Talk:Hermann Zapf

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About "knockoff"[edit]

I'm curious about the term "knockoff" used with respect to Microsoft's Book Antiqua. It's usually a pejorative. Is there some evidence, for example, an interview, that the Microsoft (or whoever) designer explicitly imitated the typeface? Was this underhanded or meant to pay homage to Zapf? Or is it assumed, in having similar characteristics to Zapf's typeface, to be inspired by the latter or an imitation? Even the assumption needs some citation of sorts. I would alter the sentence myself, but I am unsure of the intended meaning. It appears biased.IHendry 19:17, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

Although it's a pejorative term, it's also an uncontroversial statement in the type community. I've never heard anybody dispute the claim, although discussions come up pretty regularly. And that includes Microsoft's typography personnel. In fact, they admit it's a knockoff, although I'm sure they'd rather not put it in writing. To some extent, the proof is in the pudding; Book Antiqua is a pretty exact copy of the Palatino design, and Palatino is quite distinctive. Microsoft has since done a nice job of making up for it by licensing the real thing as well, in the form of "Palatino Linotype." Thomas Phinney 20:55, 13 August 2006 (UTC).

font knock-offs[edit]

At the risk of presenting "original research" I was employed at Kingsport Press. In the early 1970s we were using the RCA GSD VideoComp (Rudolph Hell Digiset). Raymond McDavid and I were involved in digitizing a font named "University" designed by Herman Zapf for World Book Encyclopedia. I came to appreciate the hard work involved in creating font designs. The VideoComp font library supplied by RCA included what I considered a knock-off of Times called "Times Roman" and a knock-off of Helvetica called "Eterna". It was not uncommon for typesetters to "modify" an established font design, slap a new name on it, and market it with a wink and a nudge to avoid licensing fees. Often the differences were very minor (usually the design of the ampersand). I have no doubt that Zapf's designs were imitated in cheap knock-offs, and I do not blame a talented designer like Zapf for being upset for having hundreds of hours of creative work ripped off. It is often little more than the tactical equivalent of plagiarism. It is one thing for MAD magazine to do a parody of the famous painting "The Scream" but quite another thing for one to pass off a bad copy as an original work. Naaman Brown (talk) 05:49, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

  • Yes. "In 1993, Zapf resigned from l'Association Typographique Internationale (ATypI) over what he viewed as its hypocritical attitude toward unauthorized copying by prominent ATypI members." (from Palatino).--Oneiros (talk) 13:32, 9 April 2009 (UTC)