Post 14 (Odin): 1980’s Type designer, Zuzana Licko

Posted: June 12, 2012 by Odin in Uncategorized

Czech born Zuzana Licko, emigrated as a child to the US, and in 1984 at age 23 she graduated with a degree in Graphic Communication. The same year she co-founded Émigré (typefaces and magazine) with her husband Rudy Vanderlans. 1984 was also the year of the release of the first Macintosh personal computer, which Zuzana (and Émigré as a whole) embraced whole-heartedly.

As a typographer, Zuzana was faced with the challenge of creating fonts that worked with the first generation of computer monitors and printers. At the time, computer printers were dot matrix printers, where the printing was achieved by use of round pin striking a ribbon, much like a typewriter. Also at the time screen resolution was such that the pixels were relatively large. Because of these limitations, typefaces had to be designed to be legible in the new formats.

Czech born Zuzana Licko, emigrated as a child to the US, and in 1984 at age 23 she graduated with a degree in Graphic Communication. The same year she co-founded Émigré (typefaces and magazine) with her husband Rudy Vanderlans. 1984 was also the year of the release of the first Macintosh personal computer, which Zuzana (and Émigré as a whole) embraced whole-heartedly.

Emigre cover (1988)

As a typographer, Zuzana was faced with the challenge of creating fonts that worked with the first generation of computer monitors and printers. At the time, computer printers were dot matrix printers, where the printing was achieved by use of round pin striking a ribbon, much like a typewriter. Also at the time screen resolution was such that the pixels were relatively large. Because of these limitations, typefaces had to be designed to be legible in the new formats.

Lo-Res (1985)

“… it was physically impossible to adapt 8-point Goudy Old Style to 72 dots to the inch. In the end you couldn’t tell Goudy Old Style from Times Roman or any other serif text face”

pages from Zuzana’s book of typography

As monitor and printer resolution and technology improved, so Zuzana’s typefaces became more detailed, often updating traditional font families for the new technology.

In the 1980’s Émigré received widespread acclaim, not to mention a certain amount of criticism, for pioneering the first widespread digital typefaces. Émigré fonts graced magazine covers, were used in advertisements and billboards and became synonymous with the 1980’s as a decade, of which Zuzana Licko was a chief architect.

Matrix II (1985)

Bibliography:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zuzana_Licko

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emigre

http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A30188|A%3AAR%3AE%3A1&page_number=12&template_id=1&sort_order=1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emigre

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dot_matrix_printing

http://www.emigre.com/Licko3.php

http://theredlist.fr/wiki-2-343-917-999-view-publishing-profile-licko-zuzana-rudy-vanderlans.html

“… it was physically impossible to adapt 8-point Goudy Old Style to 72 dots to the inch. In the end you couldn’t tell Goudy Old Style from Times Roman or any other serif text face”

As monitor and printer resolution and technology improved, so Zuzana’s typefaces became more detailed, often updating traditional font families for the new technology.

In the 1980’s Émigré received widespread acclaim, not to mention a certain amount of criticism, for pioneering the first widespread digital typefaces. Émigré fonts graced magazine covers, were used in advertisements and billboards and became synonymous with the 1980’s as a decade, of which Zuzana Licko was a chief architect.

Bibliography:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zuzana_Licko

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emigre

http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A30188|A%3AAR%3AE%3A1&page_number=12&template_id=1&sort_order=1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emigre

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dot_matrix_printing

http://www.emigre.com/Licko3.php

http://theredlist.fr/wiki-2-343-917-999-view-publishing-profile-licko-zuzana-rudy-vanderlans.html

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