The ITC Galliard® font has been called exuberant, baroque, vibrant – even sensuous. It’s all of the above. This is a typeface with exceptional vitality. Its character strokes are strong, sure and fluid. By way of example, look at the lowercase italic ‘g’ — it manages to be firmly rooted in Dutch old style tradition and lively as any calligrapher’s brush stroke, all at the same time.
The ITC Galliard story begins with Robert Granjon, a Parisian-born type designer who lived roughly a generation after Claude Garamond. Granjon was both talented and prodigious, with an incurable wanderlust. He worked his way throughout Europe, completing a design commission in one city and then moving on to another. Wherever he went, he planted the seeds of his typographic style.
In the 1560s, Granjon labored in Antwerp. Four hundred years later, the punches and matrices he left behind would become the beginnings of Galliard.
More than a revival
ITC Galliard is no mere copy of Granjon’s metal type. “The object of designing Galliard was to make a serviceable, contemporary typeface based on a strong historical design,” says designer Matthew Carter, “not a literal copy of any one of Granjon’s faces – more a reinterpretation of his style.”
Carter drew the four roman weights and complementary italic designs while at Mergenthaler Linotype. The light weights of the family are exceptional communicators at any size, while the bolder weights have personality without being caricatures of their lighter cousins. The family was first released as a suite of phototype fonts in 1978.
ITC acquired the family three years later. Before releasing the designs as ITC Galliard, ITC asked Carter to draw a suite of small caps for the Roman and Bold weights. ITC Galliard was announced in December of 1981 as a typeface family for contemporary tastes and typesetting technology.
Now, four centuries after Granjon’s original designs were cast in metal, Carter’s classic design has been released in OpenType format. ITC Galliard Pro has been approved by Matthew Carter as a faithful rendition of his work; the new fonts feature many OpenType capabilities, including the automatic insertion of old style figures, ligatures and small caps. In addition to English, the extended character set supports most Central European and many Eastern European languages.