Christophe Plantin – Garamont's Flemish successor

Christophe Plantin, a French printer, moved to Antwerp in 1549, and proceeded to set up what became largest printing workshop in Europe by the end of the 16th century. He sought out the finest fonts for his publications, and acquired or commissioned dozens of fonts that would make his publications renowned. This collection of typefaces was preserved and protected over the centuries, and it is now in the collections of the museum Plantin-Moretus. One of the first type specimens, épublished in 1567, displays typefaces attributed to Guillaume I Le Bé, Pierre Haultin, Robert Granjon, Claude Garamont and François Guyot.

Christophe Plantin acquired or commissioned dozens of fonts that would make his publications renowned.

Guyot, who moved to Antwerp in 1539, was the first to introduce the “Garamond style”; he was a type founder by trade, but also cut punches for Plantin from 1558 until his death in 1570. Le Bé supplied Plantin with Hebrew fonts for the monumental polyglot Bible commissioned by Philip II of Spain. Robert Granjon lived in Antwerp from 1563 to 1570; starting in 1565, he cut punches for some forty fonts for Plantin, in particular adaptations of Garamond's romans in smaller sizes and italics.

By combining Garamont's roman fonts and Robert Granjon's italics, Plantin's publications established and codified the relationship between roman and italic. From then on, with few exceptions, characters would be designed in both styles. Other punch cutters were commissioned by Plantin to renew, enrich and complete his typographic collection, including Ameet Tavernier, Hendrik van den Keere and J. M. Schmidt. The centre of gravity for type design thus shifted away from France, which was torn apart by the Wars of Religion, towards the Netherlands where, throughout the 17th century, printers and type founders would assert their pre-eminence, by setting about to renew and perfect the garalde model.

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