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Toro Bravo, Spanish bull symbol

Toro Bravo, Spanish bull symbol

In Spain, the place somewhere along the roadside can run into a big black bull symbol. Originally the bull was an advertisement for Veterano Brandy and was commissioned in 1956 by the Osborne Group advertising agency in Azor. The artistic director of Azor was the graphic designer Manolo Prieto, who suggested the silhouette of the current bull by the name Toro de la Carretera, or "road bull".


Manolo Prieto (Puerto de Santa María, 1912-Madrid, 1991) was a pioneer in graphic design in Spain, which designed advertising material for a number of agencies and companies, such as Renfe, Iberia, Frigo, El Gaitero, Nestlé, etc. 2003 his most famous work, that is to say, the most iconic image of the road bull in the 1900s.

The first road-mounted bull was in the Cabanillas de la Sierra on the road between Madrid and Burgos in 1957. The first bulls were made of wood and the height was 4 meters, but they were badly weathered. In 1961, they were converted into metal and they were 7 meters high, but only a year later, due to new state road traffic rules in 1962, bulls had to be moved farther away from you so as not to disturb drivers. Because they were not as good as they were so far, the bulls were bigger in size so that they could be seen from a new distance up the road. Thus, they were replaced with 4,000-pound metal plates with a height of 14 meters and an area of 150 m2.

In 1988, the public highway law ordered the removal of advertising elements outside "urban roads" (less than 150 meters from the highway), and Osborne mailed advertising texts from the bull, thus circulating the law and maintaining the black silhouettes of the bulls.


In 1994, a new public release on road traffic also attempted to get rid of Orborne's uncompromising bullshit, but the city councils and autonomous communities launched the campaign "Save the Bull", which defended Osborne's bulls on cultural grounds.

Finally, in 1997, the Supreme Court declared that Osborne's bull silk was merely a commercial one and, moreover, was well integrated into the landscape. Already over 60 years old, Toro Bravo or Osborne's bull has received countless accolades and has been the focus of many cultural and artistic activities, and now the road to which Prieto gave life is often printed on Spanish flags.

Sources:www.elperiodico.com, elpais.com, https://graffica.info/el-toro-de-osborne-manolo-prieto/, http://www.brandemia.org/la-historia-del-toro-de-osborne

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