I have been trying EB Garamond for the time being, but I'm confused as to why there are a couple different sets:

  1. Google Fonts and Adobe: Contains Regular, Medium, SemiBold, ExtraBold with their corresponding italics.

  2. On 1001Fonts and FontSquirrel: Contains only Regular 12 or 08, with their corresponding italics, as well as the small caps families.

Why are these two versions different, and why are they not all packaged together? I'm sort of unsure what's happening here.

On another note: I have noticed while using the all small caps font in Word, and employing some letter spacing, the kerning is very, very bad. (In contrast, the kerning for Vollkorn SC is much nicer.) What could be the source of this?

  • 1
    I think you are asking "why" questions that we can't answer. Might I suggest you ask the developer. His name is Georg Duffner. His page about EB Garamond is here
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Jan 2, 2019 at 13:19

4 Answers 4


It's a free font whose original designer hasn't been able to devote the time to finishing it. My understanding is that another designer took the 12 point optical (intended to look best at a size of 12pt or above) and extrapolated a couple of bolder weights, also making lining figures (cap height) the default. The original version on FontSquirrel is the most "historically accurate" (text figures and both opticals, but no bold weights); the Google Fonts version is probably the most practical for web use or if you need bold.

If you want a professional-grade Garamond family, Adobe Garamond or Garamond Premier is excellent and comes with most Adobe app subscriptions, or it's not that expensive to buy a permanent license for desktop use.


The original Garamond didn’t start as a font. It was a lettertype, on a very old version of the printing press, back in the 1500’s (yes, Garamond is that old). Old lettertypes such as Garamond were not just images on a screen, they first had to be carved out of steel. Now, beyond the difficulty in manipulating metal back in the 1500s, each of these sets of letter types were made individually.

At some point, Garamond made a book in (what we would call today) 12 point font. This is the Garamond we know best.

But then he made another book, and this book called for a smaller type. He couldn’t copy the larger type exactly, because he didn’t have the technology for that. He was carving steel by hand. Also, the physical limitations of his tools and materials demanded he do things differently when working on a smaller scale. Garamond 8 tries to be a faithful reproduction of this.

Ultimately, the smaller font Garamond 08 is more defined, fatter, to make it easier to read and easier to carve. The larger font Garamond 12 has thinner lines, because at that size the printing press was less likely to muddy it up.

Given modern screen resolution, unless you plan on physically printing your material in small type, Garamond 12 is the superior choice.


Typefaces and the font-families for distribution are like cars. There is never a right or wrong. There are "better" brands with better quality and/or more features. But some customers would define a more expensive car as a "worse" car because they just want "a chair which moves them from A to B", not a living room with an 800$ stereo and coloured carpet.

If different companies like Google or Adobe decide to bundle different packs or some websites let you pick and download or licence individuals weights or whatever then rejoice: all it means that you got choices. There is no danger, there are seldom hidden traps, there is no conspiracy; just a huge vital market, better than ever. No need to invest the equivalent of a car, to try or use one typeface like in the olden days.

Try walking into a car dealership and wanting a certain car, but with lesser specs and with a real discount. They will probably laught at you and will say "we will not remove the radio, and then do what with it"... You can custom-order certain cars (in Germany), if you are willing to wait and pay for it. For typefaces you got lots and lots of choice and practically no wait at all.

In Religion, in IT and in Design the "why" questions will often not give you very sattisfying answers. Or any answers. I just feel chatty today but there is not much of an answer: Just enjoy and learn about the differences:

The Garamond you mention is available as "open source" I believe, so this gives you possibly a good and not-expensive example to pull several different offers and compare not only what you get but also compare the different websites, the way they function, their customer services, efficiency in handling your account and keeping your purchases available for you. Like with cars, you do not only purchase a product (like a tin of cookies), you buy into a living system of product + vendor + maintenance (updates) + customer care + documentation (or not) + chances for updates or upgrades (or not)...

Normally on this site you should only post one question per item. Your question about kerning is rather different, especially since you mention a totally separate typeface for comparison. I propose you edit this question and make a new one about kerning. Please give an export or a screenshot of what you consider "very very bad kerning". It could be a technical problem, or it could be a difference of schools of style, but we do not know until you show how bad it is in your context.


Anyone can make a font called Garamond. I could scribble out a design right now and call it Garamond because Garamond is a very old typeface and is outside of the realm of copyright. Some Garamond fonts are better than others (as other respondents have mentioned). I just made a new Garamond

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