This month I have gone for a font which revives Claude Garamont’s 16th century humanist typeface. There have been many variants of Garamond, but not many high quality versions that are free software — URW++ Garamond No. 8 is open source but doesn’t quite rate as free software because of its AFPL licencing.
EB Garamond is the work of Georg Duffner, and based on a scan of the original known as the
Berner Specimen. The EB Garamond website completes the story of how the name came to be EB.
The source for the letterforms is a scan of a specimen known as the â€œBerner specimenâ€, which, composed in 1592 by Conrad Berner, son-in-law of Christian Egenolff and his successor at the Egenolff print office, shows Garamontâ€™s roman and Granjonâ€™s italic fonts at different sizes. Hence the name of this project: Egenolff-Berner Garamond.
The font is very much a classical Garamond. The x-heights isn’t controversially massive à la ITC Garamond. The font is also under heavy development. Indeed, reading through the specimen and reading the commit log on github makes you aware of quite how much work is involved in doing a font properly.
EB Garamond manages to convey authority and stability but with more warmth than Times New Roman. The old-style feel of the font doesn’t make it any less legible. I think that the font works pretty well on screen, though Garamonds have a reputation of being great print fonts. In fact, wikipedia tells me that they use less ink than Times New Roman and are thought of as being "toner efficient" fonts. Who knew?