Hermann Zapf at Hallmark Cards

Posted inThe Daily Heller
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If you like Hermann Zapf (Optima, Melior, Zapf Chancery, Zapf Dingbats and much more) and Hallmark Cards, Rick Cusick, manager of font development for Hallmark who oversees the design and development of proprietary fonts for the corporation, has written a book for you. What Our Lettering Needs: The Contribution of Hermann Zapf to Calligraphy & Type Designs at Hallmark Cards (information here) chronicles Zapf’s contributions to the world’s leading manufacturer of greeting cards and gift printing. The book is published by RIT Cary Graphic Arts Press, a scholarly publishing enterprise at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Cover designed by Rick Cusick

Almost forty years ago, Zapf made a film for Hallmark showing how he made calligraphy. From the opening drawing of lyrical letters on a chalk board, it is the record of a master artist-craftsman making complexity look so easy and became a moving textbook. “That vivid impression has lasted,” Sumner Stone writes in his introduction about seeing the film in his first calligraphy class. “I can still run the movie in my mind’s eye.” Stone later took a job with Hallmark in Kansas City, if only because “it was rumored that Hermann Zapf himself visited Hallmark on a regular basis as a consultant who, among other things, worked with the lettering artists.” Zapf did indeed show up and spent time with each person in the lettering department.

Cusick also had an ambition to be one of those artists. He avidly watched “The Art of Hermann Zapf” film, intently studying the master’s technique. He subsequently came to befriend Zapf and learn from his teachings. The book, which includes many of Zapf’s lessons, represents his goal as Hallmark consultant “to ensure, despite technology and mass production, that beauty is never lost.”

(See yesterday’s Nightly Daily Heller for an embarrassing “Separated at Birth” discovery.)

Studies for Hallmark Textura from 1952.

Opening spreads for Hallmark Edition's Favorite Bible Verses.

Alternative treatments for Favorite Bible Verses.

Studies for Hallmark Uncial.