Remembering Hermann Zapf

Hermann Zapf, type designer, has died at the age of 96 years in Darmstadt. He has seen the typography scene transform into the computer age and affected four generations of typographers decisively. His ideas about the writing and the computerized typesetting developed by Zapf in Germany, where they were initially ridiculed; He owed his international reputation the US. Until his death, Hermann Zapf has been working on his life’s work. Last Linotype Palatino Nova and Palatino Sans emerged under his leadership. In addition to Zapf Palatino has become world famous owing to his writings Optima, Zapfino, Melior, Aldus and Zapf Dingbats. Overall, he developed more than 200 fonts.

Font family of Mathematics

In the cultures and close communication with companies such as Xerox and IBM dialog that Hermann Zapf-program was created with its algorithms for computer-aided printing technology. Along with Donald Knuth Zapf worked on scripts for Knuth’s TeX typesetting program, which in turn led to the creation of a special font family for mathematics, the Euler. Although Zapf until his death the computer might not particularly, his design was also good writings on the screen a major concern. In 1993, he wrote in an essay on the hz-program that provides the technology must not be an excuse for poor typography.

Zapfino, Lucida, Optima

His writings computer counts the Zapfino that Steve Jobs so admired that it acquired the rights in 2001. Digitization worried Zapfs student Akira Kobayashi. Zapf himself praised the Lucida, which was developed by his students Kris Holmes and Charles Bigelow. His own favorite font was the Optima, which was used at the memorial for the American dead of the Vietnam War.

In 2001, Zapf designed the multimedia CD The World of the alphabet, for which he wrote the text and chose all the images and the music. He described it as a Gesamtkunstwerk of his ideas. His artistic work is kept in the Herzog August Library in Wolfenbüttel. His legacy continues Gudrun Zapf-von Hesse in Darmstadt, now 97 years old.