That moment is in the early spring of 1997, when Emigre magazine published its 42nd issue. Emigre was initially launched in Sacramento, CA, by Rudy VanderLans (who was born in Holland) as a magazine to showcase the cultural contributions of émigrés like himself. But by issue 3, in late 1985, VanderLans had begun to experiment with his wife Zuzana Licko’s coarse-resolution typefaces, like this one.
A discussion between Rob Giampietro and Rudy VanderLans about guilt and loss in graphic design.
Rudy VanderLans, editor, Emigre: When writer/designer Rob Giampietro approached me a few months back with the idea to write an article about graphic design in the ’90s, he brought up an unrelated topic during our conversation that I found intriguing; he mentioned the term “Default Systems Design.” He said it was the topic for another article he had been working on for the past few months. It’s curious how certain ideas reach critical mass. In Emigre #64 a number of contributors, independently from each other, each made note of the emergence of a new kind of graphic design that seems to rely heavily on the use of systems and defaults. Just when you think graphic design is in a coma, something’s taking root. Reprinted here is how we arrived at the topic, as well as edited segments of the rest of the dialogue.