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ITC Galliard®


Matthew Carter
ITC Galliard font is a work of Matthew Carter and a contemporary adaptation of Robert Granjon's 16th century design. The result was not a literal copy of any one of Granjon's faces, more a reinterpretation of his style,"" says Carter. ITC Galliard font captures the vitality of Granjon's work in a graceful, modern typeface.

The ITC Galliard story begins with Robert Granjon, a Parisian-born type designer who lived roughly a generation after Claude Garamond. Granjon was exceptionally talented and prodigious, with an incurable wanderlust. He worked his way throughout Europe, completing a design commission in one city and then moving on to another. Wherever he went, he planted the seeds of his typographic style.

In the 1560s, Granjon labored in Antwerp. Four hundred years later, the punches and matrices he left behind would become the beginnings of Galliard.

In 1957, a young type aficionado named Mike Parker was spending a year studying and cataloging the typographic artifacts housed at the Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp. (This is the same Mike Parker who would later serve as the Director of Typographic Development at Mergenthaler Linotype, from the mid-1960s until the early 1980s.)

The punches and matrices that Granjon left behind stole Parker’s heart. He vowed to make these wonderful antique letters available to the modern design community. But Parker was not a type designer.

Matthew Carter was a designer, and he was also familiar with the treasures of the Plantin-Moretus Museum. His father, an Oxford University Press archivist, was doing research at the Museum while Carter was interning at the Enschedé Font Foundry, in Haarlem, during the mid-1950s. During visits to Antwerp Carter worked with his father, cleaning and identifying the antique matrices and punches.

Like Parker, Carter was smitten by Granjon’s type. But this was thirty years before the development of PostScript and type design software – and Carter did not have the means to create fonts of type.

When Carter joined Mergenthaler Linotype as a staff typeface designer in 1965, the necessary combination of design and manufacturing was finally in place to fulfill Parker’s, and now Carter’s, dream. Their goal was to produce the best possible interpretation of Granjon’s work. According to Carter, “The object of designing Galliard was to make a serviceable, contemporary, photo-composition typeface based on a strong historical design… not a literal copy of any one of Granjon’s faces – more a reinterpretation of his style.”

Even though work began in the 1960s, more mundane projects kept interrupting the progress of Galliard. The typeface was not released until 1978, but Galliard’s success was virtually instantaneous.

In the 1560s, Granjon labored in Antwerp. Four hundred years later, the punches and matrices he left behind would become the beginnings of Galliard.

Aaron Burns, president and one of the founders of International Typeface Corporation (and a good friend of Parker’s), was one of many who immediately fell in love with the new Linotype typeface. Burns knew that the Galliard family would be a valuable addition to the ITC typeface library. On more than one occasion he tried to convince Parker that Galliard would get more exposure and ultimately be more successful if it were released as an ITC design. Parker politely declined each offer until 1981, when he finally gave ITC exclusive rights to Galliard.

After such a long courtship, Burns did not want to wait for ITC’s bi-annual Typeface Review Board meeting to confirm his choice. He knew he wanted the design. As a result, Galliard was one of the few faces that did not go through the Review Board process. Four centuries and change after Granjon’s original design, ITC Galliard was announced in the December 1981, issue of U&lc magazine.

Four centuries after Granjon’s original designs were cast in metal, Carter’s classic design has been released in OpenType format. ITC Galliard Pro has been approved by Matthew Carter as a faithful rendition of his work; the new fonts feature many OpenType capabilities, including the automatic insertion of old style figures, ligatures and small caps. In addition to English, the extended character set supports most Central European and many Eastern European languages.