New York: The Grolier Club, (2019),
First Edition. octavo, blue cloth stamped in gilt. (350) pp. The Grolier Club, Item #33199
Calligrapher, type designer, and typographer Hermann Zapf towers over twentieth century lettering arts. Over a 70 year career, he designed more than 200 typefaces, many of which have become a part of our everyday experiences. In Hermann Zapf and the World He Designed, Jerry Kelly, Zapf’s friend and colleague of almost 40 years, traces the artist’s life from his youth in Nuremberg to his retirement in Darmstadt. Scrupulously researched at the Hermann Zapf archive in the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel and at the Cary Collection at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and enriched by decades of conversations with Zapf and his associates, the book details Zapf’s experiences with type companies, printers, publishers and colleagues. It explores his modern design aesthetic and engagement with the staggering technological advances of typography during the twentieth century. Featuring rarities and never-before-seen works and photos, it also includes definitive lists of Zapf’s type designs and major calligraphic works. However, Hermann Zapf and the World He Designed is more than an in-depth appreciation of Zapf’s work, it is about his work in relation to his life, because, as Kelly notes, “...you can’t separate the two.” Like Garamond and Baskerville before him, Hermann Zapf did things differently and changed the course of the fields in which he worked. His first international recognition came with his Palatino typeface (1949), a modern design which showed Zapf’s prodigious skill as well as his novel take on classic letterforms. Many other successful typeface designs followed, all of which showed the same mastery and fresh approach, including Michelangelo, Virtuosa, Melior, the revolutionary Optima type, Zapf Chancery, Zapf Dingbats and Zapfino. Five of these are included on the Apple Macintosh operating system today. Zapf’s calligraphic work has influenced several generations of contemporary scribes. His alphabet designs for Pen and Graver, rendering of the Preamble to the Charter of the United Nations, and unique sgraffito panels stand among the masterpieces of twentieth century calligraphy. Book design was a significant part of Zapf's career, though it is probably the least well-known of Zapf's activities in the graphic arts. He created over a dozen manuscript books and designed over 600 trade publications, mostly for German publishers. With book design work Zapf often combined his own types with his calligraphy in a wide variety of layouts, a large proportion of which were chosen for the annual "Best Books of the Year" design competitions in Germany. With over 400 color illustrations. Grolier Club issue with their imprint on the title page and blue cloth binding. Laid in is the 16 pp. exhibition catalogue "Alphabet Magic: A Centennial Exhibition of the Work of Hermann and Gudrun Zapf" and an invitation to the opening reception. Very fine and clean.