Claude Garamond (1480 – 1561)

Claude Garamond was one of the most reputable and renowned typographers of all time, whose name has in some respects become synonymous with type design. Born in Paris, France in 1940, Garamond began his illustrious career as an apprentice of the fellow Parisian printer and punch-cutter, Antoine Augereau in 1510. Garamond surrounded himself with many multi-talented professionals who had mastered several artistic and technical skills in order to produce the finest books of the period. It should also be noted that Garamond was the first to specialize in the service of typography to many publishers in Paris.

Following a decade of success in his craft, he was called upon by King Francois I of France to produce a Greek typeface which became known as “Grecs du Roi”. The three sets of fonts which were produced were inspired by the handwriting of Angelos Vergetios and was carved to 16 point. In the year 1545, Garamond became a publisher and featured his own type which included a brand new italic. The first book which he published was “Pia et religiosa Mediatio” by David Chambellan. These books were set with typefaces designed by Garamond himself. He utilized his disciplined creativity to develop wonderfully elegant and legible products. This was also shown in his great attention to clarity of design, page margin width, composition as well as paper and printing materials.

Due to the functionality of Garamond’s productions his typefaces have been used for what is closely approaching 700 years and will likely be utilized by typographers for many years to come. Possibly one of his greatest contributions to type design, was when the gothic and black letterforms of old were replaced by Garamond’s pristine and easily readable roman typefaces. It has been reproduced by many typographers throughout the 18th, 19th, 20th and even to this day in the 21st century due to this ease of legibility.

Claude Garamond’s Artwork


Garamond Original (1530), Claude Garamond


Gospel Estienne’s 1950 edition with Garamond’s “Grecs du Roi” typeface

Claude Garamond Inspired Artwork


Abercrombie & Fitch Logo


Sabon Typeface (1967), Jan Tschichold



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