13 Facts About Optima


Optima is a humanist sans-serif typeface designed by Hermann Zapf and released by the D Stempel AG foundry, Frankfurt, West Germany in 1958.

FactSnippet No. 1,269,157

Optima was inspired by classical Roman capitals and the stonecarving on Renaissance-period tombstones Zapf saw in Florence on a 1950 holiday to Italy.

FactSnippet No. 1,269,158

Zapf intended Optima to be a typeface that could serve for both body text and titling.

FactSnippet No. 1,269,159

Optima quickly sketched an early draft of the design on a 1000 lira banknote.

FactSnippet No. 1,269,160

Optima was the first German typeface not based on the standard baseline alignment.

FactSnippet No. 1,269,161

The proportions of Optima Roman are now in the Golden Section: lowercase x-height equalling the minor and ascenders-descenders the major.

FactSnippet No. 1,269,162

Optima was first manufactured as a foundry version in 1958 by Stempel of Frankfurt, and by Mergenthaler in America shortly thereafter.

FactSnippet No. 1,269,163

Optima's design follows humanist lines; its capitals originate from the classic Roman monumental capital model, reflecting a reverence for Roman capitals as an ideal form.

FactSnippet No. 1,269,164

Optima is an example of a modulated-stroke sans-serif, a design type where the strokes are variable in width.

FactSnippet No. 1,269,165

Optima is however quite restrained in stroke width variation; more display-oriented predecessors such as Britannic show far more differentiation in stroke width than Optima does.

FactSnippet No. 1,269,166

Optima nova is a redesign of the original font family, designed by Hermann Zapf and Linotype GmbH type director Akira Kobayashi.

FactSnippet No. 1,269,167

Optima is used for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and was used by John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign.

FactSnippet No. 1,269,168

Optima was used in the official logo and most publications associated with Expo 67 in Montreal.

FactSnippet No. 1,269,169