Typeface backchat: Gill got a lot wrong…

A bit contentious this one. Another interesting article reposted from eight’s blog. Some interesting points are made, and it is well worth a read, but I’m not sure I’d go quite so far personally…


Desight for kudobadass typography, Product/Brand design, painted signs NGS London

Eric Gill got it wrong; a re-evaluation of Gill Sans

by Ben Archer

This article is intended for an audience of contemporary designers and students who are at least one step removed from mid-century British typographic culture; it is a critique of the Gill Sans typeface and the idiosyncrasies of its creation from a contemporary perspective. The central argument is that an earlier typeface by Eric Gill’s mentor, Edward Johnston, is a superior piece of type design.

Gill Sans: Pride of England?
Gill Sans is the Helvetica of England; ubiquitous, utilitarian and yet also quite specific in its ability to point to our notions of time and place. As a graphic designer’s in-joke once put it ‘Q. How do you do British post-war design? A. Set it in Gill Sans and print it in British Racing Green’. As the preferred typeface of British establishments (the Railways, the Church, the BBC…

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