The Legibility Wars are Over and the Winner is... 05.22.2011
Twenty years after we first published our thoughts on legibility in Emigre magazine, the rest of the world is finally catching up. We raised a lot of eyebrows in those days. Our less than neutral layouts and jarring typeface designs were criticized and dismissed as self indulgent and were deemed to interfere with the readers' ability to read texts and comprehend messages. The opposition to our experiments was so vehement that the ensuing battle was referred to by many as "The Legibility Wars."
Well, it turns out that researchers have found what we suspected all along: that slowing the reader down actually helps them concentrate harder and retain more information. Disfluency, as the researchers call it, improves retention. Or as The New York Times put it: "...people retain significantly more material when they study it in a font that is not only unfamiliar but also hard to read."
Of course we're not absolutists on this issue, and we're highly skeptical of findings by researchers who have little knowledge of the complexities of type and design. But it was always obvious to us that there's more to effective typography than simply making things legible.
Books of Excellence 05.21.2011
When the AIGA decided to discontinue their annual design competition, "50 Books/50 Covers," in early 2011, members and non-members alike reacted en masse. Designers and publishers love the printed book, and a public petition to save "50/50" resulted in over a thousand signatures in only a few days convincing the AIGA to reinstate the popular competition.
It's inspiring to see this passionate interest in the art of traditional book making. And we're proud to be a part of this long running event, as Emigre and its publisher Gingko Press have been on the receiving end of two "50/50" Certificates of Excellence. In 2010 we received one for Emigre No. 70: The Look Back Issue. And in 2001 the award was bestowed on Supermarket.
Bitmapped Maple 04.20.2011
It is more than 20 years ago since Zuzana Licko, in reply to a skeptical question about the viability of her bitmapped typefaces in print applications, said: "why did letter press type start to look a certain way, and why was that eventually accepted? Not because people were reading the type off the bed of the letterpress. They were still reading it off the printed page. That didn't have anything more to do with casting lead than it does with computer chips today, but that's where it comes from, and that's what we've gotten used to."
Not to further complicate the issue, but if you're so inclined you can now read Licko's trademark bitmapped screen type off the bed of a letterpress as well.
These wonderful wood letters of Oakland (renamed Lo-Res in 2001) were created by Evan Christie, a student at Juliet Shen's Level 1 Typography class at the School of Visual Concepts in Seattle, WA. "Typefaces of the past, many of which are now staples of modern graphic design, took physical form as moveable type," said Evan. "I wanted to use a typeface that was never meant to take physical form, and Oakland was the perfect typeface to use because it embodies the birth of the digital era where nothing is tangible." Christie milled the maple down to type height and etched the letters in long strips using an epilog laser engraver. They were then cut off the strip into individual blocks.
It doesn't resolve any legibility issues, but it resulted in some beautiful prints and brought a smile to Zuzana's face. Thanks Evan!
(A flurry of attention has resurrected Oakland as of recently, as it is also one of 23 digital typefaces recently acquired by The Museum of Modern Art in New York.)
A Note on the Type 03.15.2011
The traditional practice of crediting fonts is a lost art today. Type designers are largely resigned to the notion of toiling in obscurity. So imagine our delight when the best-selling British author Simon Winchester himself contacted us to verify the accuracy of his colophon "A Note on the Type" to be published at the end of the text in his latest book Atlantic published by Harper Collins. The text of the book was set in Filosofia. And we couldn't be more grateful for the thoughtful acknowledgement.
Here's what Winchester wrote:
"The typeface employed throughout this book is a modern interpretation of the classic eighteenth century Bodoni face, and known as Filosofia. This was created in 1996 by the Bratislava-born type designer Zuzana Licko, who with her Dutch-born partner Rudy Vanderlans astonished the typographic world during the closing decades of the 20th century with a whirlwind of type design, largely occasioned by the invention of the Macintosh computer in 1984. Filosofia, with its slightly bulging serifs and lighter-than-classical-Bodoni vertical lines, clearly owes much to one of the most beloved of all Italian faces, but is more amiable and less wearing to the eyes when ranged over texts as lengthy and complex as that of Atlantic. I am proud that this book's designer felt able to employ this wonderful new typeface, and applaud with gratitude its most gifted creator. - SW"
Emigre Inducted 03.11.2011
Last October, Emigre founders Zuzana Licko and Rudy VanderLans were inducted as Honorary Members of the Society of Typographic Arts in Chicago.
"We feel quite fortunate to be doing what we love doing" said VanderLans, "and we always thought that was reward enough. So when the STA contacted us last year, and told us about the wonderful honor that they were planning to bestow upon Emigre, we were simply stunned."
Since its inception in Chicago in 1927, the STA has been a vital participant in the Chicago design community, sponsoring seminars and conferences, and developing publications. Honorary members include such luminaries of design as Saul Bass, Lester Beal, Mildred Friedman, Fredrick W. Goudy, Beatrice Ward, Herb Lubalin and Jan Tschichold to name but a few.
"This award is a great vote of confidence," said Licko, "and it inspires us to keep working even harder so that we may actually earn our stay among these giants of design. Thank you STA!"
Emigre Typefaces Enter MoMA Design Collection 02.20.2011
The Museum of Modern Art in New York has acquired 23 digital typefaces for their design and architecture collection. Included are five Emigre font families: Jeffery Keedy's Keedy Sans, Jonathan Barnbrook's Mason Serif, Barry Deck's Template Gothic, Zuzana Licko's Oakland (renamed Lo-Res in 2001), and P. Scott Makela's Dead History.
This acquisition marks the beginning of MoMA's effort to built a collection of typefaces documenting milestone designs covering the twentieth century. Working backwards they have started with the digital era.
MoMA based its selection on criteria ranging from aesthetics to historical relevancy, from functionality to social significance, from technological ingenuity to economy. "Several of the fonts we chose visually reflect very closely the time and place in which they were made," writes Senior Curator Paola Antonelli, "they represent a specific era in the digital revolution--the early 1990s, when digital typography was coming into its own. They were chosen based upon their importance to cultural history as well as their experimental aesthetics."
We're proud to be a part of this exciting new museum collection, and we're honored to find ourselves in the company of type designers we much admire such as Matthew Carter, Jonathan Hoefler, and Erik Spiekermann.
The typefaces will be on display at MoMA New York as part of the exhibit Standard Deviations which will open March 2, 2011.
Council Holding Court in New Orleans 01.20.2011
The professional basketball team New Orleans Hornets unveiled an updated logo design last Fall (see above) created by Logo Design Next in collaboration with the Hornets, the NBA and the sporting good company Adidas. We're happy to see yet another professional sporting team picking an Emigre typeface for their identity. The main typeface used by the Hornets is Council designed by John Downer.
There's nothing like watching sports and seeing your own typefaces in action (literally).
Below are three other professional sports teams donning Emigre fonts.
From top to bottom:
the Tampa Bay Buckaneers football team (Totally Gothic);
the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team (Matrix); and
the Baltimore Ravens football team (Matrix Display).
Emigre Magazine Preserved in Zurich 12.20.2010
Last month the Museum fur Gestaltung in Zurich acquired a set of Emigre magazine issues for its permanent design collection. Emigre couldn't be more proud to be a part of this esteemed bastion of design. Founded in 1878 as part of the Kunstgewerbeschule, the Museum fur Gestaltung Zurich considers itself to be Switzerland's premier design and visual communication museum, covering fields including design, furniture, fashion, graphics, photography and architecture. A complete list of institutions that hold sets of Emigre magazine in their collections can be seen here.
Lost Battlefield Marker Found 08.19.2010
This photo was sent to us by Scott Fajack, a very astute and observant reader of our recent Historia Type Specimen, in which Rudy VanderLans reports a missing historical marker designating the La Mesa Battlefield location in Vernon, CA. Thanks Scott!
Emigre Featured on Fast Company Website 08.18.2010
Check out Alissa Walker's interview with Emigre's Rudy VanderLans on FastCompany's Design website.
UNIQLO Loves Emigre (II)
Design is a Good Idea Mousepad
LACMA Acquires Emigre Posters
UNIQLO Loves Emigre
Design is a Good Idea
Emigre Fonts Type Sampler
Zuzana Licko Wins SOTA Award!
Emigre in Japan
Emigre Loves Ed
Talk of the Town
Cataloguing Emigre Magazine
Back to School Special
Designers & Books
Emigre in Brno
Big in Romania
Designers & Books
Alda Designer Berton Hasebe Receives Print Magazine Honors
Emigre Sponsors TYPO San Francisco 2012
Mr & Mrs Eaves Completed
Emigre at Museum of Modern and Contemp. Art in Bolzano, Italy
Base 900 PDF Catalog
Emigre at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
Emigre at Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Emigre at Contemporary Art Museum, Raleigh, NC
Emigre Fonts PDF Catalogs
The Legibility Wars are Over and the Winner is...
Books of Excellence
A Note on the Type
Emigre Typefaces Enter MoMA Design Collection
Council Holding Court in New Orleans
Emigre Magazine Preserved in Zurich
Lost Battlefield Marker Found
Emigre Featured on Fast Company Website
Emigre Publishes New Type Specimen
Emigre Book at Athenaeum Bookstore in Amsterdam
Emigre at Gallery 16
Emigre at Gallery 16 Installation
Emigre Book at SFMoMA Museum Store
Emigre Book at William Stout
Emigre Magazine at Berardo Museum in Lisbon, Portugal
Emigre Featured in IDEA Magazine
Brand New Emigre Catalog Arrives at Emeryville Warehouse
Emigre Puzzler Prints at North Berkeley Frame & Gallery
Emigre Photo Portfolio Presented at The Photography Show 2007
Emigre at the Museum of Modern Art, New York
Emigre Vases at Heath Ceramics
Emigre Photo at San Jose Museum of Art
A Graphic History of Emigre Magazine by Idea
Emigre Magazine at Visionaire Gallery
Emigre at the Centre Pompidou, Paris
Emigre and Gallery 16 Present: 13 Big Western Landscapes
by Rudy Vand
World Wide Farewell Tour
Fish Eye; A Talk for the Screen
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