Just what makes a “Garamond” a Garamond?

Claude Garamond
Claude Garamond

Claude Garamond (ca. 1480–1561) cut types for the Parisian scholar-printer Robert Estienne in the first part of the sixteenth century, basing his romans on the types cut by Francesco Griffo for Venetian printer Aldus Manutius in 1495. Garamond refined his Romans in later versions, adding his own concepts as he developed his skills as a punchcutter. After his death in 1561, the Garamond punches made their way to the printing office of Christoph Plantin in Antwerp, where they were used by Plantin for many decades, and still exist in the Plantin-Moretus museum. Other Garamond punches went to the Frankfurt foundry of Egenolff-Berner, who issued the famous Egenolff-Berner specimen (also available as pdf file, 1,3 mb) in 1592 that became an important source of information about the Garamond types for later scholars and designers.

In 1621, sixty years after Garamond’s death, the French printer Jean Jannon (1580–1635) issued a specimen of typefaces that had some characteristics similar to the Garamond designs, though his letters were more asymmetrical and irregular in slope and axis. Jannon’s types disappeared from use for about two hundred years, but were re-discovered in the French national printing office in 1825, when they were wrongly attributed to Claude Garamond. Their true origin was not to be revealed until the 1927 research of Beatrice Warde. In the early 1900s, Jannon’s types were used to print a history of printing in France, which brought new attention to French typography and the “Garamond” types. This sparked the beginning of modern revivals; some based on the mistaken model from Jannon’s types, and others on the original Garamond types.

Italics for Garamond fonts have sometimes been based on those cut by Robert Granjon (1513–1589), who worked for Plantin and whose types are also on the Egenolff-Berner specimen.

Linotype has several versions of the Garamond typefaces. Though they vary in design and model of origin, they are all considered to be distinctive representations of French Renaissance style; easily recognizable by their elegance and readability.


Some of the “Garamond” families available at Linotype.com

Stempel Garamond
Font Styles: 4
Formats: OT Com, OT Pro, OT Std, PS/TT
Small Caps: Regular style only
Oldstyle Figures: Yes
Central European: Yes
Greek: No
Cyrillic: No

Designed by: D. Stempel AG
Year: 1925
Based on: Claude Garamond

First released by D. Stempel AG in 1925, Stempel Garamond™ was based on the Egenolff-Berner specimen of 1592 and was therefore a revival of the genuine Garamond types. It is one of the most famous Garamond interpretations, and since its introduction in 1925, it has been one of the most frequently used text typefaces for bookwork, especially in Germany. Stempel Garamond has its own unique temperament, with a rhythm and sharpness that set it apart from other Garamonds. Many designers regard the Italics in the Stempel Garamond family as the most beautiful “Garamond” Italics.

Monotype Garamond
Font Styles: 4
Formats: OT Std, PS/TT
Small Caps: Regular style only
Oldstyle Figures: Yes
Central European: No
Greek: Yes
Cyrillic: Yes

Designed by: Monotype Design Studio
Year: 1922
Based on: Jean Jannon

Cut in 1922, Monotype Garamond was the first of Stanley Morison’s celebrated typeface revival projects at the English Monotype Corporation. The design was patterned after type from the archives of the French Imprimerie Nationale, the centuries-old office of French government printing (broadly equivalent to the US Government Printing Office, or Her Majesty’s Stationery Office in the UK).

The Imprimerie type was long believed to be the early-16th-century work of Claude Garamond. It was only in 1926, after “Garamond” faces from Monotype and many other foundries had been released, that type historian Beatrice Warde discovered that the type model was the work of Jean Jannon, of Sedan, France. Jannon was a later designer who produced his work some eighty years after the types of Claude Garamond.

Jannon’s goal, much like Monotype’s three centuries later, was to imitate the style of the great masters of Roman type and make the designs available to printers of his own day. Obviously, he succeeded. The French Imprimerie purchased his types and, over time, as the name of Jean Jannon faded; later belief being they were indeed from the earlier master punchcutter.

In Monotype Garamond, as with other interpretations of the face, character stroke-weight stress is canted, with the heaviest parts at approximately the two and eight o’clock positions. Head serifs (those at the top of character strokes) look like little banners, and baseline serifs tend to be long and slightly cupped, with soft, rounded terminals.

Monotype Garamond is a family of two upright weights with complementary Italics. The family also offers small caps, oldstyle figures, and a suite of swash alternate characters. While intended primarily for text composition, Monotype Garamond is distinctive, lively, and remarkably versatile in large sizes.

Garamond Antiqua
Font Styles: 1
Formats: PS/TT
Small Caps: No
Oldstyle Figures: No
Central European: No
Greek: No
Cyrillic: No

Designed by: D. Stempel AG
Year: 1925
Based on: Claude Garamond

This single font is a slightly different digital version from Monotype of the Roman style of Stempel Garamond.

Garamond #3
Font Styles: 4
Formats: OT Std, PS/TT
Small Caps: Regular and Bold only
Oldstyle Figures: Yes
Central European: No
Greek: No
Cyrillic: No

Designed by: Morris Fuller Benton
Year: 1917
Based on: Jean Jannon

Garamond™ #3 was issued for linecasting machines by Linotype in 1936, and was derived from Morris Fuller Benton’s Garamond, which was initially released by the American Typefounders (ATF). The typeface was also distributed by Lettergieterei ‘Amsterdam,’ also know as Tetterode, in the Netherlands.

Garamond Classico
Font Styles: 4
Formats: PS/TT
Small Caps: Regular only
Oldstyle Figures: Regular only
Central European: No
Greek: No
Cyrillic: No

Designed by: Franko Luin
Year: 1993
Based on: Jean Jannon

Franko Luin (1941–2005) was a Slovian–Italian designer who lived and work in Sweden. His body of work includes both new typeface designs, and revivals of some of the finest classics, like Garamond. Garamond Classico™ is Luin’s own version of Garamond. The letters follow the Jannon model.

Adobe Garamond
Font Styles: 6
Formats: OT Pro, PS/TT
Small Caps: Regular and Semibold only
Oldstyle Figures: Yes
Central European: Yes
Greek: No
Cyrillic: No

Designed by: Robert Slimbach
Year: 1989
Based on: Claude Garamond and Robert Granjon

Adobe Garamond™ was designed by Robert Slimbach in 1989. The Roman weights are based on a true Garamond model, and the Italics are based on those of punchcutter Robert Granjon. This family has been expanded to include small caps, titling caps, expert fonts, and swash caps, which were typical in fifteenth and sixteenth century typography. Since the rise of digital printing, Adobe Garamond has been one of the most popular book faces the world over.

Garamond Premier
Font Styles: 8, plus additional optical sizes for Captions, Subheads, and Display settings
Formats: OT Pro
Small Caps: Yes
Oldstyle Figures: Yes
Central European: Yes
Greek: Yes
Cyrillic: Yes

Designed by: Robert Slimbach
Year: 2005
Based on: Claude Garamond and Robert Granjon

Robert Slimbach is no stranger to Garamond typefaces; he designed Adobe Garamond, which was released in 1989. Based on his experience with that family, he spent the following decade and a half created an even better Garamond: a family with four different optical sizes. Type is Garamond’s day was size-specific. Letters were cut for a specific size, and each size appeared slightly different due to its fine-tuning. Garamond Premier is a 21st century typeface, perfect for intentional text work.

ITC Garamond
Font Styles: 24 (not including the Handtooled version [Link])
Formats: OT Std, PS/TT
Small Caps: No
Oldstyle Figures: No
Central European: No
Greek: No
Cyrillic: No

Designed by: Tony Stan
Year: 1977
Based on: Jean Jannon

ITC Garamond™ was designed in 1977 by Tony Stan for ITC. Very loosely based on the forms of the original sixteenth-century Garamond-era work, this version has a taller x-height and tighter letterspacing, two elements that were very popular in New York advertising design during the 1970s. These “period” characteristics make it very suitable for contemporary work, and Apple used the face for branding and packaging for quite some time. Very versatile in larger styles, ITC Garamond has eight regular weights from light to ultra, plus eight condensed weights. Other Garamond versions are preferable for body copy. Ed Benguiat added the four stylish Handtooled fonts in 1993.

Simoncini Garamond
Font Styles: 3
Formats: OT Std, PS/TT
Small Caps: No
Oldstyle Figures: No
Central European: No
Greek: No
Cyrillic: No

Designed by: Francesco Simoncini
Year: 1961
Based on: Jean Jannon

Simoncini Garamond™ was designed by Francesco Simoncini from 1958 to 1961, and he based it on the Jannon model. This version works well for both text and display, and is a little lighter and more delicate that other Garamonds.

Sabon
Font Styles: 4
Formats: OT Std, PS/TT
Small Caps: Regular style only
Oldstyle Figures: Yes
Central European: Yes
Greek: Yes
Cyrillic: Yes

Designed by: Jan Tschichold
Year: 1967
Based on: Claude Garamond and Robert Granjon

Jan Tschichold designed Sabon™, which was produced jointly by the three foundries D. Stempel AG, Linotype, and Monotype in 1967. This was in response to a request from German master printers to make a typeface family that would keep the same design across the three metal type technologies of the time: foundry type for hand composition, linecasting, and single-type machine composition. Tschichold turned to the sixteenth century for inspiration, and the story has a complicated family thread that connects his Sabon design to the Garamond lineage.

Jakob Sabon, who the type is named for, was a student of the great French punchcutter Claude Garamond. He completed a set of his teacher’s punches after Garamond’s death in 1561. Sabon became owner of a German foundry when he married the granddaughter of the Frankfurt printer, Christian Egenolff. Sabon died in 1580, and his widow married Konrad Berner, who took over the foundry. Tschichold loosely based his design on types from the 1592 specimen sheet issued by the Egenolff-Berner foundry: a 14-point roman attributed to Claude Garamond, and an Italic attributed to Robert Granjon. Sabon was the typeface name chosen for this twentieth century revival and joint venture in production; this name avoided confusion with other fonts connected with the names of Garamond and Granjon.

Classic, elegant, and extremely legible, Sabon is one of the most beautiful Garamond variations. Always a good choice for book typography, the Sabon family is also particularly good for text and headlines in magazines, advertisements, documentation, business reports, corporate design, multimedia, and correspondence.

Monotype Sabon
Font Styles: 4
Formats: OT Pro, OT Std, PS/TT
Small Caps: Regular style only
Oldstyle Figures: Yes
Central European: Yes
Greek: No
Cyrillic: No

Designed by: Jan Tschichold
Year: 1967
Based on: Claude Garamond and Robert Granjon

This is the Monotype digitization of their version of Sabon™ (see above). A bit lighter than the Linotype family.

Sabon Next
Font Styles: 10, plus two display sizes, and 1 ornaments font
Formats: OT Pro, OT Std, PS/TT
Small Caps: All styles except Black and Black Italic
Oldstyle Figures: Yes
Central European: No
Greek: No
Cyrillic: No

Designed by: Jean François Porchez
Year: 2002
Based on: Jan Tschichold, Claude Garamond, and Robert Granjon

The design of Sabon™ Next by Jean François Porchez, a revival of a revival, was a double challenge: to try to discern Jan Tschichold’s own schema for the original Sabon, and to interpret the complexity of a design originally made in three versions, for multiple different typecasting systems.

The first two versions of the original Sabon typeface were designed for use with Linotype and Monotype composing machines; the last for the D. Stempel AG type foundry’s hand composition sorts. All three versions were first released in 1967.

Because the Stempel foundry version did not have the constraints required in for types intended for machine composition, it seems closer to a pure interpretation of its Garamond ancestor. So it was only natural that Porchez based Sabon Next on this particular version. However, he also referred to Garamond specimens (especially the same Egenolff-Berner specimen that inspired Stempel Garamond) carefully improving the proportions of the existing digital Sabon while maintaining its alignments.

The new Sabon Next family is large and versatile – including Roman and Italic variants in six weights, from regular to black. Most weights also have small caps, oldstyle figures, and alternate (swashes, ligatures, etc) fonts available. There is one ornament font made up of many lovely fleurons. The standard fonts include revised lining figures that are intentionally designed to be a little smaller than capitals.

The Sabon Next family is part of the Platinum Collection.

Related products

Stempel Garamond™ font family (Linotype Originals)
Monotype Garamond font family (Monotype Library)
Garamond Classico™ font family (Omnibus Typografi)
Adobe Garamond™ font family
Garamond Premier font family
Simoncini Garamond™ font family (Linotype Originals)
Sabon® font family (Linotype Originals)
Monotype Sabon® font family (Monotype Library)
Sabon® Next font family (Platinum Collection)