The Garamond font has been around for centuries.
The original typeface was created in the 1500s by French engraver Claude Garamond.
It is described as an “old-style serif” font, inspired by Roman block letters. Serifs, according to Merriam-Webster, are “any of the short lines stemming from and at an angle to the upper and lower ends of the strokes of a letter” – the tips or wings letters carry in certain fonts.
Versions of Garamond have been widely used ever since, including in the Harry Potter series, the Hunger Games novels and Dr. Seuss.
Book Riot, a pro-reading website, even ranked it “the best font for books” in late December.
In addition to frequently appearing in books, it’s a top choice for lawyers and business documents as well.
And it’s also widely popular among designers – appearing in Apple’s “Think Different” campaign, Google’s original logo, and above Abercrombie & Fitch stores in malls across the country.
Garamond the engraver was the first to design punches that were not solely based on reproducing handwriting, according to Meaningful Type.
Eric Shew, a Washington-based designer, once wrote that the font reminds him of “Bach’s music.”
“Garamond is a masterpiece of form and function,” he wrote. “It works. Seen from distance or up close, it is simply beautiful and functional.”
In 2014, a Pennsylvania 14-year-old published a study that found the U.S. government could save millions of dollars a year if it printed documents in Garamond instead of using Times New Roman, because the letters are thinner and therefore use less ink.
But it’s not universally beloved.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, on Tuesday urged lawyers not to file briefs typed in the Garamond font.
“Briefs that use Garamond as the typeface can be more difficult to read and the use of this typeface is discouraged,” court clerk Mark J. Langer wrote in a notice released Tuesday.
The version of Garamond most-often used on computers was created in the 1920s and can pixelate badly when zoomed in or out.
More recent fonts, designed with computer screens in mind, are more easily adaptable, according to David Kadavy, an author and web designer.
Popular versions of Garamond available today include Adobe Garamond, used in the Harry Potter series, Monotype Garamond, the one discouraged for use in web design, and Garamont, which uses the 16th Century spelling of the engraver’s name.