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Optima, as used in the September 11 Memorial in New York

Hermann Zapf (1918–2015)

Renowned type designer Hermann Zapf has passed away, according to the New York Times' Bruce Weber. Zapf was responsible for around 200 typefaces in numerous alphabets such as Arabic, Latin, Cherokee, and Cyrillic. Zapfino, Melior, Optima, and Palatino were among the fonts he created, and Weber points out that the Vietnam Veterans Memorial features names of veterans in Optima, Melior was used by the Village Voice for years, and Zapfino ships with every Macintosh computer.

“Last Thursday, all the rest of us moved up one,” said typographer and MacArthur fellow Matthew Carter. “That’s my way of saying Hermann was on top.”

Steve Matteson, Droid Serif designer, explained, “Zapf was someone who could write ten-point type and it looked like a typeface.” He added: “It was pretty astounding; his muscle control was so fluid.”

A retrospective of Zapf’s work at the Grolier Club prompted Roberta Smith to write in the New York Times, “It doesn’ t take long to realize that his career demonstrates the combination of natural (probably prodigious) talent, early achievement, and continued growth and innovation that we demand of major artists.”

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