Plazm Magazine: Documenting Creative Culture Since 1991
Plazm is a magazine of design, art, and culture with worldwide distribution. Founded by artists as a creative resource, the magazine is now published by the nonprofit New Oregon Arts & Letters. Order Plazm #30 now.
Regarding the design, typography and legibility of this publication:
Published in Plazm #6,
page #1, circa 1994, the height of the so-called "legibility
wars." Original layout pictured above.
Modern industrial society is based on rapid
stimulus, immediate gratification and superfluous over consumption. The
number under the age of 18 who don’t read increases exponentially as
information is spoon fed to them through modern methods of convenience in
communication. Design can help to overcome this hurdle by sensibly
communicating ideas. This is not always the result of our attempts.
We are committed to an evolving aesthetic, to challenging the
status quo and our readers on a variety of levels. Writing, illustration,
photography, and many other forms of expression are submitted to us from
around the world. Three quarters of the magazine is this work. The
designers who create the layouts which make up Plazm are given a great
deal of latitude in their interpretation of submitted art. What you are
seeing is one artist’s translation of another artist’s work.
We encourage interaction between the artists in this process.
There is a balance which we try to maintain between exploration of form
and the communication of ideas. Some readers may choose to interpret a
layout as being unreadable; as having crossed that line between form and
function. The question is: If we didn’t experiment, if we set all
our type in a three column grid, would you even be interested? Probably
not. The “Clean Grid of Modernity"* has been formally rejected
by the nihilism of the Industrial Youth Culture.
renaissance in typography and the deconstructivist design movement that
adjoins it are a pure expression of our cultural climate. We are all
products of our surroundings. Legibility in typography is a direct result
of a reader’s familiarity with the typeface.** The frenetic pace
of the information age decreases the probability that what you see will be
immediately readable. A person may actually have to spend some time with
written words in order to understand them.
The future is a
choice, not an obligation.
* Thank you Mr. Vignelli
** Thank you Ms. Licko