Abrams' Augereau: an authentic Garamond?

While weighing my options for a professional Garamond—it may be my personal favorite of all type families—I came across a comment on this website, claiming Abrams' "Augereau" to be "the most authentic digitization" of Garamond's original punches. I started drooling over Augereau, which is really beautiful, but found that it doesn't look very authentic. Somebody on these forums pointed out the capital R is more heavily stylized than the original; I discovered that the arms of the capital W don't cross. What gives?

Furthermore, there seems to be conflicting information on the web about the various Garamonds—not even including the Jannon misattributes. Some say Stempel is the most authentic, while others claim this or that feature is too short, too curved, or just plain different. Bitstream renamed all their Garamonds, and Adobe offers two.

I'm just now getting heavily into typography (I'm coming over from the world of music engraving) and the only Garamond I have any concrete opinion about is the actual original. Before I fork over the cash for Augereau—or any other Garamond—can anybody advise me on its authenticity, or the authenticity of any of these in general?



Arno Enslin's picture

Google: authentic garamond site:typophile.com

William Berkson's picture

The most extensive revival of Garamond is Garamond Premier Pro. Hard to beat.

My view: Authentic revivals are impossible—and not even desirable. Forget about authenticity, and choose what you like best.

Nick Shinn's picture

There's not much authenticity in digitizing punches.
IMO an authentic copy font should be able to create a facsimile page that is indistinguishable from the original.
That's difficult, unless you're printing letterpress on 100% rag stock.

By any other measure, there will be questions about what is "authentic" -- letter shapes, which size is being used as a model, how much distress is being applied, whether the punch or the printed page tells the truth, how much accommodation/modification should be made for present day demands, &c., &c,

William Berkson's picture

Nick had more patience to explain it, thanks. I agree.

Arno Enslin's picture

whether the punch or the printed page tells the truth

Can’t this question be answered with the statement, that people don’t read punches, but prints? Augereau is probably more the punch than the print.

These are my favorite digital “Garamonds”:

1. Merlo
2. Stempel Garamond slightly enbolded with Fontographer
3. Berthold Garamond less slightly enbolded with Fontographer

∞. Garamond Premier Pro

William Berkson's picture

Merlo is beautiful, but I doubt if people would classify it as a Garamond.

Nick Shinn's picture

Can’t this question be answered with the statement, that people don’t read punches, but prints?

Nonetheless, there is press gain. Less with Monotype than during Garamond's day, and less still in offset litho, but still worth considering.

(Of course, no Garamond printed on coated paper, or offset, could ever be considered authentic!)

Arno Enslin's picture

@ William

You are much more competent on that field. But when I compare Merlo and Stempel Garamond, I see more similarities than differences, except from the different stroke width and contrast. The feeling, that I have, when I see these typefaces, is similar, more than in the comparison of Sabon and Stempel Garamond, which is often called a Garamond, isn’t it? But I wouldn’t exclude, that I see the similarity, because I simply like both typefaces very much. They are in the top ten of my favorites. And Merlo is intended to be used in another point size than the digitized Stempel Garamond. Stempel Garamond is more agile or less even with regard to the single glyphs, but this does not disturb the legibility, because the glyphs are in harmony. I wish there would be optical sizes for both typefaces. For using them in the same document, they are too different.

Another word to Augerau: The plain metrics and the kerning are a desaster, especially the kerning, as far as I remember. (Much worse than in Stempel Garamond, which already is not well spaced and kerned.)

John Hudson's picture

Arno: Augereau is probably more the punch than the print.

I think Augereau is more Abrams than (Garamond) punch or print.

I had the pleasure of meeting Mr Abrams at an ATypI congress, and I have a copy of the nice specimen book of his ‘Jenson revival’, Abram Venetian. It has been a long time since I looked at his Augereau, but I don't doubt that it represents his ideas about the 16th Century French style just as his Jenson represents his ideas about the 15th Century Venetian style.

There's a long history of new type designs being passed off or advertised as ‘the most authentic revival’. My favourite example is the 1924 Caslon Foundry complete recutting being sold as ‘struck from the original 18th Century punches’. It's advertising, which is another way of saying bullshіt.

Nick Shinn's picture

Rather a sweeping generalization, John.
Claiming untruths is not bullshit, it's just false.
However, claiming that, for instance, a large x-height (or a small one) improves legibility, is bullshit, because it is neither true nor false.
Then again, there is advertising which is true, and not bullshit but genuinely informative -- such as the present Font Bureau banner ad at Typophile which states that Ibis has 48 styles and is designed by Cyrus Highsmith.

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