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Hermann Zapf

Hermann Zapf

Information about the typeface designer Hermann Zapf and his fonts.

Hermann Zapf was born into a turbulent time in 1918 in Nuremberg, Germany. On the same day a worker's and soldiers' council took political control of the city, Munich and Berlin were in revolution, and the following day Kaiser Wilhelm fled to Holland. In addition to the political unrest, there was an epidemic of Spanish flu which is estimated to have killed some 20 million people. Zapf lost two of his siblings to the epidemic.

He joined the Karl Ulrich and Company printing firm, as an apprentice, in 1934. After this apprenticeship he worked with Paul Koch in Frankfurt. During this period he gained experience of working with handpress type and producing lettering for musical notation. However, his work was interrupted by the second world war and he worked as a cartographer in the German military. After the war Zapf worked at the Stempel AG typefoundry as artistic director.

In 1977 he was made Professor of Typographic Computer Programming at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York and his fonts Palatino, Optima, Zapf Chancery, and Zapf Dingbats are now familiar designs found on all personal computers. Optima, Zapf's personal favourite font, was selected for the engraved names on the Vietnam War Memorial.

From his first typeface designed when he was just 20 years old (Gilgengart), through more than 200 others right up to the present day, Zapf's work has achieved an unmatched popular success, while maintaining an aesthetic level which has earned him praise from professionals throughout the world. Several of his most popular type designs, such as Palatino, Optima, ITC Zapf Chancery Italic, and , are resident on most home computers. Other fonts, such as Michelangelo, Zapf International, and Zapf Renaissance - among numerous others - are the mainstay of many of the finest graphic designers of today.

Hermann Zapf is married to the type designer and lettering artist Gudrun Zapf von Hesse.

[SLC, Photo Emilio Naranjo]

Fonts designed by Hermann Zapf:

Aldus Nova
URW Antiqua
URW Antiqua Bold
URW Antiqua Condensed
URW Antiqua Extra Narrow
URW Antiqua Extra Wide
URW Antiqua Narrow
URW Antiqua Super
URW Antiqua Wide
URW Classico
Euler Text with Greek
URW Grotesk
URW Grotesk Bold
URW Grotesk Extra Narrow
URW Grotesk Extra Wide
URW Grotesk Narrow
URW Grotesk Wide
URW Latino
Medici Script
Melior Bold
Noris Script
Optima Bold
Optima Extra Black
Optima Nova
Palatino Bold
Palatino Bold Italic
Palatino Italic
Palatino Nova
Palatino Nova Imperial
Palatino Nova Titling
Palatino Sans
Palatino Sans Informal
URW Palladio
Sistina (URW)
Venture Script
Virtuosa Classic
ITC Zapf Book
ITC Zapf Book (EF)
Zapf Calligraphic 801
ITC Zapf Chancery
ITC Zapf Chancery (EF)
ITC Zapf Chancery Bold
ITC Zapf Chancery Italic
ITC Zapf Dingbats
Zapf Elliptical 711
Zapf Essentials Arrows One
Zapf Essentials Arrows Two
Zapf Essentials Communication
Zapf Essentials Markers
Zapf Essentials Office
Zapf Essentials Ornaments
Zapf Humanist 601
ITC Zapf International
ITC Zapf International (EF)
Zapf Renaissance Antiqua
EF Zapf Renaissance Antiqua B
EF Zapf Renaissance Antiqua H
Zapf Renaissance Antiqua SB
Zapf Renaissance Antiqua SB Bold
Zapf Renaissance Antiqua SH
Zapf Renaissance Antiqua SH Bold
Linotype Zapfino One
Linotype Zapfino Two

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