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Zapf, Hermann

Zapf, Hermann, 1918–2015, German calligrapher and type designer, b. Nuremberg. While apprenticing as a photo retoucher (1934–38) Zapf became interested in the work of calligrapher and typographer Rudolf Koch and taught himself calligraphy. He served as a German army cartographer in World War II, then worked for the Frankfurt foundry D. Stempel AG, where he designed his first typeface, the heavily calligraphic Gilgingart. Zapf, who taught periodically at the Darmstadt Univ. of Technology (1972–81) and the Rochester Institute of Technology (1977–87), developed typographical computer software, and was also a book designer and a consultant to Hallmark Cards. His best-known type fonts include Palatino, the sans-serif Optima, the calligraphic Zapfino, and Zapf Dingbats, whose hearts, arrows, scissors, stars, and other icons influenced the later use of emojis and emoticons.

See his Hermann Zapf and His Design Philosophy (1987) and Alphabet Stories (2007) J. Kelly, Spend Your Alphabets Lavishly! (2007) R. Cusick, What Our Lettering Needs (2011).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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