The designs of César Manrique have not just transformed the island; they have also been key in marketing it, with a series of logos that continue to define the island’s tourist image.
The most famous Manrique logo is, without doubt, the “black sun” image that greets every arrival to the airport and continues to be used to market the island internationally. It’s a timeless design that was commissioned by the Cabildo in 1992, and cannot be used without their permission.
The logo is clearly influenced by the one that the Catalan artist Joan Miró created for Spain’s tourist board nine years earlier, using the same red, black and yellow colour scheme that reflects the flag of Spain. However, Manrique’s logo adds vivid red rays radiating from a volcanic black circle, and a crescent moon is also clearly visible.
The nature-loving Manrique also could not resist adding a splash of green to the logo – the island’s name appears entirely in the colour.
Miró’s logo was hugely successful and led to several other countries adopting new logos for their tourist boards. But Spain and Lanzarote have remained faithful to these iconic images, whose power is demonstrated by the fact that they are still used by the tourist boards, and have not been changed or updated for decades.
Another famous logo of Manrique’s is the monograph that became the logo of his foundation at Tahiche. Consisting of the artist’s initials in red and black, with clear echoes of the island’s volcanoes and sun, it’s a simple, devastatingly effective design.
Manrique also created images for each of the island’s seven cultural and artistic centres (CACTs), the most famous of which is probably the Devil of Timanfaya. This was created as a joke by Manrique about the volcanic heartland of the island’s resemblance to a fiery hellscape, but it has taken on a life of its own and has even resulted in a false “legend” being invented and widely spread about a mysterious devil that appeared during the eruptions in the 18th century.
Then there is the crab of Jameos del Agua, referring to the unique animals that live in the tunnel; and the fish that guides the way to the Mirador del Río. The CACT department itself is also defined an elegant Manrique logo.
In Arrecife, the César Manrique secondary school and the adult-training centre both bear Manrique-designed logos, and the artist was not at all adverse to lending his talents to business, either. Every bottle of wine from the El Grifo bodega bears the griffin logo he created for his friends at the winery; while the Canary Island Car (CICAR) hire car company continues to use a dynamic Manrique-signed logo.
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