Working with Garamond Premier Pro for my book on Persian ceramics, I have been impressed by the range of sizes and weights the typeface includes. There are regular, medium, semibold, and bold weights for each of the sizes. In addition, the display size offers an extra-light weight in both regular and italic.
UPDATE: Since writing the above in 2008 I have used Garamond Premier Pro in my books 1616: The World in Motion and River of Ink: Literature, History, Art, as well as in books designed for others, such as Bali: Art, Ritual, Performance by Natasha Reichle.
Different fonts are provided for four type sizes: caption, regular, subhead, and display. The caption fonts, for example, have large x-heights and heavier strokes in order to hold up at small sizes. The display fonts have elegantly modest x-heights and light stroke weights suitable for presentation at large sizes. The header for the image above is the medium display weight (to balance some of the dark fonts,including the caption fonts, which would not ordinarily be used at this large a size. The fonts also include a full range of diacritics and foreign-language characters.
Garamond Premier Pro was designed by Robert Slimbach on the model of the roman types of Claude Garamond and the italic types of Robert Granjon; it represent a reworking and expansion of the earlier Garamond Pro. It is available in OpenType from Adobe.
I sought to maintain the fidelity of the metal type as revealed in the specimen material—rather than taking a more subjective approach, such as attempting to reproduce artifacts of letterpress printing, or at the other extreme, modernizing form through heavy-handed stylization or drastic structural modification. I feel that by overtly imitating the appearance of an outdated technology, a digital type can appear antique, or even quaint, while excessive stylization can diminish the organic properties inherent in a hand-cut type. With Garamond Premier, I followed the details of line and form displayed in the original metal type as much as possible in order to reveal the ideal that I felt Garamond and Granjon were trying to achieve in their work. By preserving subtleties of shape, a level of fidelity is maintained that would normally be clouded by the noise-generating effects of letterpress printing on handmade papers. Throughout the design process, I repeatedly returned to the original proofs to ensure I was preserving details I felt were essential to the design. At the same time, I often felt it necessary to carefully adjust shapes and parameters in order to harmonize the varied work of these two individual designers within this single type family.
— Robert Slimbach
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To my eye the appearing size of the Italic in Garamond Premier Pro is large than the associated Roman — and this, being unexpected even if it was the effect Granjon sought, is distracting in, for instance a contents page that uses both — any comments?
Thanks for this observation, Tony. I can’t say that I have noticed it. Below I’ve tried to superimpose Garamond Premier Pro Italic over Garamond Premier Pro Regular. It’s not evident to me that there is a disparity, although admittedly this technique is a little imprecise.
I wonder if you are seeing a difference both on screen and in print. I could imagine a problem with screen fonts not matching print fonts, especially if you have other versions of Garamond.