Robert Granjon

French printer and typeface designer (punchcutter). Born 1513, died 1589. The son of Parisian printer Jean Granjon, Robert Granjon was an apprentice of Claude Garamond. The first time we hear of the younger Granjon is in 1545, when he was running a type foundry and print shop in Paris.

In 1557, he settled in Lyons, marrying Antoinette Salomon, daughter of the famous artist Bernard Salomon ("Le petit Bernard"). In Lyons, Granjon printed a score of books with his lettre francoyse d'art de main typeface, a copy of a gothic italic typeface, which became very popular under the name Civilité.

Robert Granjon

 

Robert Granjon



Granjon's many different cursive/italic typefaces were widely used, by different luminaries of the field. The popularity of Civilité was such that it was used by Jean de Tournes; Lorenzo Torentino of Florence; Christophe Plantin of Antwerp (who also used Granjon's Greek and Hebrew typefaces for his great polyglot Bible edition); the Elzevirs of Amsterdam; and many other famous German, English, and French printers.

Finally, we find Civilité with Garamond's antiqua typeface on he Egenolff foundry's famous sampler sheet of typefaces, from 1592.

Robert Granjon

Granjon's father-in-law, Bernard Salomon, created a series of arabesques and borders for de Tourne's books, and Granjon used these drawings to create a series of modular arabesques which became immensely popular (especially in England and the Netherlands) and are still in use today.

Among Granjon's inspirations for Civilité are, indubitably, the so-called Baseler cursive, which was used until about 1540 by most European printers, but Granjon's cursive was more attractive - a bit broader and more angled - than that used by (for instance) the Roman printer Antonio Blado, hence its popularity.

 
Robert Granjon


Note that the Granjon typeface (Linotype, 1925), while named for him, has almost no connection with Robert Granjon.

2017 History of Graphic Design

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