The Emigre Archive is Acquired

Posted inThe Daily Heller
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This is the season for establishing designer, design and typographic archives. It’s a time when basements and closets are being emptied and, if we’re lucky, the invaluable objects therein will be saved.

Coincidentally—or biologically—the current masters of graphic design history have become aware that their artifacts (records, sketches, documents of all kinds) demand preservation, if not for today’s scholars then for tomorrow’s. George Lois recently donated his massive legacy to CCNY. Massimo Vignelli’s, Herb Lubalin’s and Milton Glaser’s archival centers (at RIT, Cooper Union and SVA/NYC, respectively) are actively acquiring materials from a slew of important practitioners (and these are but a few). Archives take money, energy and expertise to manage and maintain in order to make them available to scholars and students, but the need, want and determination to make them happen is occurring right now.


One such repository of distinction, the Letterform Archive, has just announced it is the new home of the Emigre archive, “thanks to the generosity of Emigre’s founders, Rudy VanderLans and Zuzana Licko,” says Rob Saunders.


This inspiring donation includes the original paste-up for the Emigre logo, paste-ups for Emigre magazine and a complete run of the publication, plus audio tapes of interviews, merchandise, ephemera, typeface development files, and type catalogs. And it comes on the heels of the publication of Emigre Fonts: Type Specimens 1986-2016.


This incredible record of 30 years of achievement also solidifies the role of Emigre as the first independent type foundry to focus explicitly on technology surrounding the personal computer. Their early work in type and graphic design illustrates the crucial transition of the design process from analog to digital.

The Letterform Archive will grant access to a range of Emigre’s materials as it incorporates this donation into programs that introduce a broader audience to Emigre’s history and influential work.


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