Span’s Homage To Lowrider Car Culture

A Retrospective Book On An American Folk Art


Span has designed Slow & Low, a retrospective book of Chicago’s Lowrider community. Lowrider culture was created by Mexican-American veterans in the 1940s during the U.S.’s fixation on cars rebuilt as “hotrods.” Today Lowrider culture is a recognized form of American folk art that is made up of Chicano, Mexican, Aztec and classic car culture.



Founded in 2011 originally as an annual Chicago street festival, Slow & Low has since grown to a high profile event with over 10,000 attendees. For the last 2 years it has taken over Navy Pier, the largest tourist destination in the Midwest. The Slow & Low Festival celebrates Lowrider culture in a tour-de-force of gravity-defying, candy colored rebuilt classic cars, along with Chicano, Mexican, and Aztec art and performances.




Independently published by Slow & Low, a local non-profit lowrider organization, the project – designed and produced by Span – showcases a photographic archive that documents twelve years of Chicago’s Lowrider community, and a culture of creativity and defiance like no other, through the lens of Slow & Low festivals. The 112-page photo essay is printed in full color, with each photo receiving a spot gloss varnish on an already high-gloss, coated paper.



The cover features customized Slow & Low lettering, designed by Spanthat mirrors letterforms found on the eye-catching cars, the chromed plaques of the car clubs, and the masthead of the Chicano-American cult-classic magazine Teen Angels.



Every editorial design move Span made for Slow & Low is connected to Lowrider culture: the photographic compositions create a filmic cadence that provides the viewer with a sense of cruising and bouncing; the type is set with a sense of physics likened to the hydraulic jumps of a lowrider; and the photo archive is shot by 14 celebrated community photographers. Featuring levitating rebuilt custom classic cars, the family members keeping Lowrider culture alive, and the social setting surrounded by art and expression, Slow & Low is the first Lowrider book to capture the true spirit of the Lowrider community.



Creative credits go to Nick Adam for Design Direction, Design, Content Collection & Curation, Cheryl Kao and Grace Song for Design, Lauren M. Pacheco and Dr. Ben Chappell as Writers, and OMG for Printing.