Claude Garamond was a 16th century printer. After assisting with several prominent printers he became independent and established himself as the leading French typecutter (Dodd, 30). His type was to offer a more refined Aldine roman set over the popular Gothic blackletter types that were popular at the time. Garamond was the first typecutter to combine upper and lower case italic alphabet into a companion letterform set

In 1917 the American Type Foundry created a Garamond revival based on a matrices produced for the Calvinist Academy in Sedan in the 17th century. The set was reused in 1922 by Monotype Corporation to create their Garamond set. In 1926, historian Beatrice Warde discovered a 1621 Garamond specimen set and was able to note that the matrices that both sets were based on was created by Jean Jannon, not Claude Garamond. However, because of the popularity of the new Garamond font design in bookmaking, it was impossible to then rename the face.

Common Uses

Today, Garamond remains a very popular book face. Digitally, it doesn’t lend well as a display font (for use on web or other computer applications).

From Gutterberg to Open Type suggests reduce the Tracking as you increase the font size to maintain a good word fit.

Visual Study

Each week I will be visually implementing that week's font in some way - comparative, artistic or simply showing the font in use.

For Garamond, being that it is the first font picked for this blog, I decided that a font comparison would be best. Since Garamond is an Old-Style/Old-Face font I wanted to compare it against other Old-Style fonts as well as Transitional and Modern designs. This is what I've come up with:


Carter, Rob, Philip B. Meggs, and Ben Day. Typographic design: form and communication. 3rd ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2002. Print.

Dodd, Robin. From Gutenberg to opentype: an illustrated history of type from the earliest letterforms to the latest digital fonts. Vancouver: Hartley & Marks, 2006. Print.

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