Week 41 – ZUZANA Licko & RUDY VanderLans – The Quiet Rebels

For my Intro to Typography class I chose to do a layout and own story on the amazing Zuzana Licko & Rudy VanderLans. From my intro:

1984 was the year of a typographic revolution. However, typographic revolutions rarely make headlines, but that does not mean that they do not create waves. While for the rest of the typography world it was business as usual, somewhere in the suburbs of California a Dutch émigré launched an obscure magazine for fellow designer exiles called just that – Émigré. But what really set this revolution in motion is that this designer happened to acquire a revolutionary new tool for setting the design of this magazine – a Mac. Oh, and he also happened to be married to a fellow designer and émigré, the Czech born Zuzana Licko. Together, they unknowingly started a design revolution.



While these people and their stories are inspirational this project was extremely difficult. It is also the project that has taken the longest to do so far due to all the revisions. I love almost all aspects of design, but layout is NOT one. Even before this project when we got the chance to play with layouts and learn them a bit, I did not take well to it, so it is no surprise that I hated this. Every moment of it, except the writing and learning part. I couldn’t see past the grids or have an appropriate layout. I kept on worrying about it being creative and looking cool so when I actually went in to play with it, it looked awful. I didn’t know if the design or the story should come first, whether one should influence the other. Finally, I barricaded myself in my empty office sat down and wrote…and wrote and wrote. Then I realized the design had to change to fit the new longer story but now I only had half the battle won…


I tried to do thumbnails but they didn’t lend themselves well to the layout. Then, everything had to be changed in InDesign anyway. And to add insult to injury, I did not know how to properly use InDesign! But I think it’s the idea of layout is what really bugged me. In the last few months that I have been in grad school I’ve used many new programs I have not used before but this just wasn’t something that I was interested it. But I knew I had to sit there and learn and understand this. So I threw out the first 3 designs completely (you will NOT see them here, its like a really bad before photo) and went back to what I knew, images. I asked for some feedback, actually printed the layouts, cut em up and started playing with paper (photos above) on the floor – outside the computer. I should have known better!

  • I kept the original yin/yang design with the Filosofia & symbol but used it as a supportive design element
  • I used a better photo but blew it up and cropped it
  • I put their best quotes on them given the space and lack of room for them elsewhere
  • I organized the verbose text into sections
  • I added the best magazine samples I found
  • I gave only the best examples of the type I wanted to emphasize
  • I decided not to have overlapping designs as the page are folded in the middle (are joined here) and I didn’t want to slice any visuals
So am I happy with it now? Yes! It is my “vision” of creativity and amazing work? No. But you know what, it’s OK. I am in school to learn and that is exactly what I did with this article. I now know how to do a different approach, how to use the pr
ogram much better and the more comfortable I feel, the more I can start to experiment. I will never be a Zuzana of type and Rudy of layout, nor do I want to be.That bar is set so high I wouldn’t reach it on a ladder. But now I see that my true love, interaction design begins with interactions of ideas and layout which is handy, important and is just another step towards what would make be a fully rounded designer.

Please, do not let me rant on further. Read the story about these amazing people if you have not yet and take a moment to appreciate typography and the impact they had on it.

PS: You can see and download the Calameo version of my paper:

Part of 52 weeks creative project. Do something creative and interesting every week for 52 weeks a year!

Digital nerd. Photo taker. Pinterest addict. Coffee chugger. Dog owner. Mirror wireframer. Glasses wearer. Life observer. Grad student. New Yorker.

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