Emigre(Berkeley, California, Established 1984)
Rudy VanderLansDutch (The Hague, Netherlands, 1955)
Zuzana LickoCzech (Bratislava, Czechoslovakia [now Slovakia], 1961)
Emigre, no. 18 (Type-Site)
Published from 1984 through 2005, Emigre magazine was a venue for radical innovations in type and graphic design. The publication, based in Berkeley and Sacramento and edited by Rudy VanderLans, presented an array of work by different designers as part of an ongoing discussion about the nature of design. Each issue displayed new typefaces, many of them by magazine cofounder Zuzana Licko.
The emergence and growth of this publication coincided with the breakdown of rigid rules that had long governed the realm of graphic design. VanderLans and Licko were among the first designers to realize the immense freedom offered by the Macintosh computer, which replaced the laborious construction of page layouts and limits in the variety of type with endless possibilities for composing imagery and text. The computer, reflecting a popular culture inundated with "bytes" of information and commercial messages, breaks all information down to its simplest pieces. Emigre's designers picked up those pieces and reassembled them in ways that broke the rules of traditional design and asserted the pure power of the abstract sign, letter, or image.
Emigre showed that design, rather than relying on fixed grids and a limited range of typefaces, can encompass a variety of writings, imagery, and organizational patterns at the same time. The very act of assembling a text for publication was part of the magazine's message, and the strategies the designers developed for creating order made that meaning into the subject of design. They did so in way that sometimes seemed chaotic but was always extremely effective. By taking apart the page, Emigre's editors and contributors changed that once-pristine site of communication into a place that continually questioned how we read, the way design constructs content out of the very means of representation, and the nature of the mark or sign.