Claude Garamond (1510 – 1561) made the letter a living thing

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Claude Garamond – Early Life

Little is known about the early life of France’s most distinguished type designer Claude Garamond, though he is mentioned as being “at work” in the printing business early in the sixteenth century. Garamond was commissioned by the French monarch, Francis I, to cut a font of Greek letters, later known as the “Royal Greek Type.”   An apprentice of France’s master typographer Geofroy Tory, Garamond eventually cut his punches and matrixes and became known by his contemporaries as the foremost type designer of his day. He designed many fonts during his most prolific period, but his work has never been wholly classified.


He died in abject poverty in 1561: Garamond’s most significant contribution to his craft was creating letters that could be considered independent units, thus breaking away from the notion that type should be merely an adaptation of the hand-written script. His elegant, spirited form finally freed typography from the Gothic influence which had prevailed since Gutenberg’s day.

1555 book from printer Andreas Wechel


Sat, Apr 11, 1953 – 15 · National Post (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) ·

Wed, Jan 14, 1948 – Page 4 · The Wellsboro Gazette Combined with Mansfield Advertiser (Wellsboro, Pennsylvania) ·

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  1. I actually just took Designing with Type, thanks for the article!

    1. Author

      Wow, that is terrific. It is important to always learn something new. SJ

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