American Type Founders
Morris Fuller Benton
Thomas Maitland Cleland
The Garamond family tree has many branches. There are probably more different typefaces bearing the name Garamond than the name of any other type designer. Not only did the punchcutter Claude Garamond set a standard for elegance and excellence in type founding in 16th-century Paris, but a successor, Jean Jannon, some eighty years later, cut typefaces inspired by Garamond that later came to bear Garamond's name. Revivals of both designs have been popular and various over the course of the last 100 years.
When ATF Garamond was designed in 1917, it was one of the first revivals of a truly classic typeface. Based on Jannon's types, which had been preserved in the French Imprimerie Nationale as the "caractères de l’Université," ATF Garamond brought distinctive elegance and liveliness to text type for books and display type for advertising. It was both the inspiration and the model for many of the later "Garamond" revivals, notably Linotype's very popular Garamond No. 3.
ATF Garamond was released ca. 1918, first in Roman and Italic, drawn by Morris Fuller Benton, the head of the American Type Founders design department. In 1922, Thomas M. Cleland designed a set of swash italics and ornaments for the typeface. The Bold and Bold Italic were released in 1920 and 1923, respectively.
The new digital ATF Garamond expands upon this legacy, while bringing back some of the robustness of metal type and letterpress printing that is sometimes lost in digital adaptations. The graceful, almost lacy form of some of the letters is complemented by a solid, sturdy outline that holds up in text even at small sizes. The 18 fonts comprise three optical sizes (Subhead, Text, Micro) and three weights, including a new Medium weight that did not exist in metal. ATF Garamond also includes unusual alternates and swash characters from the original metal typeface.
The character of ATF Garamond is lively, reflecting the spirit of the French Renaissance as interpreted in the 1920s. Its Roman has more verve than later old-style faces like Caslon, and its Italic is outright sprightly, yet remarkably readable.