Garamond is not Garamond

Jennylein's picture

I'm a 2n-year-student at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. At the moment I'm researching "Garamond isn't Garamond". It would be super nice if you would like to add opinions on favorite cuts of Garamond and why this is your favorite.

Any opinions or information on the subject is welcomed.

Which digitalized Garamond is the one that is closest to the original drawings, anyone know?

Also do you use Garamond and for what kind of occasions. If you don't use it, any specific reasons?

Are there other typefaces based on the Garamond that you prefer using today?

Many thanx,

paul d hunt's picture

for starters, see Garamond

Quincunx's picture

I hardly ever use Garamond, but I like Sabon/Sabon Next.

Jennylein's picture

Thanks guys that's a great start. I really like Sabon but haven't been able to see the Sabon Next properly (don't have it), from what I read it seems to be more true to the original Garamond cut and his wish for neutrality. More heavy and rounded and a more even tone to it. Any other differences?

typovar's picture

A few years ago I saved some webpage for study. It contains some images of '12 Garamonds'.
I put it on my website, because the original is gone...
Good Luck

Jackie Frant's picture

Garamond in the late 1980s and early 1990s was very popular among a few of the better freelance art directors for publishing houses. I still remember Tony Russo using Garamond and if not, then Cheltenham for all the blurbs... and sometimes a title of two. Mike Stromberg was always creating title type with Garamond mixed wtih Mistral.

It served its purpose - but Garamond was always known for a small x-height -- so it wasn't as easy to read as other serif fonts. However, ITC changed all that when they redrew it and called it ITC Garamond - one of the first things you notice is the higher x-height.

Quincunx's picture

There was also the thread 'Garamond anyone?' a while ago about the different Garamonds.

Jennylein's picture

I just had a look at the Garamond anyone link? Thanks, for that it gave a lot of answers.
Going to try and find a book on the full story behind it.

Anyone who's read the article that Beatrice Warde wrote when she first discovered that Garamond was not based on Garamond? Is it possible to get hold of?

James Mosley's picture

Beatrice Warde’s piece is called ‘The Garamond types: 16th and 17th century sources considered’, and it appeared for not very convincing reasons under a pseudonym, ‘Paul Beaujon’, in the big hard-back journal Fleuron (no. 5, 1925, pp. 131–79). Not easy to get hold of, but there is a complete reprint of Fleuron (7 volumes) and the piece is also included in a Fleuron anthology (1975) edited by Francis Meynell and Herbert Simon.

The main point to bear in mind (and to answer the implied question) is that everybody did not believe that the types for which there were three sizes of matrices (no punches) at the Imprimerie nationale in Paris were actually made by Claude Garamond. Arthur Christian, the director of the IN in Paris, did. (His revival, cast from the old matrices in 1900 and fitted out with extra sizes cut by professional punchcutters, used the alternative spelling of Garamond’s name, Garamont.) So did ATF, who made a high-profile type called Garamond. And so, to begin with, did Stanley Morison in England, who got the printer he worked with to import the ATF type and persuaded British Monotype to make a ‘Garamond’ based on the IN type. (US Monotype got Goudy to draw one too, a lively type, underappreciated I think.)

But according to Warde, Henry Lewis Bullen, librarian and publicist at ATF, where she worked before coming to England, told her he was sceptical. The main critic was Jean Paillard (probably Bullen’s source), who tried unsuccessfully to persuade Christian to be more cautious in his claims. He wrote a brilliant and scholarly essay, bringing together most of what was known about the life and work of Garamond, Claude Garamont, graveur et fondeur de lettres. It was published by the small typefoundry Ollière in Paris in 1914 with a specimen of their new Garamont type.

Shortly afterwards Paillard joined the army and was killed in Northern France within weeks. Not surprisingly, the specimen did not attract much notice. I know of no copy in Britain. The only one I have found in a US library catalogue is in the New York Public Library. After his death, Paillard’s brother gave a copy of the specimen to the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, adding a note critical of Christian. Quite recently the printing museum in Lyon has bought one, only the second known copy in France. Curiously, it was given to the Lyon printer Audin by Stanley Morison.

So Morison knew Paillard’s essay, and so did Warde (she mentions it, and perhaps read Morison’s copy). She did a lot of hard work, her essay has good illustrations and it is well worth reading. But it owes far more than she is willing to admit to Paillard, whose essay nobody knew, and it also follows some very misleading trails too.

Her one stroke of genius – and luck – was to spot during her work in the British Museum (now British Library) that the so-called ‘Garamond’ types at the IN were in fact look-alikes, the work of Jean Jannon, a typefounder of Sedan. Having made the discovery, she says she rushed to get the overnight train to Paris where the only copy of Jannon’s specimen of 1621 was in the Mazarin library. (She later published a facsimile.) But how did she know it was there? There is no published catalogue. Does her husband Frederic Warde, who had lived in France, and from whom she was becoming increasingly detached, somehow come into the story? It seems quite likely.

One thing is certain. Morison had an unerring flair for publicity, and without being too cynical one can be sure that this was what helped the story to run, and run, and run.

Paillard’s French text was republished in 1969 by the filmsetting firm Ofmi-Garamont under a title that is not his, Qui êtes-vous, Monsieur Garamont? (‘Who are you Mr Garamond?’) Good question.

Tim Ahrens's picture

Also see this thread on Garamond Premier Pro:

You should have a look at Mark Argetsinger’s review of Adobe Garamond in Printing History #26-27, which is also referred to there. It has interesting references, too.

Nick Shinn's picture

In the mid '90s I was inspired by the wonkyness of several early 20th century versions of Garamond to produce typefaces--Fontesque and Oneleigh--which, although they don't bear a close relationship to the letter architecture of the old Garamonds, may nonetheless claim to be illegitimate (if not illegible) descendants.

Jennylein's picture

Thanks for putting so much passion into answering my questions about Garamond. I've found a very nice old specimen from a printer here in Amsterdam. Although it was called Garamont, instead of Garamond. After reading the above posts I still find the Garamond and Garamont a bit confusing... do you know why for example the director of the IN spelled it with a t? The specimen I found here in Amsterdam was also spelled with a t. Where does the t come from?

James Mosley's picture

> Where does the t come from?

When Garamond (or Garamont) did some publishing in 1545 he put his name on the title page of a book in French as Claude Garamont (Beatrice Warde showed an illustration of it), which is the best proof we have of his own preference. But most later writers spelt the surname ‘Garamond’, until scholars like Paillard went back to ‘Garamont’, and in France this is now the preferred form. But since ATF and Monotype used the spelling ‘Garamond’ for their types, English-speaking people (I'm one of them) find it difficult to break the habit. Both spellings are right in their way.

It's irrelevant to the question, but the italic combination r and a in metal type is a problem: normally you can’t kern the r because it would hit the next letter in combinations like ri and rl. Even on some of Garamond’s own title pages the ra combination shows too much space between them, but for the little italic on his French title page with ‘Garamont’ on it he shows an ra ligature – or maybe it's specially kerned. It looks better.

enne_son's picture

James, thanks for the fascinating post on September 20.

I have been trying for years, but not with too much determination, to find out more about Jean Jannon, partly because of his Calvinistic connections. I've often wondered if and how that played a role in what he did. The Calvinism of Calvin has, of course, a gallic esprit and a debt to italian humanist learning.

Peter Enneson

James Mosley's picture

Peter, I would quickly get way out of my depth if I tried to spot protestant features in types. But one might note that Jannon's tiny types, like his Sedanoise were celebrated, and that an earlier protestant punchcutter, Pierre Haultin, had made a little nonpareil that was widely used for printing small-format Bibles. Calvinists liked to buy Bibles, in their own language if possible, so perhaps protestant punchcutters tried hard to make types that would be suitable for printing them.

Having mentioned Garamont's spelling of his name in 1545 and his handling of the ra combination, I ought to show them both (from Warde's article). The ra looks good in Francoyse too (but the a with macron causes trouble in the line above):

wolfgang_homola's picture

Garamond is a tricky topic. Are we talking about the 20th century revivals of Garamond? About the 'original' fonts by Garamond? About a new style of roman introduced in 16th century France? Or about Claude Garamont?

As for the 'original' Garamond types:
Some of his later work as a punch cutter survived at Plantin-Moretus
See also:
M. Parker, K. Melis, H.D.L. Vervliet: 'Early inventories of punches, matrices, and moulds, in the Plantin-Moretus archives', De Gulden Passer 38 (1960)
For illustations see:
H.D.L. Vervliet and H. Carter: Type specimen facsimiles II

Few years ago people assumed that the new style of roman (modelled after Griffo's work for Aldus Manutius and introduced in Robert Estienne's books) in Paris in 1930 was Garamond's design.
N. Barker: 'The Aldine roman in Paris, 1530-1534', in: The Library, 5th series, 29 (1974), pp 5-20

It seems that Garamond actually started to cut punches a bit later, and the credit for having introduced a new style of roman has to go to someone else...
H.D.L. Vervliet: 'The young Garamont', in: Typography papers 7

Beatrice Warde's article can be found online – probable babal fish might help, but anyway, Jenny, you should try to read the original article, because of the beautiful illustrations ...

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