Herman Zapf

Herman Zapf was a German Typographer  who’s career spanned across three recent stages of printing,   Hot Metal Composition , Photo, Typesetting and Digital.

Zapf was best known for Palatino and Optima, were designed in 1948 and 1952.  Palatino was designed in conjunction with August Rosenberger, with careful attention to detail. It was named after the 16th century Italian writing master Giambattista Palatino. Palatino became better known after it became one of the core 35 PostScript fonts in 1984, bundled with virtually all PostScript devices from laser printers to imagesetters.


Optima, a flared sans-serif, was released by Stempel in 1958. Zapf intended the design to bridge serifs and sans-serifs, and to be suitable for both headings and continuous passages of text

Zapf’s typefaces have been widely copied, usually but not always against his will. The best known example may be Monotype’s Book Antiqua, which shipped with Microsoft Office and is often considered an imitation of Palatino.

Sometimes, Zapf worked with a font maker to make new versions of his existing typefaces created for another company. For example, in the 1980s Zapf worked with Bitstream to make versions of many of his prior typefaces, including Palatino, Optima and Melior, all with “Zapf” in their new names.

Zapf also designed Dingbats, which  originally had been a selection of 360 symbols, ornaments and typographic elements from over 1200 designs. The exisiting Zapf Dingbats offers a small selection out of this great offer.

With the design of these dingbats  Herman Zapf paved the way for the emoticon

On the 25th of may 2010 Herman Zapf was awarded with the order of merit of the federal republic of Germany.

Herman died just last year on the fourth of june  at the age 0f 96

















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