Garamond is the name given to a group of old-style serif typefaces named after the punch-cutter Claude Garamont (Latinised as garamondus) (c. 1480–1561). Many of the Garamond faces are more closely related to the work of a later punch-cutter, Jean Jannon. A direct relationship between Garamond’s letterforms and contemporary type can be found in the Roman versions of the typefaces Adobe Garamond, Granjon, Sabon, and Stempel Garamond. Garamond’s letterforms convey a sense of fluidity and consistency. Some unique characteristics in his letters are the small bowl of the a and the small eye of the e. Long extenders and top serifs have a downward slope. Garamond is considered to be among the most legible and readable serif typefaces for use in print (offline) applications. It has also been noted to be one of the most eco-friendly major fonts when it comes to ink usage.


Serif: Adnate style or humanist serifs (serifs curve into the stem of the letter). The top serifs angled out, which is different than the more vertical serifs of Times New Roman and Georgia.


X-heights: Low. But in Humanist serifs, its x-heights are comparatively high.


Width and weight: Garamond is a narrow and light face, which likely contributes to its being so eco-friendly when printed. The result is you can fit more letters on a page and the page will still look light—so it is a good typeface for text-heavy documents where readability, legibility, and white space are key.


Structure: Garamond has a fluid structure with some unique characteristics that give it the style and flair it has. These include the outward angles of the top serifs, a small counter in the lower-case a, the small eye in the e, and long extenders.


Legibility and Readability: Very readable and legible in print. Wikipedia, calls Garamond one of the “most legible and readable serif typefaces for use in print.” The larger x-heights normally correspond to increase readability online; however other aspects of the typeface, including the small character size, light weight, and medium thick/thin transitions decrease online readability. The typeface still has decent legibility online in larger sizes, so I would recommend it for headings and titles online, but not for the body text.


Voice-over and ethos: Garamond is (as noted above) elegant and beautiful. While the face has a lot of personality and style, it still maintains a level of professionalism. Like other Old Style serifs, it has something of a traditional feel, and perhaps more so as it is based on faces from the 16th and 17th centuries. However, it does not feel outdated—the sharp points on the serifs and long extenders move it from old fashioned to timeless. Garamond may be the voice of a stylish and elegant business woman. The ethos is strong in professional uses where a bit of style and not the plain monotony of some serifs is needed.


Typefaces that contrast well with it: As a serif typeface, good contrasts include sans serif faces like Arial, Helvetica, Verdana, Tahoma, Century Gothic, Calibri, and Bell Gothic. One of my favorite combinations is Century Gothic and Garamond, and this combination works well for print (with Garamond as the body typeface) or online (with Garamond as the heading typeface). For a highly elegant and traditional look for print, I like

Garamond for the body with Copperplate Gothic for headings. Bell Gothic also balances the elegance well, with a more modern look. Most script and decorative typefaces should also contrast (Scripts such as Blackadder ITC, Bradley Hand ITC, Brush Script MT, Freestyle Script, Rage Italic; Decoratives such as Burnstown Dam, Algerian, Hobo Std, Jokerman, Ravie, Snap ITC).


Typefaces that provide conflict: Other Old Style typefaces will conflict the most, such as Book Antiqua, Bookman, Californian FB, Calisto, Centaur, Goudy Old Style, and Palatino. Transitional serif faces will also conflict, as they are not different enough to contrast. So avoid transitional faces such as Baskerville, Bell, New York, Perpetua, Times New Roman, and Georgia. Generally, serif faces will conflict and y ou will want to

avoid them, although if you select faces from the Modern or Slab serif categories with radical differences from Garamond, you may have enough for contrast.


Likely audiences and uses of the typeface: The lighter weight and smaller characters may not work as well for audiences with vision issues, including the elderly. The face works very well for long documents, so one audience is readers of novels and longer print documents. Uses includes books, long reports, dissertations, and any print document where the writer/designer wants high readability and legibility. The smaller size makes it ideal for text-heavy print documents where the designer wants a clean look and wants to save space, as mentioned above. It works well for résumés and CVs in more traditional areas or areas where a clean elegant design is warranted. It looks lovely in letters (like cover letters), giving them a formal and sophisticated feel, especially on a nice parchment or linen paper. Given its eco-friendliness in printing, green and eco-friendly companies may consider it for print use. Companies that want a more elegant and traditional but not boring feel may like Garamond—law firms, wedding businesses, clothing boutique stores, and business associated with w omen.

The elegance does lend it a more feminine feel, so this may not be the hair club for men typeface. This face is not recommended for screen use, although it could work for small amounts of text in larger sizes, like heading and titles, so consider it for the contrast face in website with an elegant and traditional feel.