Remembering Hermann Zapf

My calligrapher friend Maria Brenny once told me of the delight she felt poking around the archives of Hallmark, where she discovered the archives of Mr. Hermann Zapf, designer of everything from Optima to Zapf Dingbats to Zapfino (used in our wedding invitations).

Zapf passed away last Thursday, and remembrances of his life call out the debt we all owe him:

Zapf was among the pioneers of computerized typography, experimenting with computer-aided typesetting from the 1960s. He led a seminal design program at the Rochester Institute of Technology where collaborated with computer scientists and became acquainted with IBM and Xerox. Zapf invented a typesetting program called Hz-program, which later informed the design of the desktop publishing software Adobe InDesign.

By coincidence the Kelly-Winterton Press is kickstarting The Hermann Zapf Sketchbook Project:

In 1939, just as he was beginning his career as a graphic artist, Hermann Zapf was conscripted into the German army. He started working on a series of sketchbooks, small enough to keep in his uniform pocket at all times, and continued them throughout the war years. Although a handful of the pages have been reproduced previously, only a very few people have ever seen the contents of these three clothbound volumes in their entirety. Now, with the cooperation of the artist himself, the Hermann Zapf Sketchbook Facsimile Project will make the complete work available for the first time.

Bonus: My friends Matthew & Lori are big type nerds, and at age 3 their son Cooper was a big Zapfino fan. 🙂

Lastly, Hallmark produced this work with Zapf in the 1960s:


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