During its first decades, Gill Sans was recommended for advertising and display use only. Jan Middendorp. Well, monumentally flawed, in fact. The British branch of Monotype in 1928 released Gill Sans fonts designed by Arthur Eric Rowton Gill. References: An Essay on Typography by Eric Gill, J. M. Dent & Sons, London, UK 1931. Eric Gill, the man responsible for designing Gill Sans, was a versatile and brilliant talent in the early part of the last century. Although other writers have celebrated the individual qualities of Gill Sans Q, R, a, g and t, as designs in their own right, I contend that the majority of character shapes in Gill Sans are actually worse than in Johnston’s design of fifteen years previous. The font I selected to research was Gill Sans by Eric Gill. The Eric Gill Series is a collection of 77 fonts in three families: Gill Sans Nova, Joanna Nova and Joanna Sans Nova.All the typefaces are derived from the original work of the influential British artist Eric Gill (1882-1940), acclaimed in his lifetime as a sculptor, letter-cutter and type designer. This alters the letterforms’ balance in direct contradiction to the idea that he was somehow preserving classical proportions. Bastien Brothers, West Drayton, Middlesex, UK 1948. Device Fonts: 10 Year Itch 1995-2005 by Rian Hughes, Device Ltd, London, UK 2006. He founded artistic groups, almost colonies, at Ditchling in Sussex, Capel-y-ffin in Wales, and at Piggotts in Buckinghamshire which provided a mixture of solitude and sanctity, away from modern life. This tradition, upheld by Monotype until the early 1990s, was not carried forward to Adobe GillSans. As a graphic designer’s in-joke once put it ‘Q. The development of Gill Sans. So much for ‘fool-proof’! The central argument is that an earlier typeface by Eric Gill’s mentor, Edward Johnston, is a superior piece of type design. The reason for Gill Sans’ near ubiquity is because it is an exceptionally distinctive design with a potential range of use that is almost limitless. Update, 16 March, 2016: Copyright ©2005 Thames & Hudson Ltd, London, UK 2005. What is a Zine?A zine is a small-circulation self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images, usually reproduced via photocopier. Gill Sans Light (above) and Gill Sans Regular (below); flattening of the bowls and subsequent loss of terminal stroke details in lowercase ‘d’, ‘p’ and ‘q’. His best known type designs were produced by the Monotype corporation, although he also designed type for private presses. With uppercase E and F, Gill standardised the length of the lower and middle arms to match the width of the topmost arm, narrowing the overall widths of both letters to compensate. But it is a flawed masterpiece. Light at the end of the tunnel for Johnston? Contemporary sans serifs Bliss and FB Agenda join forces with revivals from ITC and P22. The book has been compiled by Gill's nephew, himself a scholar and printer. Arthur Eric Rowton Gill was a sculptor, engraving artist, typographic designer, and author from the United Kingdom. In 1900, he relocated to London to pursue a career in architecture. Gill Sans is not based on purely geometric principles, some aspects of Gill Sans do nonetheless have a geometric feel. It’s easy to see from today’s perspective, that to beat the competition, Gill employed a certain amount of bombast and hyperbole to secure critical success, while the Monotype sales force were able to supply volume discounts to institutional customers. Eric Gill (1882-1930) was a sculptor, a typographist, a wood engraver, and an influential artist-craftsman in the early years of the twentieth century. So to pick an argument with something that is akin to a typographic national monument might appear unwise; it is so very much ‘ours’. A. I myself am responsible for designing five different sorts of sans-serif letters – each one thicker and fatter than the last because every advertisement has to try and shout down its neighbours.”. In 2006, now that Gill Sans is distributed freely with Apple’s OS X and Adobe’s Creative Suite products, it is time to re-examine those flaws. Following the traditional serif model, the italic has different letter forms from the roman, where many sans-serifs simply slant the letters in what is called an oblique style. âA pair of spectacles is rather like a âgâ. Gill Sans dipandang sebagai salah satu karya Eric Gill yang paling berpengaruh serta salah satu … I will make a âgâ rather like a pair of spectacles.â- Eric Gill. That the face is now as convenient to use as a Palatino or Helvetica may have something to do with this continued popularity. Even typography agnostics will recognize Gill’s best-known typeface, Gill Sans – you have seen it … CategoryPrint DesignMy roleResearch + DesignYearMay, 2017. Variation of the directional stress from weight to weight of Gill Sans in the lower bowl of the ‘eyeglass g’ – no longer ‘eyeglass’ or double storey by the time it becomes Ultra Bold. Another similar but more eccentric design was created by Harold Curwen for the use of his family company, the Curwen Press of Plaistow. A collection of Eric Gill's engravings, this book is a tribute to this sculptor, wood-engraver and the designer of the Gill Sans and Joanna typefaces. Letters like âQâ and âRâ have a calligraphic tail. Eric Gill is probably best known to readers as the creator of several typefaces (Gill Sans, Perpetua etc), but in his time he was also considered a world-class sculptor, and many of his works remain on prominent display in the UK. New Faces (Chapter One: Technological and Industrial Change: Setting the Scene). This feature, like the overdrawn arms of ‘a’ and ‘r’ with their conflicting terminations, puts paid to any notion of rhyme or reason in the ‘improvement’ of the ‘unsatisfactory’ Johnston letterforms. One discovery was a dog-eared folder dated 1940 containing sketches for a Plough logo and letterhead design by a British typeface designer. J.M. The Encyclopedia of Typefaces (Second Edition) by W. Turner Berry, A. F. Johnson, W. P. Jaspert. Crucially this also makes extra white space around the letterforms – therefore N and T dominate the appearance of Gill Sans with their broad diagonal and open white space, requiring extra care with kerning and letterspacing. Eric Gill, who died in 1940, is perhaps best known for his Gill Sans design, prominently used by British Railways and Penguin Books. These included Madonna and Child (1910), which English painter and art critic Roger Fry described in 1911 as a depiction of "pathetic animalism", and Ecstasy (1911). In addition to sanctioned and licensed revivals such as P22’s London Underground (1997 by Richard Kegler) and ITC Johnston (1999 by Dave Farey and Richard Dawson), a number of recent type designs now remind us of the original beauty of Edward Johnston’s vision rather than Eric Gill’s. Creative Type by Cees W. de Jong, Alston W. Purvis and Friedrich Friedl. He designed the Gill Sans typeface in 1927â30, based on the sans-serif lettering originally designed for the London Underground. The Gill Sans ‘g’ is another instance of ‘do as I say not as I do’; elsewhere in Gill’s Essay on Typography is a diagram of the forms of lowercase ‘g’ accompanied by the sneer “…comic modern varieties – as though the designer had said: A pair of spectacles is rather like a g; I will make a g rather like a pair of spectacles.” Sebastian Carter, writing in ‘Twentieth Century Type Designers’, called this the ‘eyeglass g’, claiming that it had been kept and improved from the Johnston alphabet. Gill Sans now represents one of his most widely used font in the world. A diverse familyGillâs lettering is based on classic roman proportions, which gives this sans-serif a less mechanical feel than its geometric contemporaries. Other more recent British organizations using Gill Sans have included Railtrack, John Lewis, and the Church of England. Eric Gill. Gill Sans is the ‘New Black’: Revival or Reaction? There are three developmental forms of the Gill Sans lowercase ‘a’ on record; revisions were made at the Monotype drawing office and passed back to Gill for approval. The Gill Sans Nova typeface family is part of the new Eric Gill Series, drawing on Monotype's heritage to remaster and expand and revitalize Eric Gill's body of work, with more weights, more characters and more languages to meet a wide range of design requirements. Gill Sans achieved its pre-eminence because of the mighty marketing clout of the Monotype Corporation and the self-serving iconoclasm of its author. The processSince this was a research based project, the whole process was brief which included - Research, Design, and Publication. Stylistically it calls into question Gill’s deletion of the foot serif for the lowercase ‘l’ in Johnston’s model – a feature which had an essential function within that alphabet, as it allowed distinction between the numeral 1, uppercase ‘I’ and lowercase ‘l’. Gill Sans History. The question to ask is this; if Gill found it necessary to introduce his (strictly unnecessary but aesthetically defensible) curves into the tail of ‘Q’ and the leg of ‘R’ in the uppercase, where none had been drawn in the existing model, why did he find it expedient to remove the existing curve (which was both necessary and defensible) in the tail of the lowercase ‘y’? The third and least satisfactory character is seen in all versions of Gill Sans since the early 1930s. A likely reason for this is that Gill, as a stonecarver and sculptor, had his ideas about the apparent desirability of darker types formed by the ideals of the Arts and Crafts movement of William Morris nearly 50 years earlier. Gills Sans Nova … Three new typefaces for local institutions draw on Sheffield’s cultural and typographic history by Catherine Dixon and Phil Baines, Eye Magazine issue 58, Haymarket Publishing, London, UK. Winter 2005. Design and publicationAfter the research and gathering of the information was done, it was now time to layout the information. There were other, arguably better, typefaces derived from the ideal of making a monoline sans serif based on humanist structures. Gill knew that despite an existing commission for the serif face Perpetua, his working relationship with Morison, and his wider reputation with Monotype, the trade, and ultimately the reading public, would come to rest on this design. Now that the new OpenType format allows for extensive support including alternate sorts and contextual spacing, the typographic community should look forward to a better version of Gill Sans OpenType Pro; perhaps a complete overhaul in the style of Frutiger, Sabon, Optima and Syntax? Nearly a century later, Edward Johnston’s pioneering work is still the big noise in contemporary sans serif typeface design. Comparison of uppercase ‘K’ and ‘T’ in Gill Sans and Johnston. Notable non-British modern businesses using Gill Sans include United Colours of Benetton, Tommy Hilfiger, and Saab Automobile.âToday over two dozen Gill Sans designs are available digitally, with mainstream reach. He was a major figure affiliated with the Arts and Crafts movement. History In 1920 Eric Gill started working on type design, and in 1928 Gill Sans was born. However it is perfectly clear from reading Gill’s own Essay on Typography what he thought about the advisability of making extra bold weights of display typefaces: “…as many different varieties of letters as there are different kinds of fools. About Eric GillArthur Eric Rowton Gill ARA (22 February 1882 â 17 November 1940) was an English sculptor, typeface designer, stone-cutter and print-maker. About the projectWith this individual classroom project, the aim was to research about a particular font. Similar fontsAn immediate metal type competitor to Gill Sans was Granby from Stephenson Blake. Three variants of lowercase ‘a’; the more rational forms are the ones that didn’t make the final cut. Gill Sans todayThe BBC adopted the typeface as its corporate typeface in 1997 for many but not all purposes, including on its logo. The basic letter shapes do not look consistent across styles, especially in Extra Bold and Extra Condensed widths, while the Ultra Bold style is effectively a different design altogether and was originally marketed as such. Examples of conflicts in stroke terminations; lowercase r, t and y compared. Morison ordered a typeface based on those monumental sans-serif capitals. Gill Sans is a humanist sans serif with some geometric touches in its structures. Underground Alphabe by Edward Johnston’s of 1916 was the base font of Gill Sans. Monotype is staging a week-long celebration of Eric Gill and his most legendary works. Originally from Sussex, Gill was a student of Chichester Technical and Art School. Typographer, Gill Sans. As the preferred typeface of British establishments (the Railways, the Church, the BBC and Penguin Books), Gill Sans is part of the British visual heritage just like the Union Jack and the safety pin. Gill Sans: Pride of England? The purpose was to know the history of the font, the designer, similar fonts, and its current use. Created at a time when Gill Sans was the new sensation, Granby was formulated to be the local competition. Thus, rather than Johnston’s lettering, it was Gill Sans that became the English national style of the mid-century. Meanwhile, students should be urged to approach Gill Sans with caution; it is a hard typeface to use well without making considerable effort. The editor was proud to announce that Gill "designed the Gill Sans typeface often seen in Angelus Press Publications." HistoryIn 1920 Eric Gill started working on type design, and in 1928 Gill Sans was born. Gill is considered a rather infamous figure for his controversial stance on art that most often involved erotic imagery, despite his strong religious views. Gill obliterated the terminus endings of the vertical stroke in ‘b’, ‘d’, ‘p’ and ‘q’; the Monotype drawing office again came to his assistance and revised the forms so that they were preserved in the medium weight (this can be seen on early samples of the series 262). Gill's studies began when he… Monotype released the Eric Gill Series including Gill Sans Nova (a long-awaited update by George Ryan) in November 2015 with an exhibition in London’s Brick Lane at the Truman Brewery. This is why series 442, the Ultra Bold weight, is otherwise called Kayo for ‘knockout’ – it was envisaged as an (English) heavyweight champion capable of slugging it out with (German) Futura Extra Bold. Arthur Eric Rowton Gill (February 22 1882 – November 17 1940) was an English sculptor, typeface designer, and printmaker, who played a key part in the Arts and Crafts movement. Gill started working on Gill Sans in 1927 and produced Joanna a few years later, in 1930; both fonts have been since adopted by Monotype, which has continuously been adapting them to contemporary typographic needs, from different alphabets to new currency symbols, as well as use on digital platforms. In the world of typography, he is known famously for his sans-serif typeface, Gill Sans released by the British branch of Monotype in 1928. Once everything was done, a dozen zines were printed and distributed among my friends and faculties. Set it in Gill Sans and print it in British Racing Green’. The successful Gill Sans typeface was designed by the English artist and type designer Eric Gill and originally issued by Monotype in 1928 to 1930. Eric Gill perfected the design using his specialty of designing and sculpture. That this project has returned to inform some of the really great type design of the last fifteen years is a testament to how the problem was not solved in 1928. The older Gill Sans MT appellation and Monotype icon set. Capital Transport Publishing, London, UK 2000. Looking at the original trial drawings for this ‘g’ in which the link is weaker, longer and the bowl correspondingly lower, it is easy to rebut this argument. Gill sans is also sometimes misunderstood for Futura and Helvetica. One of the most famous British typefaces, Gill Sans, was used in the classic design system of Penguin Books and by the London and North Eastern Railway and later British Railways. Origins of Gill Sans in Johnston. In Gill Sans (appointed typeface to a nation of shopkeepers), this feature is absent and Monotype were obliged to produce a complete alternate cut for Gill Sans, designated ‘F’ that included a ‘proper’ numeral 1 that could be used for numerical setting, such as shop window prices and timetables. The British font designer Eric Gill was born in 1882, died in 1940 and created the fonts Gill Sans, Humanist 521, Joanna, Lapidary 333 and other fonts. In typography: Mechanical composition …design Morison supervised were Eric Gill’s Sans Serif, which enjoyed a wide vogue in advertising and avant-garde book typography; Gill’s Perpetua, based upon his stonecut letters; and Times New Roman, designed by Morison himself for The Times (London), whose staff he joined in 1930. Comparison of lowercase l, i and numeral 1 in Gill Sans and Johnston. This release adds new weights and more pronounced contrast and personality. After thorough research, the findings were narrowed down and later were published as a zine. Yet this is exactly what happened to Gill Sans – rather than refuse commissions for Extra Bold and Ultra Bold (well beyond the weight of what was considered normal), he continued to draw up and deliver designs that he knew to be aesthetically unjustifiable. While most of the uppercase appear compromised against their Johnston counterparts, the significant demonstrations concern the simplest shapes. Sources: • Eric Gill, An essay on typography. Now publicly released as Wayfarer, this type was partially inspired by the spirit of Granby, which had originally been released by the Sheffield foundry Stephenson, Blake in 1930. This leads me to disagree with the many descriptions of the design of Gill Sans that still contend that the typeface is “based on Roman character shapes and proportions” or “does not reject traditional forms and proportions”. Eric Gill's typography (Gill Sans etc) draftsmanship and carving almost defined the style of England in the 1930s. Lower case âLâ and uppercase âiâ are exactly the same. Eric Gill An English sculptor, sign painter, stonecutter, printmaker and type designer. Aside from inconsistencies of the weights in Gill Sans, Gill changed proportions between capital height, stroke width and character width. The original design was created in 1926 when Douglas Cleverdon opened a bookshop in his home town of Bristol, for which Gill painted a fascia over the window in sans … This is debatable – only with ‘J’ and ‘Q’ is there a potential argument about their improvement. He was known for his association with the Arts and Crafts movement. Gill Sans (197) Gill Kayo (74) Perpetua (24) Perpetua Titling (10) Gill Sans Bold Extra Condensed (8) Gill Facia (7) Joanna (4) Aries (1) Gill Floriated Capitals (1) Gill Sans Nova (1) Pilgrim (1) Bunyan; FTN Eric Sans; Gill Display Compressed; Gill Hebrew; Humanist 521; ITC Golden Cockerel; Joanna Nova; Joanna Sans Nova; Lapidary 333; Solus Gill Sans Stephen Skelton Arthur Eric Rowton Gill (1882 – 1940) was a supremely talented – yet controversial – artist. This ‘new’ Gill Sans also includes Greek, Cyrillic and many accented characters in the Opentype format, as well as extra sorts and roman numerals, (but no alternative ‘a’ or ‘crotched’ versions of b, d, p or q). The old metal version of Granby has a faithfulness to Johnston’s proportions and characteristics that Eric Gill missed in such a way as to suggest he did it deliberately. The new compound name and the missing foundry attribution serves to distance today’s users of this type from any awareness that Monotype used to issue Gill Sans in a range of different series with alternate cuts. In terms of design, however, Stephenson, Blake’s secret advantage may have lain in the fact that they had cut the wooden masters for Johnston’s original London Underground lettering. This aside, there cannot be any real improvement in the character shapes themselves, precisely for the reasons given in the original article. Since it was an independent project, a zine was a perfect fit for publication. Besides similar fonts, many signs and objects made in Britain during the period of Gill Sansâ dominance, such as the famous Keep Calm and Carry On poster, received a hand-painted or custom lettering similar to Gill Sans. Originally Gill designed this typeface as an uppercase, and the lowercase characters were added in 1929. Further, the magazine advertised an essay by Eric Gill - Painting and the Public. When one’s view of a historic facade includes a very large and well-known monument, it can be hard to see which background details are obscured by the foreground presence, and this is where English sans serif type design has been for the last sixty years. Ever since Gill Sans was incorporated into the Adobe/Linotype library in the early 1990s what used to be Monotype Gill Sans became GillSans. Lettering Alphabets (Third Edition) by Alfred Bastien. The âCâ and âaâ have a much less âfolded upâ structure, with wider apertures. One of the abiding eccentricities of Gill Sans is that its range of weights appears darker and less evenly distributed than any comparable face (even Futura is better moderated in this respect). Gill Sans (208) Gill Kayo (79) Perpetua (25) Perpetua Titling (10) Gill Sans Bold Extra Condensed (9) Gill Facia (7) Joanna (4) Aries (1) Gill Floriated Capitals (1) Gill Sans Nova (1) Pilgrim (1) Bunyan; FTN Eric Sans; Gill Display Compressed; Gill Hebrew; Humanist 521; ITC Golden Cockerel; Joanna Nova; Joanna Sans Nova; Lapidary 333; Solus Like Johnston’s Underground lettering, Gill Sans began life as a piece of signage, a fascia board for the shop of Douglas Cleverdon. Specimens of Type from the Monotype Foundry St. Bride Printing Library, Corporation of London, UK retrieved October 19 2006. He was an English sculptor, typeface designer, and printmaker at the same time. The roots of Gill Sans can be traced to the typeface that Gill's teacher, Edward Johnston, designed for the signage of … This ultimately makes Eric Gill a functionalist; and GIll Sans, his most popular design, a very functional typeface indeed. How do you do British post-war design? Identifont.com currently lists Gill Sans at six out of ten most requested fonts. Johnston’s Underground Type by Justin Howes. CharacteristicsGill Sans has a very different style of design to geometric sans-serifs like Futura, based on simple squares and circles, or grotesque designs like Akzidenz-Grotesk, Helvetica and Univers. The successful Gill Sans typeface was designed by the English artist and type designer Eric Gill and originally issued by Monotype in 1928 to 1930. He became a founder member of the newly established Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry. Letters are things made for reading, and that is what Gill designed them for. Comparison of uppercase E and F in Gill Sans and Johnston. FB Agenda (1993 by Greg Thompson), Bliss (1996 by Jeremy Tankard) and Fedra Sans (2001 by Peter Bilak), are some of the recently-produced typographical riches that all owe some part of their provenance to Edward Johnston’s sans serif lettering for the London Underground in 1916 – a project that the younger Eric Gill briefly assisted on and freely acknowledged as being the original model for Gill Sans. The roots of Gill Sans can trace back to the typeface that Gillâs teacher, Edward Johnston, designed for the signage of the London Underground Railway in 1918. The directional stress of the lower bowl is not consistent from weight to weight in Gill Sans, and it changes form entirely (to a continental or italic g) in the Ultra Bold weight; the fatness of the letter does not allow four strokes and two counters to fit within the allotted vertical space. Gill Sans is a sans-serif typeface designed by Eric Gill.It was offered by the British branch of Monotype from 1928 onwards.. Gill Sans is based on Edward Johnston's 1916 "Underground Alphabet", the corporate font of London Underground.As a young artist Gill had assisted Johnston in its early development stages. His achievements, the Stations of the Cross in Westminster Cathedral, the statue of Prospero and Ariel over the front door to Broadcasting House and his typeface, Gill Sans… In the face of this, Gill may have deemed his relationship with both Edward Johnston and his style of lettering expendable, but the evidence suggests that Eric Gill was ‘learning on the job’ with this assignment. Since the inspirations of Optima (1958, by Hermann Zapf) and Syntax (1969, by Hans Eduard Meier), there has been a steady rise in the number of sans serif faces that have a humanistic structure and are good for a variety of tasks. However, writing his Essay on Typography in 1931, Gill claimed that Johnston’s letters were not entirely satisfactory or ‘fool-proof’, and that his new Monotype Sans Serif, the prototype of Gill Sans, was superior. These fonts are designed for European languages written with Latin, Greek and Cyrillic scripts. AKA Arthur Eric Rowton Gill. Eric Gill was a twentieth century British sculptor, printmaker and typeface designer. In 2006, with Apple/Adobe GillSans about to amass the ubiquity of a lesser-known Arial, it would be all too easy to forget what came before GillSans. The roots of Gill Sans can be traced to the typeface that Gill's teacher, Edward Johnston, designed for the signage of the London Underground Railway in 1918. From the Monotype .pdf catalog at myfonts.com; apparently the only alternative glyph in the entire Gill Sans Opentype Pro font is the proportional numeral one. The claim made against Johnston’s earlier design; pages 48-49 of Eric Gill’s Essay on Typography. The last has been called the… While Gill narrowed the proportions of the M, his version of L, N and T are all much wider than in Johnston’s alphabet. The original design for ‘a’ is strikingly similar to Johnston’s (as might be expected), followed by a second attempt which was put into production and can be seen on early specimen sheets. As reported in issue 58 (winter 2005) of Eye magazine, Jeremy Tankard was commissioned by Sheffield City Council to create Sheffield Sans. To complement the exterior signage, Gill produced a smaller alphabet in a blank book intended as a guide for Cleverdon to make future notices and announcements. The roots of Gill Sans can be traced to the typeface that Gill's teacher, Edward Johnston, designed for the signage of the London Underground Railway in 1918. Was Gill Sans ever designed as a jobbing typeface – suitable for a variety of purposes? 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