WHAT IS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION ERIC GILL MADE TO THE FIELD OF TYPOGRAPHY?
ERIC GILLdesigned typefaces for Monotype, a company that specializes in typesetting and typeface design.1 His largest contribution to the field of typography is the typeface Gill Sans, released in 1928 by Monotype. It is considered as a British heritage, alongside the Union Jack.3 It is a sans serif typeface that was used on the covers of Penguin books published before the war1, of London and North Eastern Railways (2), and later British Railway (2). It is with this typeface, that the current V&A Modernism exhibition named it to be the rst British modernist type design.1 This typeface is heavily used by the British Broadcasting Corporation, better known as the BBC from 1997 until August 2017, when they decided to use their own in-house typeface.
Gill Sans was influenced by the humanist movement that occurred during the Renaissance period, and introduced roundness and uniformity and produced the upright shapes of the font Textura.2 Gill Sans is the only sans serif typeface without modular use of strokes.2 The consistent stroke thickness of this font are one of the trademark characteristics to this typeface.2
Gill Sans was heavily inspired by the font Johnston and was created to compete with German typefaces such as Futura. The typeface, according to Gill, was “based on Roman character shapes and proportions, and does not reject traditional forms and proportions”.3
There has since been many versions. including Condensed, Shadow, Titling, and the digital typeface Gill Sans Nova, which addresses criticism made such as the numeral 1 and the weight of the typeface.3
1 MacCarthy, Fiona.“Fiona MacCarthy on Eric Gill’s Life and Art.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 21 July 2006, www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2006/jul/22/art.art.
2 Freyalou.“The History and Characteristics of the Gill Sans Typeface.” Owlcation, Owlcation, 31 Mar. 2017, owlcation.com/humanities/gill-sans-typeface.
3 Ben Archer. “Eric Gill Got It Wrong; a Re-Evaluation of Gill Sans.” Typotheque, Jan. 2007, www. typotheque.com/articles/re-evaluation_of_gill_sans.