En El Frente is a new independent publication that investigates historical Chicano publishing and the legacy in the Latinx community TODAY.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the Chicano movement in the United States joined existing civil rights movements like the Black Power, women’s liberation, and gay rights movements to advocate for social justice by using independent publications to amplify its message. Newly accessible and affordable design technologies such as offset printing and production technologies brought about a rise of independent publishing and the rise of the activist-designer. The ability to disperse information quickly through these publications allowed for the correction of disinformation in the traditional white press or mass media.
Activists of the Chicano community designed these publications to serve as a record of events and encourage the readership to act (unionizing, boycotting products, and marching) to fight for social justice. Documenting and studying the Chicano publications held by institutional archives in California and Texas, we observed patterns in the cover designs of the Chicano publications, and we argue that these constitute a distinctive Chicano visual language encompassing inventive use of imagery, icons, and masthead typography. Chicano independent publications, and the visual language they deployed, were critical to the formation of the Chicano identity and movement.
More coming soon.