Born in Hechingen, Germany in 1895, Dr. Rudolph Wolf would eventually rise to prominence in the typography community due to two achievements: the creation of Memphis and for at least being attributed the creation of the famed test string, hamburgefontsiv.
Wolf conceived of Memphis as the first revival of his time of the Egyptian slab serifs that had been so wildly popular in the beginning of the 19th century. He designed the Memphis typeface in 1929 during his tenure at the Stempel factory.
Memphis quickly became one of the most popular typefaces of its time and began appearing in commercial print around the globe. As with the earlier Egyptian fonts, its high legibility and even weight values make the font highly effective in brand and display use. Its creation led to an extensive revival of slab serifs in foundries around the world.
Memphis’ block-like build makes it a great typeface for display applications including packaging, advertising, and headlines. Traditionally, it is only used for short text blocks and not in body text. Media coverage
Memphis was generally well received for its legibility and surprising flexibility. In ‘ABCs of Type’, Allan Haley described Memphis as “a sturdy typeface that provides the clarity of a sans serif with the readability of a serif. David Consuegra wrote in ‘American type design & designers’ that Memphis set off “a worldwide type trend”.