The Purpose and Techniques of Calligraphy
January 23, 2011 7:31 AM   Subscribe

The Art of Hermann Zapf film "was produced in 1967 at Hallmark Cards in Kansas City and in my design studio in Dreieichenhain, Germany... After long discussions and the help of a lot of alcohol we started late in the night. I was sitting at a slanted glass table with a hot spotlight in my neck. Frank Robinson was lying on the floor with the camera ready for a frog-view shot. My task was to write beautiful letters with ink which dried as soon the pen touched the slippery surface of an astralon sheet." — Hermann Zapf
posted by netbros (16 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Very interesting video - I may show it to some of my design students. I get a real nostalgic feel from the late 60s early 70s, which were still bouncing around in my youth. Zapf's handwriting is quite beautiful as well!
posted by Slothrop at 8:16 AM on January 23, 2011

Very neat. Does anyone know whether the computer hardware they show towards the end of the reel are actually related to phototypesetting? Or is it just stock shots of blinkey lights and punchcards?
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:20 AM on January 23, 2011

The man who invented Optima and Palatino and numerous other fonts..
posted by ReeMonster at 8:36 AM on January 23, 2011

Kadin...Just blinky lights and stock footage.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:05 AM on January 23, 2011

Zapf's no dingbat.
posted by scruss at 9:28 AM on January 23, 2011 [3 favorites]

Great find, thanks, netbros. Inspiring.
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 9:31 AM on January 23, 2011

How would "a lot of alcohol" help you work "late in the night"?
posted by ethnomethodologist at 9:59 AM on January 23, 2011

Gives you courage, especially in the face of difficult odds.
posted by Meatbomb at 10:30 AM on January 23, 2011

It fortifies!

Have you ever had a huge project in front of you, wanted to push through until five, six AM, and discovered you had NO BEER? THE WORST.

Even if it's just sitting on the table untouched because you're so engrossed in your work, it's there. Just there for you.
posted by louche mustachio at 11:45 AM on January 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

I've seen Zapf in relation to type and fonts for decades, but never realized that it referred to a single typographer.
posted by crunchland at 11:49 AM on January 23, 2011

The man who invented designed Optima and Palatino and numerous other fonts typefaces..

posted by girih knot at 11:58 AM on January 23, 2011

related: I used to enjoy Abraham Lincoln's shows on this subject.
posted by Jumpin Jack Flash at 12:03 PM on January 23, 2011

I was struck by the quality of the show itself. The voiceover was perfect, in its way. Until the more modern equipment at the end, the whole production was masterful. Nothing to spare, everything they wanted to convey.
posted by SkinnerSan at 3:44 PM on January 23, 2011

Great to see the master at work.
posted by rmmcclay at 6:07 PM on January 23, 2011

Watching his natural precision was really relaxing
posted by aesacus at 6:42 PM on January 23, 2011

Really great. Although I must admit that I had a little flash of "what a hipster" when he mentioned he used "handmade" paper and especially that he not only mixes his own ink but does so with rainwater.
posted by DU at 4:59 AM on January 24, 2011

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