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Optima was designed by Hermann Zapf and is his most successful typeface. In 1950, Zapf made his first sketches while visiting the Santa Croce church in Florence. He sketched letters from grave plates that had been cut about 1530, and as he had no other paper with him at the time, the sketches were done on two 1000 lire bank notes.
These letters from the floor of the church inspired Optima, a typeface that is classically roman in proportion and character, but without serifs. The letterforms were designed in the proportions of the Golden Ratio. In 1952, after careful legibility testing, the first drawings were finished.
The type was cut by the famous punchcutter August Rosenberger at the D. Stempel AG typefoundry in Frankfurt.
In 2002, more than 50 years after the first sketches,
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