The Sabon® font was created by the well-known typographer Jan Tschichold over a three year period. It was released in 1967 as part of a joint venture by the Monotype, Linotype and Stempel foundries. It was inspired by an earlier Claude Garamond typeface Tschichold had seen on a 1592 specimen sheet printed by the Egenolff-Berner foundry.
The Sabon design is closely related to the Garamond font styles of the sixteenth century and is considered a beautiful, highly legible typeface face. It was based upon a particular type cut by Claude Garamond (1480-1561), a famous Parisian publisher and one of the most influential printers of all time.
A serif roman type style was used extensively in book publications at that time, and later became favored by the Egenolff-Berner foundry based in Frankfurt, Germany. One of Garamond’s students, Jacques Sabon, worked for the foundry after leaving Garamond’s tuition, and it was for Sabon that Tschichold’s creation was named.
The Sabon design was initially created as the response to a request by a German type foundry for a face with equal spacing in the Roman and Italic versions, which would therefore create less of a workload when it came to typesetting. They also wanted a font that would behave the same way across the three tangible forms of technology available at the time: single-type machine composition, foundry type for hand composition and linecasting.
Upon its 1967 release, the Sabon design was well received by the printing industry and continues to be used frequently in digital typesetting.
One of the most notable early uses of the font was in the 1973 release of the Washburn College Bible, by the US based graphic designer Bradbury Thompson. The font continues to be a very popular choice in the publication of religious texts; in 1979 it was again chosen for the US Episcopal Church’s Book of Common Prayer.
Today, it is the official typeface for the prominent Stanford University and is favored for use in all official material emanating from the college.