I am pleased to introduce the inaugural issue of American Asparagus, which has tremendously benefited from the efforts of our contributors, our editorial board, our art director, and our friends in Chicago and throughout the world. This issue presents a collection of works that blur genre categories and challenge distinctions between creative and academic, including a photo essay, a painting, a musical score, a short story, several works of criticism, and a satirical news article. These pieces align with our “generative typography” design philosophy, which is based on continually shifting forms.
The design for this issue draws particular inspiration from the works of Swiss typographer Karl Gerstner, who experimented with algorithmic methods of design in the 1950s and 1960s. American Asparagus continues in the spirit of Gerstner, but takes a random and probabilistic, rather than deterministic, approach. I hope you examine the ways in which our design continually—and, at times, radically—shifts and adapts based on user input. The stylistic elements that our readers favor (which we estimate with a number of variables) have a greater chance of influencing the design, and I encourage you to explore the diversity of forms offered in and of this issue.