The Adobe Garamond™ font family is based upon the typefaces first created by the famed French printer Claude Garamond in the sixteenth century. This serif face was created by Robert Slimbach and released by Adobe in 1989; its italics are influenced by the designs of Garamond’s assistant, Robert Granjon.
The renowned Parisian printer Claude Garamond was a driving force behind typeface creation during the Renaissance period in the sixteenth century. His most famous (and inspirational) typeface was cut early in his career for the French court – specifically King Francis I – and was based on the handwriting of the king’s librarian, Angelo Vergecio. The earliest use of that font was in the production of a series of books by Robert Estienne. Robert Granjon, another very famous influence on typography, started as an assistant to Garamond. Most modern versions of the Garamond typeface, including the Adobe Garamond design, base their italic type on Granjon’s lettering.
Robert Slimbach, working with Adobe, set about creating a new version of the Garamond font family in the late 1980s. In 1989 the Adobe Garamond design was released, much to the delight of many in the design industry who saw the font as a very graceful interpretation of Garamond’s original face. It came with small caps, titling caps, swash caps and expert fonts. The font is considered an Old Style Garalde font because of the oblique nature of the slimmest areas found in the letter shapes.
Despite their widespread usage in the modern digital and print worlds, the Garamond fonts have a somewhat confusing past.
About sixty years after the death of Claude Garamond, another French printer, Jean Jannon, cut a set of Garamond-like type, though the face was noticeably more asymmetrical. Jannon’s office was summarily raided by the French government, who discovered the font and made it the official Royal Printing Office typeface.
French national Printing Office subsequently (circa 1825) claimed the type was a production of Garamond. Thus, the earliest versions of the Garamond design, produced in the 20th century (including Garamond #3 by Morris Fuller Benton), were actually based on the Jannon font and not the Garamond type.
The Adobe Garamond design is considered one of the most versatile fonts available today and certainly one of the most attractive and graceful in print. It is also one of the most eco friendly types to print because the letterforms use less ink than other similar faces.
The Adobe Garamond font family has been widely used, including the instantly recognizable Google logo. Ruth Kedar, the graphic designer commissioned by Sergey Brin and Larry Page to create the image realized from an early stage that Google would require a logotype rather than a simpler graphic logo. The insignia underwent several design phases – with Garamond as the font each time – until the modern, colorful version was finalized. Many very famous books have been set in Adobe Garamond; the Dr. Seuss range of books and the legendary Harry Potter volumes are just two examples.