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Designer Zuzana Licko Research Paper


Zuzana Licko is one of the most prominent type designers in the USA. This designer has created a number of fonts which are now used excessively. She is also a co-founder of a designer magazine Émigré (Dover 9). She and her husband run a company selling typefaces and producing ceramics, T-shirts, etc. (Dover 9).

Notably, Licko stresses that the career of a type designer does not receive the necessary recognition (Rubinstein n.p.). Nonetheless, the designer loves her job and she is very creative. Interestingly, Licko was studying architecture at the University of California (Berkeley) when she met Rudy VanderLans (who became her husband).

Zuzana Licko was thinking of changing the major at that moment and she became interested in typography when she saw the project Rudy VanderLans had been working on (Dover 9). The two creative people got married and started a designer magazine as they understood that the works of type designers needed promotion as well as their own works.

Noteworthy, Licko is inspired by classical forms. At the same time, the designer creates new forms and does not like any boundaries (Rubinstein n.p.). Her innovative and technological approach has been awarded a number of times. It is important to note that Licko and her husband employed software when the rest of the designers tried to stick to more traditional ways of production (Rubinstein n.p.).

One of her works is the font “Mrs Eaves” created in 1996 (“Zuzana Licko”). It was first used in their magazine Émigré. The typeface is based on the well-known font Baskerville which is regarded as a conventional typeface. Importantly, this font is an example of the designer’s adherence to classical forms and her technological approach. The lines are rather laconic, but there is also certain artistic touch, so-to-speak.

Another font, which is quite popular, is “Base 12 Sans” created in 1995 and first used in Émigré website (“Zuzana Licko”). The typeface is more technological than the previous one and it is also more innovative (Rubinstein n.p.). The major goal of the font was to emphasize the idea of modernity and innovation as it was placed on the Internet. Licko stresses that the use of Macintosh was crucial for the development of her career and her creativity (Rubinstein n.p.).

Another font that can illustrate Licko’s technological approach is “Oakland” which was created in 2001 and first appeared in Émigré (“Zuzana Licko”). The font grabs attention and creates a specific impression of the modern technological and digital world (Rubinstein n.p.). Again, Licko used Macintosh to create the font. The use of technology has always been one of the designer’s peculiarities.

Remarkably, Zuzana Licko created fonts which were used in their magazine. Therefore, her works could be ‘sold’ and promoted at once in their own magazine. The type designer did not have to look for clients as they had a very efficient way to promote their products. They also have a company producing ceramics and garments where the fonts can be exploited.

To sum up, it is possible to note that Zuzana Licko is one of the most remarkable type designers. First of all, she manages to combine conventions and technology. She creates fonts which are efficient and successful. Secondly, she also manages to create the need in her products. Her and her husband’s company and magazine are used as the necessary ways to promote the designer’s products.

Works Cited

Dover, Caitlin. “Zuzana Licko & Rudy VanderLans.” Print Magazine 64.3 (2010): 9. Print.

Rubinstein, Rhonda. “Reputations: Zuzana Licko.” Eye Magazine Spring 2002. Web.

Zuzana Licko 2013. Web. <>.

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"Designer Zuzana Licko." IvyPanda, 18 June 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/zuzana-licko/.

1. IvyPanda. "Designer Zuzana Licko." June 18, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/zuzana-licko/.


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IvyPanda. 2019. "Designer Zuzana Licko." June 18, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/zuzana-licko/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Designer Zuzana Licko'. 18 June.

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