For the packaging of Mexico’s premium craft beer, Cerveceria Sagrada, Mexican designer Jose Guizar built a brand identity around the nation’s legendary luchadors enmascarado (masked wrestlers). A beloved pop icon, the masked wrestlers were the first superheroes of Mexico. The colorful stylized masks they wore were designed to represent ancient heroes, deities, and animals — sacred identities that wrestlers assumed during their performance. The ferocious-looking masks reinforced the impression that the wrestlers were more than ordinary mortals. The most famous luchador, known simply as El Santo (the Saint), never removed his mask in public even in retirement. He was even buried wearing his silver mask.
In the 1950s, masked wrestlers became Mexico’s first pop culture icons, with El Santo turned into a comic book hero by artist Jose G. Cruz. The popular comics quickly led into a series of lucha libre action films in which the silver-masked El Santo defended the common people against supernatural creatures, evil scientists, vampires, secret agents and other villains. To this day, the masked wrestlers of Mexico embody the mystery, mystique and machismo of the culture.