Response to “Fileteado: Unique signwriting of Buenos Aires”

  1. From Jenna:

    Does anyone know of an artist that paints or teaches Fileteado in the U.S.? I’m desperately trying to get signage painted for my business and I live in Seattle. Fell in love with the art my first trip to Argentina.

    Posted on 22. Oct, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

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