Sabon is an old-style serif typeface designed by the German-born typographer and designer Jan Tschichold (1902–1974) in the period 1964–1967. It was released jointly by the Linotype, Monotype, and Stempel type foundries in 1967. The design of the roman is based on types by Claude Garamond (c. 1480–1561), particularly a specimen printed by the Frankfurt printer Konrad Berner. Berner had married the widow of a fellow printer Jacques Sabon, the source of the face’s name, who had bought some of Garamond’s type after his death. The italics are based on types designed by a contemporary of Garamond’s, Robert Granjon. It is effectively a Garamond revival, though a different name was chosen as many other modern typefaces already carry this name.
A classic typeface for body text, Sabon’s longstanding popularity has transcended its origin as a commission to fit a tight set of business requirements. Tschichold was commissioned by a coalition of German printers to create a typeface that could be printed identically on Linotype, Monotype or letterpress equipment, simplifying the process of planning lines and pagination when printing a book. The italic and bold styles were to take up exactly as much space as the roman, a feature imposed by the duplexing system of Linotype hot metal typesetting machines of the period. Finally, the new font was to be five per cent narrower than their existing Monotype Garamond, in order to save space and money. Sabon’s name was therefore considered appropriate: a Frenchman who had moved to Frankfurt, he had played a role in bringing Garamond’s type into use in German printing four hundred years before.
Format: OTF, TTF
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