Optima
Overview
 
Optima is a humanist sans-serif typeface designed by Hermann Zapf
Hermann Zapf
Hermann Zapf is a German typeface designer who lives in Darmstadt, Germany. He is married to calligrapher and typeface designer Gudrun Zapf von Hesse....

 between 1952 and 1955 for the D. Stempel AG foundry, Frankfurt
Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

.
Though classified as a sans-serif
Sans-serif
In typography, a sans-serif, sans serif or san serif typeface is one that does not have the small projecting features called "serifs" at the end of strokes. The term comes from the French word sans, meaning "without"....

, Optima has a subtle swelling at the terminal producing a suggestion of a glyphic serif. Optima’s design follows humanist lines, but its italic
Italic type
In typography, italic type is a cursive typeface based on a stylized form of calligraphic handwriting. Owing to the influence from calligraphy, such typefaces often slant slightly to the right. Different glyph shapes from roman type are also usually used—another influence from calligraphy...

 variant is merely an oblique, essentially a sloped roman without characteristic italic letterforms such as a single storey a and rounded base of v and w. This is more typical of a realist sans-serif such as Helvetica
Helvetica
Helvetica is a widely used sans-serif typeface developed in 1957 by Swiss typeface designer Max Miedinger with Eduard Hoffmann.-Visual distinctive characteristics:Characteristics of this typeface are:lower case:square dot over the letter i....

 or Univers
Univers
Univers is the name of a realist sans-serif typeface designed by Adrian Frutiger in 1954.Originally conceived and released by Deberny & Peignot in 1957, the type library was acquired in 1972 by Haas. Haas'sche Schriftgiesserei was later folded into the D...

.
Encyclopedia
Optima is a humanist sans-serif typeface designed by Hermann Zapf
Hermann Zapf
Hermann Zapf is a German typeface designer who lives in Darmstadt, Germany. He is married to calligrapher and typeface designer Gudrun Zapf von Hesse....

 between 1952 and 1955 for the D. Stempel AG foundry, Frankfurt
Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

.

Characteristics

Though classified as a sans-serif
Sans-serif
In typography, a sans-serif, sans serif or san serif typeface is one that does not have the small projecting features called "serifs" at the end of strokes. The term comes from the French word sans, meaning "without"....

, Optima has a subtle swelling at the terminal producing a suggestion of a glyphic serif. Optima’s design follows humanist lines, but its italic
Italic type
In typography, italic type is a cursive typeface based on a stylized form of calligraphic handwriting. Owing to the influence from calligraphy, such typefaces often slant slightly to the right. Different glyph shapes from roman type are also usually used—another influence from calligraphy...

 variant is merely an oblique, essentially a sloped roman without characteristic italic letterforms such as a single storey a and rounded base of v and w. This is more typical of a realist sans-serif such as Helvetica
Helvetica
Helvetica is a widely used sans-serif typeface developed in 1957 by Swiss typeface designer Max Miedinger with Eduard Hoffmann.-Visual distinctive characteristics:Characteristics of this typeface are:lower case:square dot over the letter i....

 or Univers
Univers
Univers is the name of a realist sans-serif typeface designed by Adrian Frutiger in 1954.Originally conceived and released by Deberny & Peignot in 1957, the type library was acquired in 1972 by Haas. Haas'sche Schriftgiesserei was later folded into the D...

. Also unconventional for the contemporary sans, Optima's capitals (like Palatino
Palatino
Palatino is the name of a large typeface family that began as an old style serif typeface designed by Hermann Zapf initially released in 1948 by the Linotype foundry.In 1999, Zapf revised Palatino for Linotype and Microsoft, called Palatino Linotype...

's) are directly derived from the classic Roman monumental capital model
Roman square capitals
Roman square capitals, also called capitalis monumentalis, inscriptional capitals, elegant capitals and quadrata, are an ancient Roman form of writing, and the basis for modern capital letters....

 (one other well executed example is Meier's Syntax
Syntax (typeface)
The Syntax font families are designed by Hans Eduard Meier. Originally started with sans-serif fonts, it was expanded to include serif designs.-Syntax:...

). It is clear from the reverence in Zapf's designs that he regards the Roman capitals as ideal forms, and his executions in type prove the thesis. Like Palatino, another Zapf design, Optima is both widely admired and much imitated. Optima and Palatino are trade marks of Linotype (a Monotype company).

In the Bitstream
Bitstream Inc.
Bitstream Inc. is a type foundry that produces digital typefaces . Founded in 1981 by Matthew Carter and Mike Parker among others, it claims to be the oldest such company...

 font collection, Zapf Humanist is provided as an Optima clone. Other Optima clones include Optane from the WSI Fonts collection, Opulent by Rubicon Computer Labs Inc., Ottawa from Corel
Corel
Corel Corporation from the abbreviation is a computer software company headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario, that specializes in graphics processing, similar to Adobe Systems...

, CG Omega and Eterna. Freely available implementations include MgOpen Cosmetica (Available with open source license) and URW Classico (available with URW Font package from Ghostscript
Ghostscript
Ghostscript is a suite of software based on an interpreter for Adobe Systems' PostScript and Portable Document Format page description languages.- Features :...

).

Optima Greek (1973)

It is a Greek variant designed by Matthew Carter
Matthew Carter
Matthew Carter is a type designer. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. Carter's career in type design has witnessed the transition from physical metal type to digital type...

, based on sketches from Hermann Zapf. Digital version has not been produced.

Optima Classified (1976)

It is a variant designed by Matthew Carter
Matthew Carter
Matthew Carter is a type designer. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. Carter's career in type design has witnessed the transition from physical metal type to digital type...

, based closely on Optima Medium. Digital version has not been produced.

Optima nova (2002)

Optima nova is a redesign of the original font family, designed by Hermann Zapf and Linotype GmbH type director Akira Kobayashi. The new family contains 7 font weights, which adds light, demi, heavy font weights, but removed extra black weight. Medium weight is readjusted to between medium and bold weights in the old family scale. Glyph sets are expanded to include Adobe CE and Latin Extended characters, with light to bold weight fonts supporting proportional lining figures, old style figures, small caps. Italic fonts include italic type
Italic type
In typography, italic type is a cursive typeface based on a stylized form of calligraphic handwriting. Owing to the influence from calligraphy, such typefaces often slant slightly to the right. Different glyph shapes from roman type are also usually used—another influence from calligraphy...

 features instead of just tilted romans. Even in roman fonts, letters such as Q, a, f are redesigned. The overall bounding boxes were widened in Optima nova.

Optima nova Condensed

It is a condensed variant is which consist of light to bold weights, but no italic fonts. Glyph set does not support proportional lining figures, old style figures, small caps.

Optima nova Titling

It is a titling capitals
Titling capitals
In typography titling capitals are a variant of uppercase designed for heading and titles. The stroke width is reduced for use at larger point sizes where the stroke weight used in smaller text sizes would be too heavy....

 variant, which contains only capital letters, with restyled letterform. Glyph set is same as Optima nova Condensed, except it also includes extra ligatures.

In the tradition of hand lettering and lapidary inscription, the titling face shares similarities with the work of Zapf's friend Herb Lubalin
Herb Lubalin
Herbert F. Lubalin was a prominent American graphic designer. He collaborated with Ralph Ginzburg on three of Ginzburg's magazines: Eros, Fact, and Avant Garde, and was responsible for the creative visual beauty of these publications...

 especially the exuberant ligatures (for which Lubalin's ITC Lubalin Graph and ITC Avant Garde are notable). Further influence of A.M. Cassandre and Rudolf Koch
Rudolf Koch
thumb|250px|[[Fraktur]] fonts by Rudolf KochRudolf Koch was a leading German calligrapher, typographic artist and teacher, born in Nuremberg. He was primarily a calligrapher with the Gebr. Klingspor foundry. He created several typefaces, in both fraktur and roman styles...

, whose work greatly inspired the young Zapf, can also be seen in Optima.

Usages

The typeface Optima is used for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a national memorial in Washington, D.C. It honors U.S. service members of the U.S. armed forces who fought in the Vietnam War, service members who died in service in Vietnam/South East Asia, and those service members who were unaccounted for during the War.Its...

 and was used by the 2008 John McCain
John McCain
John Sidney McCain III is the senior United States Senator from Arizona. He was the Republican nominee for president in the 2008 United States election....

 presidential campaign. Optima is also used as the official branding typeface for Estée Lauder Companies
Estée Lauder Companies
Estée Lauder Companies, Inc. is a manufacturer and marketer of prestige skincare, makeup, fragrance and hair care products. The company has its headquarters in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.-History:...

, the University of New South Wales
University of New South Wales
The University of New South Wales , is a research-focused university based in Kensington, a suburb in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia...

, the University of Calgary
University of Calgary
The University of Calgary is a public research university located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Founded in 1966 the U of C is composed of 14 faculties and more than 85 research institutes and centres.More than 25,000 undergraduate and 5,500 graduate students are currently...

, by Aston Martin
Aston Martin
Aston Martin Lagonda Limited is a British manufacturer of luxury sports cars, based in Gaydon, Warwickshire. The company name is derived from the name of one of the company's founders, Lionel Martin, and from the Aston Hill speed hillclimb near Aston Clinton in Buckinghamshire...

, Movado
Movado
Movado is a Swiss luxury watch company whose name is Esperanto for "continuous movement". Movado was founded in 1881 in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland by Achilles Ditesheim....

 and British retailer Marks & Spencer.
Optima is used iconically for Traveller
Traveller (role-playing game)
Traveller is a series of related science fiction role-playing games, the first published in 1977 by Game Designers' Workshop and subsequent editions by various companies remaining in print to this day. The game was inspired from such classic science fiction stories as the Dumarest saga series by...

, and Diaspora used it to pay homage to Traveller.

Optima was used for lettering on Premier League kits until May 2006, when it was replaced by a different typeface.

Marks and Spencer used the font for its corporate logo and as the default on all internal correspondence from 2000 but since 2007 it is gradually being phased out on all signage and packaging as part of another re-branding exercise.

Optima was chosen as the font to be used for the names of those who lost their lives in the September 11 attacks, carved into bronze parapets, at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, which is named "Reflecting Absence".

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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