Hermann Zapf receives prize from the Society of Typographic Aficionados – July 8, 2003

“SoTA Typography Award” conferred for the first time at a Linotype Lecture in Chicago


Bad Homburg, July 8, 2003 – Within the festive framework of a Linotype Lecture in Chicago on May 20, 2003, the Society of Typographic Aficionados (SoTA) conferred the speaker Hermann Zapf with the “SoTA Typography Award” for his life’s work in typeface and book design. In the future, the prize will be given in his honor to up-and-coming artists in typeface design and typography.

On May 20, 2003, the Linotype GmbH, Bad Homburg, Germany, with support from Dynamic Graphics, Inc., USA, hosted a guest lecture with Hermann Zapf and Akira Kobayashi. The topic was entitled “The story behind Optima™ nova and many other tall or condensed type tales.” During the exclusive event with approximately 200 invited guests, Richard Kegler and John Downer from the Society of Typographic Aficionados conferred the “SoTA Award for Typography” award to Hermann Zapf for his outstanding work as a typeface designer.

In addition, the SoTA created the “SoTA Typography Award,” in honor of Professor Zapf, which in the future will be given each year to an especially talented up-and-coming typeface designer. “We wish to keep Zapf’s work and ideals vital also in the future and to spur students and professionals to their greatest efforts,” Richard Kegler stressed during the prize conferment. “In Hermann Zapf’s work, we see the high typographical values attained, which are supported by the SoTA.”

During his speech, Hermann Zapf expressed his thanks for the honor, which he treasures even more since all the members of the SoTA are specialists in typeface design, typography and printing.

Moreover, the native-born Nuremberger humorously described his journey as a type designer. Actually he wanted to be an electrical engineer, but his father was in conflict with the new political circumstances. Therefore he was not allowed to attend the Ohm-Polytechnikum and rather had to take up an apprenticeship in the graphic industry. The visit in 1935 to an exhibition about the typeface artist Rudolf Koch (1876-1934) awakened his interest and passion for lettering. Following his apprenticeship, he worked in the famous typographic studio “Haus zum Fürsteneck” which was run by Paul Koch, Rudolf Koch’s son. There he had his first contact with the D. Stempel AG and the Linotype GmbH in Frankfurt. In 1938 he designed his first blackletter typeface, “Gilgenart,” for Linotype. Many other typefaces followed, accompanied by a revolutionary technological change in the areas of printing and fonts.

As the first professor for “typographic computer programs” at the Rochester Institute of Technology from 1977 to 1987, Hermann Zapf made a crucial contribution to this new technological change. Digital font design remains his passion to this day. Lastly he worked with Akira Kobayashi, Type Director of the Linotype Library, on the redesign of “Optima™.” Result is the just completed “Optima™ nova”, including 40 weights.
At this point Hermann Zapf handed over the lecture to the second speaker, Akira Kobayashi, who detailed the cooperative work on “Optima™.” His lecture confirmed the introductory words of Bruno Steinert, General Manager of the Linotype GmbH, about the decades-long faithful cooperation with Hermann Zapf, which is seen in many mutual projects. Lastly, Linotype Library published the "Gudrun and Hermann Zapf Collection", a CD that honors the lifework of Hermann Zapf and his wife Gudrun Zapf von Hesse.

An exclusive group of guests confirmed during the concluding dinner that the first Linotype Lecture was a ‘stunning success’. Besides the speakers and organizers from Dynamic Graphics and SoTA, Linotype also invited type aficionados and Hermann Zapf’s long-time colleagues, some of whom were members of the exclusive Caxton Club, Chicago.
Following the success of this inaugural event, Linotype Library is planning more lectures – in the most diverse locations worldwide, each with a country-specific typographic theme.


We are available if you would like further information or if you would like us to send you a digital photo of the event:


If you would like further information, please contact:
Linotype GmbH
Du-Pont-Straße 1
61352 Bad Homburg
Phone: +49 (0) 61 72 484-24 60
Fax: +49 (0) 61 72 484-429
E-Mail: info@linotype.com


We are available if you would like further information or if you would like us to send you a digital photo of the event:


If you would like further information, please contact:
Linotype GmbH
Du-Pont-Straße 1
61352 Bad Homburg
Phone: +49 (0) 61 72 484-24 60
Fax: +49 (0) 61 72 484-499
E-Mail: info@linotype.com


You will find more information as well as typeface application samples on the Internet at www.linotype.com.
Upon request we are happy to send you a demonstration CD for editorial illustration purposes.

Linotype GmbH, a division of the Heidelberg Group, was founded 116 years ago. Its headquarters are in Bad Homburg, Germany. Based on this long tradition Linotype Library develops state-of-the-art font technology, and today offers more than 5,500 original fonts, covering the whole typographic spectrum from antique to modern, from east to west, and from classical to experimental. Linotype FontExplorer, a specially developed browser and navigation system, supports rapid font selection. All fonts are available on CD in PostScript and TrueType, and can also be ordered online for instant download at www.linotype.com.

In addition to supplying digital fonts, Linotype Library also offers comprehensive and individual consultation and support services for font applications in worldwide (corporate) communications.
This press release is available as pdf file. Please download:
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