Herman Zapf, the king of letter font design, recently passed away at 96, reports the New York Times. He was born in Germany at the end of World War I and grew up in the turbulent times that followed that; planned to become an electrical engineer. Circumstances dictated otherwise, though. He became interested in calligraphy, and was said to be able to write letters 1 mm in size without using a magnifying glass (I’m sure one would need a very sharp pencil for that). After he became involved in type face (font) design he designed types for various stages of printing technology, including hot metal composition, phototypesetting (also called “cold type”), and finally digital typography for use in desktop publishing. His two most famous typefaces, Palatino and Optima, were designed in 1948 and 1952, respectively.