The 6th Type Talks featured the Zapf Exhibition “Hermann Zapf & Gudrun Zapf, the World of Calligraphy” form 13th Sept. 2011 in Tokyo organized by Akira Kobayashi and Japan Letter Arts Forum (J-LAF), which includes some Calligraphy works and type design works. About 80 attendees were gathering to the ABC Aoyama Book Center and enjoyed interesting topics related to the Zapf’s works.
Minako Sando, is a calligrapher and representative of J-LAF, and Yukie Hoshi, is also a calligrapher and core member of J-LAF, explained the background stories of the preparation for the show and the visit to Zapfs’ house in last January to pick up their works. They talked about the meeting with prof. Hermann Zapf and Gudrun Zapf von Hesse with some interesting photos and the selection in their archive rooms. And then, explained some high lights of the works in the exhibition. She analyzed the letter forms and techniques in the works one by one from the Calligrapher’s point of view and explained the difference between letter forms focusing on the lowercase “d” in the Hermann work Quotation by Walter Crane. It has almost 30 variations “d” like the long ascender and the alternative letter form which has a curly ascender stroke. One of the examples showed the terminal of the loop ascender stroke looks continues to the following letter e and r. She guessed the order of the strokes if the e was written after the r or the stroke just looks connecting to the r. (Oh, hard to explain without the image!)
A Calligrapher and type designer Ryuichi Tateno, is a designer of Pirouette and Stevens Titling from Linotype, explained and demonstrated the Zapf’s techniques, a so called piano technique (means pen pressure transition during drawing the terminals of a stroke) and drawing strokes which was introduced in the book Creative Calligraphy published by Rotring in 1985, and the famous short movie The Art of Hermann Zapf by Hallmark cards.
And at last, Akira Kobayashi joined the talk via Skype from Bad Homburg, Germany, and talked about the high lights of the type design works by Zapfs, mainly the collaboration works with Zapfs, such Diotima and Optima Nova.
He mentioned about the design transition of the lowercase “g” of Diotima in developing phase for the metal type to the digital revival Diotima Classic. He happened to find a document file of Diotima in the Linotype archive room while he was preparing for the Helvetica exhibition in 2009. He realized the lowercase g had been changed several times during the developing process for about few years. And it continued in the collaboration works of Diotima Classic with Gudrun. Almost of the works he introduced in the talk show will be displayed in the exhibition. I learned a lot of high-lights of the works today, which must be helpful to admire the exhibition works.
In fact, Minako and Yukie came by to see me in the Hague during visiting to the Zapfs’ house as I was joining TypeMedia KABK. I was very glad that they somehow took a time and came to the Hague even though they were supposed to be busy preparing for the meeting and had to back to Darmstadt right away. They told me about the visit but seemed to be nervous to see Zapfs because Akira Kobayashi couldn’t join the meeting due to a cold even though they expected he introduced them to Zapfs. I just made a wish everything would go well and I was very glad again to hear yesterday that everything went well and they got a great experience with Zapfs.
I’m the one of big fans of Hermann Zapf, so I’m looking forward to the show. I’ve never seen of their works firsthand, so it must be a rare chance to take a close look at them. I have some Hermann Zapf’s books but I can tell the differences between the original and the picture. I wish I can steal their techniques;-)
The exhibition was planned in last March, but it had to be rescheduled in September because of the Higashinihon earthquake (the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11). The show starts on 13th Sept. until 25th at le bain in Nishiazabu, Minato Ward, Tokyo, Admission 1,000 yen. It includes more than 50 pieces, Handwriting, Replica, Materials for font development, Metal typesetting, etc. A special program is also scheduled to show the DVD movie “The Art of Hermann Zapf” produced by Hallmark Cards Inc. on 18th and 25th Sunday 13:00 / 15:00 (twice a day). This show is highly recommended and don’t miss it.