WHY WAS ERIC GILL AN IMPORTANT TYPOGRAPHER?

TYPEFACES BY ERIC GILL

Perpetua Humanist 52
Gill Sans Jubilee
Joanna Non Solus
Aries Gill Floriated
Lapidary 333 Gill Facia
ERIC GILLstarted off as an architect. During an internship he found calligraphy and was amazed. He began to take classes of writing and lettering at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, taught by Edward Johnston.1 Gill progressed from being his student to becoming his assistant, where he began to perfect his own practice as lettering artist using both pen and brush drawn calligraphy.1 Gill began to independently experiment with design by using San Serif typefaces.1 Gill met a typographer named Stanley Morison, who wanted to develop a new moder monotype typeface that could compete with the popular sans serif fonts—as a result Gill was given the job of creating Gill Sans.2 Eric Gill set up a lettering workshop and created the typefaces Perpetua and Gill Sans, which later appear on the cover of the Penguin Classics, published by famous publishing company Penguin Books.4 He designed eleven total typefaces, including the aforementioned as well as Joanna,Aries, Gill Floriated, Humanist 52, Jubilee, Non Solus, Lapidary 333, Gill Facia.2
He questioned the look of letters. He saw them as things, not pictures of things.4 He said that people like the way letters look because of their shape, not because they resemble something.4
“The shapes of letters do not derive their beauty from any sensual or sentimental reminiscences. No one can say that the O’s roundness appeals to us only because it is like that of an apple or of a girl’s breast or of the full moon. Letters are things, not pictures of things.”
- Eric Gill
After finding out that he was an sexual abuser, many questioned the credibility of Gill. Should they display and promote his artwork despite his crude behaviour? A few have mentioned to separate him from his activities.The museums and books where his art are featured are not there to promote his (filthy) activities but rather his artwork.3
1 “Eric Gill (History).” Nickgraphic, 31 Oct. 2017, nickgraphic.wordpress.com/eric-gill-history/.
2 Freyalou.“The History and Characteristics of the Gill Sans Typeface.” Owlcation, Owlcation, 31 Mar. 2017, owlcation.com/humanities/gill-sans-typeface.
3 Cooke, Rachel.“Eric Gill: Can We Separate the Artist from the Abuser?” The Observer, Guardian News and Media, 9 Apr. 2017, www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/apr/09/eric-gill-the-body- ditchling-exhibition-rachel-cooke.
4 Identifont - Eric Gill, www.identifont.com/show?12W.