Hermann Zapf, 96, Dies; Designer Whose Letters Are Found Everywhere


Hermann ZapfHermann Zapf, whose calling in life — “to create beautiful letters,” as one of his students put it — found expression in lush, steady-handed  calligraphy and in subtly inventive typefaces that have brought words to readers on paper, on signposts, on monuments and on computer screens for more than half a century, died on Thursday at his home in Darmstadt, Germany. He was 96.

Jerry Kelly, a leading American typographer, calligrapher and type designer who was a friend and former student of Mr. Zapf, confirmed the death.

In the world of type design — an exacting, arcane craft that is underappreciated for its impact on how people communicate and receive communication — Mr. Zapf (pronounced DZAHFF) was a giant. Prolific and versatile, he created around 200 typefaces in numerous alphabets, including Latin, Cyrillic, Arabic and Cherokee, spanning the eras of metal typesetting, phototypesetting and digital typesetting.

Read more at the NY Times.