Gudrun Zapf-von Hesse

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Gudrun Zapf von Hesse (born January 2, 1918) is a German typographer, calligrapher and book-binder. She is the 1991 winner of the Frederic W. Goudy Award. She has also designed several fonts.


Von Hesse served a book-binding apprenticeship with Otto Dorfner, finishing with a Master’s Diploma in 1940. She pursued an independent course of studies on calligraphy and letterforms, concentrating on the work of Rudolf Koch and Edward Johnston.[1] After World War II, she opened her own book bindery, and learned punchcutting at the Bauer type foundry in Frankfurt.[2]

From 1946 to 1954, Von Hesse taught lettering at the Städelschule in Frankfurt.[3] After attracting notice at an exhibition of calligraphy, she was commissioned by the Stempel foundry in Frankfurt to design typefaces, and went on to a successful career as a typographer with Stempel. "In my opinion," she later said, " the best foundation for creating new alphabets is an intensive study of calligraphy."[3] She married Herman Zapf, Stempel's art director and prolific typeface designer, on August 1, 1951, and the two managed thereafter to keep their professional work somewhat separate.[2][4]

In 1991, Hesse was the second woman to receive the prestigious Frederic W. Goudy award, given by the Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York. In 2001, she was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Friends of Calligraphy. She turned 100 in January 2018.[5]

In 2018, Monotype released the titling typeface Hesse-Antiqua to mark her hundredth birthday.[5] Digitised by Ferdinand Ulrich, it is based on an alphabet for book jackets she designed in the late 1940s.[5]

Typeface designs[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Zapf von Hesse, Gudrun; Taylor-Batty, Mark (2002-01-01). Gudrun Zapf von Hesse: bindings, handwritten books, type faces, examples of lettering and drawings. West New York, NJ: Mark Batty, publisher. ISBN 0-9715687-0-7.
  2. ^ a b Aaris Sherin. "Hesse, Gudrun Zapf von." Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press, accessed March 8, 2016,
  3. ^ a b Zapf, Hermann; Zapf von Hesse, Gudrun; Prestianni, John; Friends of Calligraphy (San Francisco) (2001-01-01). "Bookbinding, Calligraphy and Type Design: Remarks and Musings About My Design Process (excerpted from Goudy award acceptance address by Gudrun Zapf-von Hesse)". Calligraphic type design in the digital age: an exhibition in honor of the contributions of Hermann and Gudrun Zapf : selected type designs and calligraphy by sixteen designers. Corte Madera, CA: Gingko Press. pp. 31–35. ISBN 1-58423-096-7.
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b c d Ulrich, Ferdinand. "Hesse Antiqua – Typeface release at 100". Fontshop Blog. Retrieved 13 January 2018.

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