Creator Michael Harvey’s background and skill can easily be seen in Zephyr. Its character shapes are spirited, yet firmly grounded in epigraphic tradition. The drawn shadow aids in giving the letterforms strength and authority. The word zephyr can mean a gentle breeze, but this design was named after the Ford Zephyr automobile Harvey was driving at the time of its creation.
In his book Creative Lettering, Michael Harvey wrote: “The creation of a typeface in which individual characters work together in groups while retaining their individuality, is perhaps the greatest challenge to the skill of the lettering designer.” In Zephyr, Harvey’s first typeface design, he met his own challenge with dexterity. Now this forty-year-old font is having a rebirth in digital form.
Inspired by Georg Trump's lively Codex, Harvey first drew the typeface as an all-capital design, with just numerals and basic punctuation. He sold the drawings to the Ludlow Typograph Company of Chicago in 1966, for less than $500. Ludlow, which made typesetting equipment for setting display type in metal, produced Zephyr in just three sizes: 24, 36 and 48 point.
A world-renowned stone lettering artist and stone carver, Harvey has designed and carved memorial inscriptions in Westminster Abbey, Winchester and Canterbury cathedrals. He carved the great frieze of artists’ names in the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, London. Harvey has also distinguished himself as a book jacket designer, typographic educator and author, with six books about the lettering arts to his credit.