Garamond bold doesn’t sit well with me, frankly. Sometimes I wonder why they have one in digital incarnations. Exhibit A:
Seriously? Although I must say this was one of the rarer good uses of a bold weight of Garamond, when the point is to be kind of ironic about Garamond’s ideals of form but not really attempt to be Garamond. Compare original Garamond (click for real size, since it does make a difference):
I have an old-fashioned idea that may actually encourage well-considered use: make the bold a blackletter font that pairs well with the letterforms by Claude Garamond, one with proportions harmonious with the roman type without being tame. We do have an older tradition, in the King James Bible, of using blackletter and roman type in the same text (image). And wouldn’t we all appreciate blackletter being mainstream again outside of newspaper nameplates? Behold and confess the sexiness of blackletter:
Bolded quasi-Garamond has a certain tongue-in-cheek uncouthness, but most of us want something bold for another reason. A blackletter as bold would make us think just a little more about our choices about what constitutes ‘bold’.
Maybe users – except for primary school students who experiment on their poor readers – will also think twice about setting a whole paragraph bold. I leave you with the following quotation from Frederic Goudy: ‘Any man who would letterspace blackletter [i.e. increase the space between its letters] would shag sheep.’