The three Palatino families by Hermann Zapf

The three Palatino families by Hermann Zapf

Hermann Zapf’s Renaissance Antiqua Palatino® is based on the fonts of the old masters, which is why it bears the name of Giambattista Palatino. Published as an independent design in 1950, the font has become a classic. At the start of the new millennium, Zapf and Akira Kobayashi brought Palatino a step further in order to “correct the old errors” and remove the compromises that had been made for lead and phototypesetting. The result was not only Palatino® nova, but also the sans serif versions Palatino® Sans and Palatino® Sans Informal.

Palatino nova

Palatino nova

Palatino is one of the best-known typefaces from Hermann Zapf. The first designs came about after 1948. Stempel AG published the finished font, ready for lead typesetting, in 1950. The extremely popular Palatino was later adapted to phototypesetting and now its digital versions are among the most popular fonts.
Clear letter forms, open counters, and a lively character from the cleverly crafted, calligraphic influences are the main traits of Palatino, which is used not only in book printing. The not completely closed counter in the upper-case “P” and “R” also have a great deal of recognition value.
Since the various methods of production, from lead to phototypesetting to digital text, have left behind compromises and traces on Palatino, Zapf, with the support of Akira Kobayashi, began to revise his font at the start of the new millennium. The new Palatino nova did not simply correct the old problems, however. Careful changes, such as slightly shortened serifs and somewhat rounder corners expanded the unmistakable character of the Palatino design.
Palatino nova is available in four finely graded weights, Light, Regular, Medium and Bold, each with a fitting Italic style. All styles are equipped with various number sets and small caps. Zapf also added two Titling versions.

Palatino Sans

Palatino Sans

After the creation of Palatino nova, Hermann Zapf went on to finalize the old idea of Palatino and designed a sans serif version. The basic letter form and specific features, like the unconnected counter of “P” and “R”, remain. The contrast in weight, however, was reduced significantly. The influence of an Antiqua is still there, and slightly grooved stems recall Optima®. It is the heavily rounded form that determines the font’s character, however. Slightly thickened, rounded line ends and curved lines recall a handwritten font. In Palatino Sans, they provide for a lively, friendly and somewhat casual flair.
Palatino Sans is available in the same three weights as Palatino nova, but has an additional Ultra Light version.

Palatino Sans Informal

Palatino Sans Informal

As the name suggests, Palatino Sans Informal is a close relative of Palatino Sans. Both fonts share the same fundamental design principles when it comes to the letters. Informal takes a little more freedom in terms of the details, however. For example, the lower-case “e” has a slightly diagonal cross stroke, the “g” is in a single-story format, “k” and “R” are designed with a longer foot and the arms of letters like “w” and “y” have been extended. As a result, Palatino Sans Informal appears even more dynamic and casual than Palatino Sans. The font is available in the same weights as Palatino Sans.

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