Zuzana Licko helped reshape the discourse of digital type. When most type designers felt hindered by the limitations of the early computer and its inability to replicate existing technology, Zuzana was intrigued and inspired. The coarse resolution of the screen presented a new and unexplored challenge for typeface design. Intricate details of conventional types were lost in the harsh bitmap format. Undaunted by this, Zuzana experimented with these restrictions to turn the visual limitations into creative challenges. The new aesthetic she helped innovate is a feature of her early work: straight stems and jagged edges.
Zuzana contributed her typefaces to Emigre magazine, the distinguished design journal she co-founded with her husband Rudy VanderLans. The magazine’s success created a demand for her types that encouraged the foundation of Emigre Inc., an independent manufacturer and distributor of fonts. Zuzana’s work evolved as technology improved. Coarse bitmap fonts were followed by sensitive revivals of Baskerville (Mrs Eaves) and Bodoni (Filosofia). In 1994, Emigre received the prestigious Chrysler Award for innovation in design.
In 2013, the Society of Typographic Aficionados (SOTA) honored Zuzana Licko with the Typography Award for outstanding contribution to the type community.