Book recounts legacy of type designer

Author Rick Cusick discusses the art of ‘Lettering’ in new book published by RIT

Drawing for Shakespeare italic typeface by Gudrun Zapf

Hallmark helps us appreciate the small moments in life—with greeting cards and special messages garnished with designs and lettering that enhance the full reading experience.

In a beautifully illustrated book, What Our Lettering Needs: The Contribution of Hermann Zapf to Calligraphy & Type Designs at Hallmark Cards, author Rick Cusick recounts the legacy of Zapf and his contributions to the world’s leading manufacturer of greeting cards. The book is published by RIT Cary Graphic Arts Press, a scholarly publishing enterprise at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Zapf, a typeface designer who hails from Darmstadt, Germany, was first invited to visit the Hallmark headquarters in Kansas City in 1965. His stint as a consultant to the company was during a vital period in the company’s evolution—when the ideas and dreams of Hallmark founder J.C. Hall and his son and successor, Donald Hall Sr., were searching for “the very best” ways to improve the quality of their products.

Zapf taught in RIT’s School of Printing from 1977 to 1987.

Cusick is the manager of font development for Hallmark Cards and oversees the design and development of proprietary fonts for the corporation. He is also a respected designer, calligrapher and teacher working with the University of Kansas in developing lectures and curriculum for lettering, typography and type design.

Since the late ’70s, designer Cusick has provided, in articles and presentations, most of what has been written about the Hallmark/Zapf association. The book is a tribute to Zapf’s own philosophy that the artist’s challenge is “to ensure, despite technology and mass production, that beauty is never lost.”

The softcover edition of What Our Lettering Needs is available for purchase online for $24.95 at The RIT Cary Press website or by calling RIT’s Cary Graphic Arts Press at 585-475-6766.

Note: RIT Cary Graphic Arts Press and its imprint, RIT Press, are scholarly publishing enterprises at Rochester Institute of Technology. The Press is associated with the Melbert B. Cary Jr. Graphic Arts Collection, one of the country’s premier libraries on the history and practice of printing.