Over 70 years in the making, the Diotima® Classic typeface family is not only one of the most beautiful typefaces ever designed – it is also one of the more versatile.
Diotima Classic History
It’s been said that the Diotima® design is one of the most beautiful typefaces ever cast in metal. Drawn by Gudrun Zapf von Hesse, a practicing calligrapher for over 70 years, the design dates back to the beginning of her career. At the time, Zapf von Hesse was working as a bookbinder, and her calligraphic handwriting rendering for text from Hyperion to Diotima, by Friedrich Hölderlin, served as the foundation for Diotima Italic. It wasn’t until 1948 that a roman design was added to the family. Shortly after this, the D. Stempel AG type foundry became aware of the design and began to produce the first metal fonts of Diotima in 1951.
This original Diotima was particularly suited to display applications such as invitations, social announcements, and brochures. The two-weight family was eventually made into fonts for phototypesetting equipment – and finally into digital fonts.
In 2008, Akira Kobayashi, Linotype’s type director, and Zapf von Hesse collaborated to revive and reinterpret Diotima for both text and display typography. The result of their work is Diotima Classic, a four-weight family – each with a complementary Italic design. The new Diotima Classic Light captures the delicate spirit of the original Diotima, while the Regular weight has more robust serifs and thicker hairlines, making it ideally suited for copy in text sizes. The Bold weight provides emphasis in text copy, while the Heavy is perfect for those instances when you want to make an important point – but in the nicest of all possible ways.
The new Diotima Classic family is also available as a suite of OpenType Pro fonts. Graphic communicators can now work with this versatile design while taking advantage of OpenType’s capabilities, including the automatic insertion of old style figures, ligatures and small caps.
The Diotima Classic Pro fonts also offer an extended character set supporting most Central European and many Eastern European languages.