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Palatino FAQ

Essay from 2001 by John Butler on the Palatino story and how Hermann Zapf was duped by Monotype. John Hudson writes: Herr Zapf left ATypI in disgust over the fact that the association was unwilling or unable to do anything to enforce respect for the rights of designers among its members. Monotype had pirated the design of Palatino to make Book Antiqua, and the only response from ATypI seems to have been embarassment that Zapf was rude enough to protest in public. It was, and remains (Monotype are still flogging this pirated face), a shameful episode for the association and the industry.

To which David Berlow replied: This episode may have percipitated Zapf's departure, along with a very bad version of fake-Palatino used on a menu at Parma, but it was Compugraphic and Autologic's pirating of whole libraries, incl. Palatino that broke the organization. Major designs and designers were locked up forever and when the designs had to be present in the first wave of computer setters, the old-boy foundries simply would not deal with the new kids on the block. Why the new kids were not ejected from AtypI, why a German designer, or a German company did not seek to block Book Antiqua's sale in Germany, which might have turned things by waking up the world, if not MS, baffles my mind. (Though it is part of the same episode, this had nothing to do with the court case between Monotype and ITC as Andrew implies). Zapf was also interested in doing anything he could to fix the situation, including working on Linotype to license the fonts. He told me this at Parma, and despite Bitstream's earlier work, similar to that of the first wave of pirates, Zapf was hired by Bitstream to consult on Calligraphic 862 or whatever it was. Later, when Linotype licensed Palatino to Apple and Zapf wanted to fix some of the more barbaric treatments of the font over the years, Apple had to pay for Zapf's consultation on the changes. Mircosoft later did the same thing in paying Zapf a consulting fee, I think, to fix some stuff.

John Hudson again: The fact that there was a court case in the USA -- a country whose total lack of copyright protection for type design is both well known and generally lamented among type designers -- is not exactly supportive of Monotype's moral position. They are not the first type company, and not the first member of ATypI, to simultaneously claim to want copyright protection for fonts and commercially exploit the present lack of it.

John Butler later wrote this: Book Antiqua is an unauthorized knockoff of Palatino for which Herman Zapf receives zero royalties. Personally, I'm baffled that Monotype is still selling the damn thing. I thought the whole Book Antiqua fiasco got settled and that as copmensation Monotype actually did the hinting for the new Palatino Linotype that comes with Win2000 and XP and is available from Linotype Library as well. I could be wrong about this though. Book Antiqua was done in the early 90s or so when Rene Kerfante or somesuch was in charge. It's possible the current management might have no knowledge that the package is still for sale on their website. Either way, if you're going to buy Palatino, buy the "Linotype Palatino" OpenType version for sale at fonts.de, or use the "Palatino Linotype" version that comes with Win2000 and XP. Not sure about why the names are flipped there. MacOS currently ships with an older TT version of Palatino that doesn't contain the extra glyphs or features you get in the OT version. The OT version can be used on both platforms. Also check out Aldus and Zapf Renaissance for variations on the Palatino theme. Aldus has lower x-height and longer extenders. Zapf Renaissance is a finer, more delicate font with strong allusions to Palatino. Aside from the Book Antiqua problem that somehow refuses to die, Monotype is a fine library with some of the world's best hinting. But please consider buying Linotype designs from Linotype. Note that unlike Book Antiqua which was not authorized, there are two Zapf-authorized Palatino lookalikes from Bitstream (Zapf Calligraphic) and URW (Palladio) which I believe were released before Adobe or Linotype started selling digital fonts. But I can see no reason to get either of these instead of the real thing. The prices are pretty much the same.

Postmortem, after Monotype ("owner" of Book Antiqua) bought Linotype (owner of Palatino Linotype). As a reaction to the news that Microsoft refuses to retire Book Antiqua, even thought Monotype now has both designs, John Hudsaon, who has consulted for Microsoft on many projects, explains: I was doing work for both Linotype and Microsoft at the time of the development of Palatino Linotype, and had the story from both sides. Bruno Steinert was head of Linotype at the time, and was a good friend, as were many of the people involved in the project on the Microsoft side (Geraldine Wade, Mike Duggan, Greg Hitchcock). Bruno had hoped that Palatino Linotype would replace Book Antiqua, in Windows and Office, but because of existing user documents set in Book Antiqua and the lack of metrics compatibility between the two fonts, Microsoft decided that it could not remove support for that font. But at least, through the Palatino Linotype project, Hermann Zapf and Linotype received money from Microsoft for the licensing of the legitimate type.

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file name: Hermann Zapf Palatino 1948 Poster by Maria Jose Ricaurte Arriaga 2014


file name: Hermann Zapf Palatino 1948 Poster by Alexandra Ferreira 2014b


file name: Hermann Zapf Palatino 1948 Poster by Alexandra Ferreira 2014


file name: Hermann Zapf Palatino Pro Roman 1950







Luc Devroye ⦿ School of Computer Science ⦿ McGill University Montreal, Canada H3A 2K6 ⦿ lucdevroye@gmail.com ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org/fonts.html