Robert Granjon

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Evangelium Sanctum Domini Nostri Jesu Christi in Arabic, 1590, with Arabic types of Robert Grandjon, Typographia Medicea, Rome.

Robert Granjon (Paris, c. 1513 - Rome, 1590) was a French punchcutter, a designer and creator of metal type, and printer.[1][2][3] He worked in Paris, Lyon, Antwerp, and Rome.[1] He is best known for having introduced the typeface style Civilité, for his many italic types and his fleuron designs, although he worked across all genres of typeface and alphabet across his long career.[1][4][5][6][7]


The son of Parisian bookseller and printer Jean Granjon,[3] he married the daughter of wood engraver Bernard Salomon.[8][9]

In 1557, he introduced his "lettre francoise" type, now generally called "Civilité". It was based on contemporary French handwriting. The first book he published using it was Dialogue de la vie et de la mort by Ringhieri in 1557.[10] In a preface, he wrote that he hoped it would be a national letter style for the French language comparable to those of the "Hebrews, Greeks [and] Romans".[11] He had received from Henry II an exclusive privilege to use the type for ten years,[12] although it was apparently not enforced, as Philippe Danfrie and Richard Breton quickly brought out an imitation.[13][14]

Granjon's influential italic types had sloped roman capitals and a greater slope angle than some earlier italics in the Aldine style.[15][16]

In Paris and Lyons he printed several books of music.[17] Granjon's types were widely distributed across Europe. His Greek types, in the style of Claude Garamond's Grecs du roi types, were also very widely used.[18]

By 1579, he had moved to Rome.[19] There he worked on types for Oriental characters needed by the Catholic missionaries: Armenian (1579),[20] Syriac (1580), Cyrillic (1582), and Arabic (1580-86). He collaborated with Giambattista Raimondi, the scientific director of the Stamperia Medicea Orientale,[21] and Domenico Basa, the technical director of the Stamperia Vaticana, and contributed to the earliest printed editions in certain Oriental languages.[22][21] He died in 1590 and was buried in the Trinità dei Monti church.[23]

His name continued to be known in the printing trade for the century after his death: in 1667 the Amsterdam merchant Paul le Conte claimed (dubiously, according to John A. Lane) that all his matrices were made by Granjon.[24]

Many of Granjon's punches and matrices are preserved.[27]

Typefaces inspired by Granjon’s work[edit]

Comparisons between a number of typefaces influenced by the designs of Robert Granjon and/or Claude Garamond. A common feature among them (and most if not all typefaces mentioned on this page) is an uppercase "P" with a gap next to the vertical.

Many modern typerfaces are influenced by the designs of Robert Granjon. One of the first deliberate revivals of Granjon's type was Plantin by Frank Hinman Pierpont.[28][29] Despite being named after Renaissance printer Christophe Plantin, it is based on a Gros Cicero type which is designed by Robert Granjon.[30][31][32][33][34]

ITC Galliard by Matthew Carter, Allrounder Antiqua by Moritz Kleinsorge and Romaine by Aad van Dommelen are based on Granjon’s Ascendonica Romaine.[35][36][37][38]

Lyon Text by Kai Bernau and Graveur by Juanjo López are also influenced by Granjon’s works.[39][40] Graveur is not based on one single specimen, but instead a combination of multiple types by Granjon, including Parangonne Romaine and Ascendonica Romaine for its roman characters.[41]

The roman characters of MVB Verdigris by Mark van Bronkhorst are based on Granjon’s designs, while its italics are inspired by the works of Pierre Haultin.[42]

Garamond revivals[edit]

Because Granjon's italics were very widely used, many typefaces branded as "Garamond" use italics based on Granjon's work. Specific examples include Adobe Garamond, Garamond Premier, Sabon, Sabon Next, Granjon, and EB Garamond. [43][44][45][46][47]


  1. ^ a b c Vervliet 2008, p. 322.
  2. ^ Vervliet 2008, pp. 430–434.
  3. ^ a b Lane 2004, p. 39.
  4. ^ Janssen, Frans A. (8 November 2019). "Robert Granjon, Letter-cutter; 1513-1590: an oeuvre-catalogue, written by Hendrik D. L. Vervliet". Quaerendo. 49 (3): 275–276. doi:10.1163/15700690-12341446.
  5. ^ Shaw, David (June 2018). "Granjon's Flowers: An Enquiry into Granjon's, Giolito's, and de Tournes' Ornaments, 1542–1586. By Hendrik D. L. Vervliet". The Library. 19 (2): 238–239. doi:10.1093/library/19.2.238.
  6. ^ Boardley, John (6 June 2020). "Death of a Typeface". i love typography. Retrieved 4 July 2020.
  7. ^ Gaultney 2021, p. 63.
  8. ^ Vervliet 2008, p. 431.
  9. ^ Carter & Vervliet 1966, pp. 8–9.
  10. ^ Vervliet 2008, pp. 390, 431.
  11. ^ Carter & Vervliet 1966, p. 11.
  12. ^ Carter & Vervliet 1966, p. 19.
  13. ^ Carter & Vervliet 1966, p. 24.
  14. ^ Vervliet, Hendrik D L (March 2020). "Danfrie Reconsidered. Philippe Danfrié's (d. 1606) Civilite Types". The Library. 21 (1): 3–45. doi:10.1093/library/21.1.3.
  15. ^ Gaultney 2021, p. 151.
  16. ^ Vervliet 2008, pp. 322–323.
  17. ^ Pogue, Samuel F. & Dobbins, Frank (2001). "Robert Granjon". In Sadie, Stanley & Tyrrell, John (eds.). The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2nd ed.). London: Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-56159-239-5.
  18. ^ Lane 1996, p. 111.
  19. ^ Vervliet 2008, p. 436.
  20. ^ Papassissa 2019, pp. 57–69.
  21. ^ a b Vervliet 2008, p. 433.
  22. ^ Rome Reborn: The Vatican Library & Renaissance Culture/ Orient to Rome
  23. ^ Vervliet 2008, p. 432.
  24. ^ Lane 2013, p. 367.
  25. ^ Vervliet & Carter 1972.
  26. ^ Vervliet 2008, p. 350.
  27. ^ Vervliet 2008, pp. 230, 354, etc.
  28. ^ Slinn, Judy; Carter, Sebastian; Southall, Richard. History of the Monotype Corporation. pp. 202–3 etc.
  29. ^ "Identifont - Robert Granjon". Retrieved 2022-02-16.
  30. ^ "Monotype Plantin: A Digital Revival by Brigitte Schuster" (PDF). Retrieved 2022-02-16.
  31. ^ Morison, Stanley (7 June 1973). A Tally of Types. CUP Archive. pp. 22–24. ISBN 978-0-521-09786-4.
  32. ^ Dreyfus, John (1995). Into Print: Selected Writings on Printing History, Typography and Book Production (1st hardcover ed.). Boston: David R. Godine. pp. 116–124. ISBN 9781567920451.
  33. ^ Vervliet 2008, pp. 226–7.
  34. ^ Mosley, James. "Comments on Typophile thread". Typophile (archived). Archived from the original on 2011-10-13. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  35. ^ Mosley, James (2003). "Reviving the Classics: Matthew Carter and the Interpretation of Historical Models". In Mosley, James; Re, Margaret; Drucker, Johanna; Carter, Matthew (eds.). Typographically Speaking: The Art of Matthew Carter. Princeton Architectural Press. pp. 31–34. ISBN 9781568984278.
  36. ^ "ITC Galliard Font". Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  37. ^ "Allrounder Antiqua Font". Retrieved 2022-02-16.
  38. ^ "Romaine - Fontwerk". Retrieved 2022-02-16.
  39. ^ "Commercial Type » Catalog » Lyon Text Family". Commercial Type. Retrieved 2022-02-16.
  40. ^ "Graveur". Retrieved 2022-02-16.
  41. ^ "Designing a Revival: Graveur".
  42. ^ "MVB Verdigris Pro Font".
  43. ^ "Just what makes a Garamond a Garamond?". Retrieved 2022-02-16.
  44. ^ "Granjon". Retrieved 2022-02-16.
  45. ^ "GitHub - octaviopardo/EBGaramond12". Retrieved 2022-02-26.
  46. ^ Adobe Garamond Pro specimen book (PDF). San José: Adobe Systems. 1989. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 February 2015. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  47. ^ Brady, Fred; Blumberg, Gail; Huggins, Cleo; Stauffacher, Jack; Stone, Sumner; Szujewsksa, Laurie; Wang, Min (2000). Adobe Garamond. San José: Adobe Systems.


  • Maurits Sabbe, Marius Audin. Die Civilité-Schriften des Robert Granjon in Lyon: und die flämischen Drucker des 16. Jahrhunderts. Vol. 3 of Bibliotheca typographica, Bibliotheca Typographica, 1929.