The year 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of both Hermann Zapf and Gudrun Zapf von Hesse. Hermann Zapf’s contribution to type design and calligraphy is immeasurable. His typographic work alone has greatly expanded the language of letterforms through ubiquitous typefaces such as Palatino, Optima, and Zapﬁno. Simply put, he is arguably the most important type designer of the 20th century. Hermann Zapf also holds a place in the history of RIT. He was the first recipient of the Frederic W. Goudy award for excellence in typography in 1969. He later served as Melbert B. Cary, Jr. Distinguished Professor and taught summer seminars on calligraphy and type design, inspiring a new generation of designers.
Gudrun Zapf von Hesse is a master in her own right and across several disciplines. In addition to a remarkable career in the fields of calligraphy and type design, she is an accomplished bookbinder. Her talents were recognized in 1991 when she was presented with RIT’s Goudy award.
The Cary Graphic Arts Collection has the honor of being one of two formal depositories for the work of Hermann Zapf and Gudrun Zapf von Hesse. The Zapf Centenary exhibition draws from these rich archives to exhibit their profound influence on the world of design.