It was said of the great British architect, Sir Christopher Wren (1632-1723), "if you seek his monument – look around you." Well, that may be true if you were standing in certain parts of London, but in the case of Hermann Zapf, if you want to see his monument, you can look around you almost anywhere in the world. Today, virtually every personal computer has some Hermann Zapf typefaces in use, from “Book Antiqua” (Microsoft’s name for their version of Palatino, originally designed in 1948 and adapted for various technologies since); to Zapfino, released in 1998 and since a component of the Mac OS.
Please join us from 6:30 to 8:30 pm on 9 November (the day after what would have been Zapf's 97th birthday) at The Grolier Club, 47 East 60th Street, for a celebration of the life of the greatest type designer, calligrapher, and typographer of our time: Hermann Zapf, 8 November 1918 -- 4 June 2015.
Zapf’s calligraphy has been inspirational for several generations of calligraphers. He set a new standard, and one might even say a new direction for the art; a direction which has become so much of a standard over the past fifty years or more that it is hard to notice from such a close vantage point that a seismic shift has occurred.
It is through calligraphy’s sister art, type design, that Zapf is best known. His Palatino design of 1949 would prove to be one of his most popular and admired typeface designs, still used widely today, almost seventy years after it was drawn. Like his hand lettering Palatino represented a sea-change in the art of type design, and was hugely influential to succeeding generations of type designers. As with Zapf’s calligraphy, his influence on type design became pervasive. Perhaps Zapf's most revolutionary typeface design is the Optima font issued in 1958. Not so well known, but also exemplary, is Zapf’s work as a book designer and typographer.
It is difficult to sum up such an enormous figure in the history of the letter arts in a few words. The type designer Adam Twardoch has written: “The word “legend” should be used sparsely, but Hermann Zapf definitely deserves it.”