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Hermann Zapf

Hermann Zapf, the designer of fonts such as Palatino, Optima, Zapfino, Melior, Aldus, and the quirky, yet very beloved, Zapf Dingbats, had a prolific career.

One of the pioneers of computerized typography, Zapf worked on many fonts, but his personal favorite was the humanist sans serif typeface Optima, the lettering chosen for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall in Washington, DC.

Born in Nuremburg, Zapf started to experiment with font-making as a child. He served as a cartographer for the German army during WWII, drawing maps of Spain. At the end of the war, he was imprisoned by the French but said he was treated well. “They had a great deal of respect for me as an ‘artiste’” he wrote. “I think the French still have this respect today.”

More on this master of typography here.

Centro Sans Condensed