Optima™ was designed by Hermann Zapf and is his most successful typeface. In 1950, Zapf made his first scetches while visiting the Santa Croce church in Florence. He sketched letters from grave plates that had been cut about 1530, and as he had no other paper with him at the time, the sketches were done on two 1000 lire bank notes. These letters from the floor of the church inspired Optima, a typeface that is classically roman in proportion and character, but without serifs. The letterforms were designed in the proportions of the Golden Ratio. In 1952, after careful legibility testing, the first drawings were finished. The type was cut by the famous punchcutter August Rosenberger at the D. Stempel AG typefoundry in Frankfurt. Optima was produced in matrices for the Linotype typesetting machines and released in 1958. With the clear, simple elegance of its sans serif forms and the warmly human touches of its tapering stems, this family has proved popular around the world. In 2002, when it was finally possible to produce digital alphabets without technical limitations and compromises, and more than 50 years after the first sketches, an expansion and redesign of the Optima family was completed and released as Optima nova. Hermann Zapf and Japanese type designer Akira Kobayashi collaborated on the project, which included re-working of the existing weights and the addition of several new weights for a total of 40 fonts. Small caps, Old style Figures, light, heavy, and condensed fonts have been added. The original Optima was never manufactured with a real italic, only an oblique version of the roman. Optima™ nova has a complete range of beautifully designed real italics; the new italic forms , of the e, f and g are especially notable. The titling face includes capital letters with special and unusual letter combinations and ligatures, making it an excellent choice for headlines, logos and advertising purposes. Optima continues to be an all-purpose typeface; and Optima nova works for just about anything from book text to signage.