Zapfino Extra

Zapfino extra: Hermann Zapf’s calligraphic masterpiece

Zapfino Extra    
Master typeface designer Hermann Zapf published Zapfino® in 1998. Despite its relatively young age, the font has been enormously popular. Its noble, yet lively and friendly shapes quickly won the hearts of designers. The font was also revised and expanded multiple times. The typeface was first published in four individual styles. In 2005, it came out in the then young OpenType format as Zapfino Extra with numerous OpenType functions.


Advantages of Zapfino Extra in comparison with Zapfino

Every individual style in OpenType format with comprehensive, context-sensitive functionality.
Additional small caps and the bold style Zapfino Extra Forte.
Comprehensive alternative characters with swash versions and diverse start and end shapes.
Old-style numbers, uppercase numbers and numbers in x-height.
Numerous ornaments, arrows and pictograms.
International language options including Greek and Cyrillic.


Hermann Zapf and Akira Kobayashi

Zapfino Extra: a dream comes true

Hermann Zapf dreamed of a font like Zapfino since the mid-twentieth century. A font that simulates hand-crafted calligraphy through printing technology. Zapf was always curious of technical innovations and did a lot of research in using computers for digital typesetting. He was aware, however, that limited technological potential stood in the way of his dream.
Computer technology was advanced enough by the turn of the millenium: Zapf, nearly 80 at the time, began working with David Siegel and later with Linotype to design Zapfino from his calligraphic handwriting.

Zapfino Extra

At first, four font variations were designed. With ligatures and ornaments, they represented the basis for very realistic, calligraphic designs. The first major revision took place in 2003 with the help of Akira Kobayashi. Numerous shapes were optimized and a number of technical inadequacies were corrected. Small caps and a bolder style were also added. At the end of 2004, the individual styles were added to the new OpenType format and equipped with a context-sensitive automatic feature to support typesetting. After 50 years, Hermann Zapf’s dream has come true: With Zapfino Extra and the current technical potential, it is possible to create calligraphic compositions that come very close to hand-made designs.

Zapfino Extra


Infinite design possibilities with extensive alternative characters

The quality of the context-sensitive automated feature represents great work by designers and engineers. It sets new standards that remain in place to this day. In order to select the right shape from the at least four available characters, not only are the direct neighbors taken into account, but also the entire line of letters. This includes the right start and end shapes. Almost no other font today offers this type of comprehensive automatic feature.
Since no automated feature is perfect when it comes to multilingual optimization, you can use the glyph palette in Adobe InDesign, for example, to access the character selection manually and select the precise letter for your design. Various welcoming swash versions and numerous ligatures are available, as well.

Zapfino Extra

Zapfino Extra

Zapfino Extra


Typographical features from old style figures, small caps to alternate characters and ornaments

In addition to the alternative characters, Zapfino Extra provides a variety of typographic features unconventional for a calligraphic font. Old-style and uppercase numerals and even digits in x-height leave no wish unfulfilled and prevent designers from having to compromise. In addition, designers can add a unique accent with small caps and numerous ornaments, unconventional arrows (a trademark of Hermann Zapf) and pictograms. A close look at the calligraphic mouse or duck reveals Zapf’s understated sense of humor.

Zapfino Extra


Zapfino Forte for a strong appearance

With Zapfino Extra Forte, another, slightly stronger version of the font is available. Wherever the normal version appears a little too delicate, use Zapfino Forte for a solid presence.

Zapfino Extra


Zapfino Extra speaks many languages: Greek, Cyrillic, Arabic, and more

Zapfino Extra is also well-equipped for international use. In addition to the Central and Eastern European languages, the W1G expansion covers the Pan-European area with Greek and Cyrillic characters.

Zapfino Extra

Zapfino Arabic has recently made an Arabic version of the popular font available. Find out more on Zapfino Arabic, example applications, an animation as well as the interview with Dr. Nadine Chahine, the designer of Zapfino Arabic.

Zapfino Arabic



Zapfino Extra, the calligraphic script system for a wide variety of applications

Zapfino Extra is less a single font and more of a calligraphic font system with infinite potential for use. With the diverse, beautifully balanced and friendly letters, Hermann Zapf fulfilled his dream of a digitally set calligraphy. From product design to brand names and wall paintings to posters and film titles: Zapfino Extra has proven itself time and time again in countless applications.

Zapfino Extra



Zapfino, the little sister of the Zapfino Extra, in the Mac OS X operating system

By the way: Stevel Jobs recognized the quality of Zapfino immediately, and made it an integral part of Mac OS X, first published in 2001. The supplied version is derived from the earlier Zapfino One style, however, and is not able to keep up with Zapfino Extra when it comes to variety, options and typographic potential. Since the Mac OS X version of Zapfino has a larger type size, Zapfino Extra X gives you an adapted version, which offers you all the characters and functions of Zapfino Extra that are compatible with existing documents.

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