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Category Serif
Classification Old-style
Designer(s) Claude Garamond
Jean Jannon
Shown here Adobe Garamond Pro (based on the original Garamond)

Garamond /ˈɡærəmɒnd/ is the name given to a group of old-style serif typefaces named after the punch-cutter Claude Garamont (also spelled as Garamond, Latinised as garamondus) (c. 1480–1561). Many of the Garamond faces are more closely related to the work of a later punch-cutter, Jean Jannon. A direct relationship between Garamond’s letterforms and contemporary type can be found in the Roman versions of the typefaces Adobe Garamond, Granjon, Sabon, and Stempel Garamond.

Garamond’s letterforms convey a sense of fluidity and consistency. Some unique characteristics in his letters are the small bowl of the a and the small eye of the e. Long extenders and top serifs have a downward slope.

Garamond is considered to be among the most legible and readable serif typefaces for use in print (offline) applications.[1][2] While some unscientific studies have periodically noted that it uses much less ink than Times New Roman,[3][4] expert analysis points out that the savings is due to it being 15% smaller at a given point size.[5] Garamond, along with Times New Roman and Century Gothic, has been identified by the GSA as a "toner-efficient" font.[6]


Claude Garamond’s roman text face.

Original type[edit]

The first Roman type designed by Claude Garamond was used in an edition of the Erasmus book Paraphrasis in Elegantiarum Libros Laurentii Vallae published in 1530. The Roman design was based on an Aldus Manutius type, De Aetna, cut in 1455 by Francesco Griffo.

After Claude Garamond died in 1561, most of his punches and matrices were acquired by Christophe Plantin from Antwerp, the Le Bé type foundry and the Frankfurt foundry Egenolff-Bermer.[7]

The only complete set of the original Garamond dies and matrices is at the Plantin-Moretus Museum, in Antwerp, Belgium.

Jean Jannon misattribution[edit]

In 1621, sixty years after Garamond’s death, the French printer Jean Jannon 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. After the French government raided Jannon’s printing office, Cardinal Richelieu named Jannon’s type Caractère de l’Université (literally "Character of the University"),[8] and it became the house style of Royal Printing Office.

Various examples of typefaces using the name ‘Garamond’. The topmost sample (Monotype Garamond), as well as those for Garamond 3 and ITC Garamond, are actually based on the work of Jean Jannon – note the steep, concave upper serif of ‘n’, and the slightly more irregular proportions.

In 1825, the French National Printing Office adapted the type used by Royal Printing Office in the past, and claimed the type as the work of Claude Garamond.

Several revivals were produced in the early 20th century. However, in a 1926 paper published on the British typography journal The Fleuron, Beatrice Warde revealed that many of the revivals said to be based on Claude Garamond’s designs actually followed Jean Jannon's designs. Nevertheless the Garamond name had stuck.

Typefaces derived from Jannon's design include Monotype Garamond, Simoncini Garamond, LTC Garamont, and Linotype Garamond 3. This grouping also includes a version called ITC Garamond, designed by Tony Stan (1917–1988) of the International Typeface Corporation and released in 1977. It was initially intended to serve as a display version accompanying existing typefaces, and is considered by some to be only loosely based on Garamond and Jannon's designs.

Jannon-derived types are most immediately recognizable by the lowercase a, which has a long upper hook that extends slightly past the edge of the bowl; the bowl itself is smaller and more downward-pointing than those of Garamond. Other differences include the triangular serifs on the stems of such characters as m, n and r, which are more steeply inclined and concave in Jannon's design than in Garamond's.

Revivals based on Garamond's original face include Adobe Garamond and Garamond Premier (both designed by Robert Slimbach), Ludlow Garamond, Stempel Garamond, URW++ Garamond No 8, Granjon (designed by George William Jones) and Sabon (designed by Jan Tschichold).

Contemporary versions of Garamond[edit]

Based on Garamond's design[edit]

Adobe Garamond[edit]

Released in 1989, Adobe Garamond is designed by Robert Slimbach for Adobe Systems, based on the Roman types of Garamond and the Italic types of Robert Granjon. The font family contains the regular, semibold, and bold weights. The OpenType version of the font family was released in 2000 as Adobe Garamond Pro, with enhanced support for alternate glyphs.[9]

Garamond Premier[edit]

Slimbach started planning for a new interpretation of Garamond after visiting the Plantin-Moretus Museum in 1988, during the production of Adobe Garamond. The OpenType font family, offered in four weights (regular, medium, semibold and bold, with an additional light weight for display sizes) and complete with optical sizes, was released in 2005 as Garamond Premier Pro, with glyph coverage for Central European, Cyrillic and Greek characters.[10]


Sabon is an oldstyle serif typeface designed by Jan Tschichold in 1964, jointly released by Linotype, Monotype and Stempel in 1967. Although it does not have the name "Garamond", Sabon is based on the original Garamond design. A distinguishing feature of Sabon is the same width occupied by characters in the Roman and Italic styles, and the Regular and Bold weights.

EB Garamond[edit]

Released in 2011 by Georg Duffner, EB Garamond is a free software version of Garamond released under the Open Font License and available through Google Fonts.

Based on Jannon's design[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

Garamond Infant.jpg
  • In Umberto Eco's novel Il pendolo di Foucault, the protagonists work for a pair of related publishing companies, Garamond and Manuzio, both owned by a Mister Garamond.
  • Garamond is the name of a character in the Wii game Super Paper Mario. He appears in the world of Flopside (the mirror-image of Flipside, where the game begins). He is a prolific and highly successful author, unlike his Flipside counterpart, Helvetica (a probable recognition of the relative suitability of the two fonts for use in book typesetting).
  • The large picture books of Dr. Seuss are set in a version of Garamond.
  • In 1988 British newspaper The Guardian redesigned its masthead to incorporate "The" in Garamond and "Guardian" in bold Helvetica. This led to a repopularising of Garamond in the UK.[citation needed]
  • Nvidia uses it in their scientific PDF documents.[11]
  • All of the American editions of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books are set in twelve-point Adobe Garamond, except Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which is set in 11.5-point Adobe Garamond[12][13] because that book is longer.
  • The popular Hunger Games trilogy is set in Adobe Garamond Pro, as is the Shiver trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater.
  • The Everyman's Library publication of 'The Divine Comedy is set in twelve-point Garamond.
  • A rare infant version—with single-story versions of the letters a and g—is available in the UK from DTP Types.
  • A variation on the Garamond typeface was adopted by Apple in 1984 upon the release of the Macintosh. For branding and marketing the new Macintosh family of products, Apple's designers used the ITC Garamond Light and Book weights and digitally condensed them twenty percent. The result was not as compressed as ITC Garamond Light Condensed or ITC Garamond Book Condensed. Not being a multiple master font, stroke contrast in some characters was too light, and some of the interior counters appeared awkward. To address these problems, Apple commissioned ITC and Bitstream to develop a variant for their proprietary use that was similar in width and feeling, but addressed the digitally condensed version’s shortcomings. Designers at Bitstream produced a unique digital variant, condensed approximately twenty percent, and worked with Apple to make the face more distinct. Following this, Chuck Rowe hinted the TrueTypes. The fonts delivered to Apple were known as Apple Garamond.[14]


  1. ^ "Review of Classic Serif Typefaces". 
  2. ^ Coale, Brian (8 October 2013). "#FontFriday: Garamond, the Eco-Friendly Font". Retrieved 29 March 2014. 
  3. ^ Stix, Madeleine (March 28, 2014). Teen to gov't: change your typeface, save millions. CNN via KOCO-TV. Retrieved March 28, 2014.
  4. ^ Agarwal, Amit (19 July 2012). "Which Fonts Should You Use for Saving Printer Ink". Digital Inspiration. Retrieved 29 March 2014. 
  5. ^ Phinney, Thomas (28 March 2014). "Saving $400M printing cost from font change? Not Exactly…". Retrieved 31 March 2014. 
  6. ^ "Toner-Efficient Fonts Can Save Millions". Department of the Navy. 8 March 2013. 
  7. ^ "Claude Garamond". Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  8. ^ "Garamond & the Boys". 
  9. ^ "Adobe Garamond Pro specimen book". Adobe Systems. Retrieved 9 March 2014. 
  10. ^ "Adobe - Fonts: Garamond Premier Pro". Adobe Systems. Retrieved 9 March 2014. 
  11. ^ "NVIDIA OpenCL JumpStart Guide". Nvidia. Retrieved 7 October 2010. 
  12. ^ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, back pages
  13. ^ "Adobe Garamond in the Harry Potter books — not a character but a font". Retrieved 2008-10-10. 
  14. ^ '"ITC Garamond Font Family". Retrieved 2007-01-19. 
  15. ^ Eggers, Dave. The Best of McSweeney's - Volume 1. ISBN 0-241-14234-2. 


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