Jan Tschichold's Sabon

In the mid-20th century, at a time when technical innovations were bringing sweeping changes to printing, reinterpretations of Garamond continued to appear. Two Italian type foundries produced Garaldus (Nebiolo, Turin, 1957) and Garamond Simoncini (Bologne, 1958). In 1964, a group of German printing firms wanted to create a new typeface, inspired by Garamont, that could be used in any of the various printing techniques then available: manual and mechanical typesetting, and phototypesetting.

A new typeface, inspired by Garamont, that could be used in any of the various printing techniques then available.

The task was entrusted to Jan Tschichold, father of the New Typography and, later, a staunch defender of typographic orthodoxy. Between 1964 and 1967, Tschichold made an extremely detailed study of the various shapes of Garamond, based on the Egenolff-Berner type specimen. However, his was not a simple copy of Garamond; he standardised its construction by removing anomalies characteristic of historic typefaces, thus making it more economical (and narrower). For the italic, he drew inspiration directly from a model of Granjon in the specimen. Tschichold's new Garalde baptised Sabon, was sober, wise and well-proportioned; it complied with Stanley Morison's precepts, who held that a successful typeface is one that goes unnoticed. Sabon was still subject to certain technical requirements, on the basis of which it has been designed. For example, its italic "f" appears to have been shortened for use on a Linotype. Marketed by the Linotype, Monotype and Stempel firms, Sabon is considered to be one of the handsomest contemporary interpretations of Garamond. Maximilien Vox dubbed it "highly intelligent" and "a truly humanist choice". Franko Luin's Garamond Classico, which appeared in 1993, was also based on Sabon.

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