Typography, like music, is art. It is also a discipline. Music has notes, typography has an alphabet. In these briefest of brief posts, let me show you some simple melodies from the best of the best. Designers like me who courted this attractive but fickle muse in the last century learned from trial and error which type faces to use for specific projects on our drawing tables. There was never any one face or one size that fit all and mistakes proved to be both costly and embarrassing. Type setting was done by specialists who followed the layouts and type specs they were given. Woe unto those who asked for the impossible. It's why we were dependent upon the specimen books that showed which faces were available in specific sizes.
Garamond by Claude Garamond, French, circa 1531
For this helpful graphic we are indebted to Barney Carroll for his Garamond v Garamond Physiology of a Typeface that illustrates how each type foundry cut its own version of Garamond.
The Calendar, by T.M. Cleland dated 1927 in The Decorative Work of T.M. Cleland by Alfred E. Hamill, 1929.
Thomas Maitland Cleland (1880-1964) was commissioned by the American Type Foundry to create decorative pieces in the style of the Garamond type face he designed for them in collaboration with Morris Fuller Benton (1872-1948), head of ATF's design department. Benton was most prolific as a type designer and created the News Gothic type face for ATF, which I used for my Polaroid product imagery in 1958.
An italic face of great beauty. In additon to many ligatures, there is an alphabet of initial letters. They were never intended to be used sparingly and to see them used for every character in a sentence is an affront.
Adobe Garamond is available among other type faces bundled on some of today's computers
Thanks to my very good friend of many decades and noted book designer Dick Bartlett for his kindness in providing some of these images.