Emigre magazine was published between 1984 and 2005. A total of 69 issues were produced, sometimes on a quarterly basis, but more often irregularly. The title of the magazine means immigrant and it was dutch immigrant, Rudy Vanderlans and his wife Zuzana Licko who founded Emigre. Vanderlans was the editor, while Licko designed the famous Emigre fonts .
Although showcasing work of unheard of artists, immigrants, and new graduates, the aspect of Emigre that truly made waves in the design world was the layout and type choices that rejected traditional grid structures, ideas of legibility, and aesthetics. Vanderlans preferred organic grid structures that reflected his enthusiasm toward the contents. Computerized page composition gave him the flexibility to reinvent the look of the magazine with every issue. Emigre emerged at a time when technology was changing design forever and the magazine sizzled with this energy and excitement.
Emigre was one of the first publications to use Mac computers and had a huge influence on graphic designers moving into desktop publishing. Licko used the newly invented Macintosh computer and a bitmap font tool, to create the fonts and these fonts soon became commercially successful. Her ascendance in a primarily male-dominated profession and her bypassing of traditional training have been an inspiration to a generation of font designers.
The Aiga essay on Vanderlans and Licko states,"Brian Eno's quip about the Velvet Underground—that only a few thousand people bought their record but every one of them went on to form a band—could apply as well to Emigré. Although the print run of the first issue was 500 copies and its circulation peaked at 7,000 several years ago, its reverberations are still being felt around the world." It has "stimulated designers to defy, and even overthrow, entrenched rules and to set new standards."
Rick Poynor states, "For me, like many others galvanised by graphic design during Emigre's heyday, the magazine was the most consistently interesting design publication produced anywhere by anyone. By 1990,it was one of those magazines you simply had to get hold of and read straight away"
The Emigré sensibility has achieved commercial acceptance by popularizers like David Carson. No longer viewed as radical or unique, the work of Licko and VanderLans regularly garners accolades from many notables in the field.
Emigre magazine is in the permanent design collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York, the Design Museum in London, and the Denver Art Museum