Comenius, Marconi & Zapf Book: three typefaces from 1976

Tuesday, March 18, 2014, 6:30pm - 8:30pm

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Cooper Union Stock Photo

In 1976 the International Typeface Corporation celebrated their announcement of a new typeface designed by Hermann Zapf in a folding specimen, claiming it was his first type since he “put the finishing touch“ to Optima Medium Italic “some ten years ago.” A headline revealed: “Now he’s back with an almighty Zapf!” Besides the much marketed ITC Zapf Book, two other lesser-known typefaces by Zapf were also released that year: Berthold Comenius and Marconi for Hell Digiset. This lecture focuses on all three textfaces by taking a close look at their origin, by comparing them with their contemporaries and by paying attention to their letter shapes and characteristics based on the different technological circumstances in an era on the verge from photo to digital.

The lecture is free and open to all but registration is required.

Ferdinand UlrichFerdinand Ulrich is a typographer and type historian. He is the assistant of Erik Spiekermann in Berlin, where he has been setting up an archive, designs books and spends time experimenting in the letterpress workshop. He is also an adjunct instructor at Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design in Halle/Saale (Germany). As a visiting scholar at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh/PA he began his research thesis on the typeface Hunt Roman which earned him a graduate degree at Berlin University of the Arts in 2012.

Located in The Frederick P. Rose Auditorium, at 41 Cooper Square (on Third Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets)

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.