🔑 Cerrajeros
“Tight competition 24/7”



Shutters decorated by compulsive propaganda actions where the last to arrive is always the one who’s gonna get first.

Colourful sticky elements define the passage of silent "extras" who modify the synthetic environment with the aim of sharing their skills and breaking down all competitors.

The mode of action, the form and layout with which they appear remain standard and unchanged since years and it all seems to follow a thread that plays between being conspicuous or simply omnipresent.

The passage of time is made tangible by the deflagration of the low-quality adhesive material and the bright colours that regularly loses their intensity.

I wonder how to define new visual languages that give value to this silent and invisible guerrilla and how I could interact with it by identifying myself as an extra that live the street as a vast playground.

The provided data defines an essential and direct communication that aims to strike the observer as opposed to informing him of the skills offered which.
Infact, apart from being extremely similar for everyone, encompass an infinite range of possibilities.

The typography used lends itself to being clear and easy to read from a distance.

The colour of the characters is deliberately in strong contrast to the background colour and the typography chosen is always condensed to fit within the defined layout.

The most commonly used typographic characters are:

- Swiss 721 Black Condensed
- Rockwell Std Bold Condensed

The content of the elements generally varies little from one business to another.

What stands out most are the word "CERRAJEROS" and the corresponding PHONE NUMBER.

A reference name is never given, but rather their legal status and skills. However, the 'Cerrajeros' seem to be extremely ductile and versatile figures who are well adapted to various tasks.

The presence of a logo is relatively rare but nonetheless present on some stickers and often depicts an abstraction of the classic shape of a key, generally made "human" probably to indicate the effectiveness of the person offering the service.

The shapes and layouts encountered are generally standard and can be identified in 6 macro-groups:

Guerrilla action involves placing one's own sticker above that of competitors who have already left traces of their passage. 

This constant search for primacy and visibility creates, over time, numerous overlapping elements, extremely interesting from the point of view of composition and colours.

We can observe how the same sticker appears several times within a single composition, symbolizing a repeated guerrilla action between cerrajeros from the same neighbourhood (barrio).

The colours used are often bright and highly visible.

The chromatic variety is remarkable and difficult to trace as the colour used is not an identifying characteristic or a particular type of service offered.

It can be assumed that the choice of shape and colour is defined according to the personal taste of each cerrajero.

It is therefore possible to find the same layout and telephone number in two stickers of different shape and colour.
The distribution of the stickers and the related guerrilla action is generally entrusted to third parties (extras) who mainly act at night time.

The coincidence with the closure of commercial activities makes it easier to place stickers in specific areas of the shutter (see next step) and guarantees less visibility for competitors. Despite the obscurity surrounding them, these "extras" can be recognised thanks to the sticker backing material they hold in their hands.

The stickers are printed on a vinyl (white or coloured) on which the desired shapes are engraved. The result is a long strip of vinyl material, dragged by the extras to the end of the stickers and then thrown into the first useful bin.

It is precisely the length of this material that allows them to be spotted even from considerable distances.

It can be seen that the stickers are attached to specific urban elements which undergo a constant and totally unpredictable decoration process.

Most affected are shop shutters and in particular the lower part of the shutter, close to the lock, to ensure their presence in case they cannot be opened properly.

To be targed are also metal poles (lights or traffic signals), doors of houses or buildings, mailboxes and especially street intercoms, probably because of their high visibility.

Although, they are often subject to quick removal by building cleaners or by blocks of flats themselves who do not understand their decorative value.

︎Exercise 01

Observing and analysing the behaviour and actions of the “Cerrajeros” allows me to reflect on new ways of interacting within the urban context.

I ask myself how I would act if I would be one of them and what techniques I would adopt to differentiate myself from my opponents.

The spreading of the message is done by following exactly the same moves as them, making sure to blend in as much as possible within the Playground.

The content of the following stickers does not aim to give any solution, but rather to find one elsewhere.

As soon as I cover a competitor's sticker, I am aware that I am becoming part of that silent urban guerrilla that fascinates me so much and I wonder how my opponents will react to this nonsense.

The content of each sticker maintains the order of the texts that are generally used: profession, availability qualification, telephone number, skills.

In this case, what is different from the classic stickers are the qualifications and skills suggested, which can never be useful to those who interface with them.

The action is carried out in exactly the same way as any other Cerrajeros, operating more on shutters and intercoms, but above all covering the stickers already present in the playground.

I wonder if the use of a these kind of shapes, colours and texts will allow me to camouflage myself within the urban fabric in a silent but effective way.
I also wonder how my intervention might be interpreted by the 'competition' and how they will relate to it.

self_else 2022