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Table of Contents
6 the Artist
7 Career and Influences
15 Gill Sans
23 Image Index
“In Typography, a clear line is drawn between mechanized industry, seen as the
work of many as opposed to fine craftsmanship, being the work of the individual.”
An Essay On Typography
ERic Gill 6 SculptoR of lEttERS
During the early 20th century, Arthur Eric Rowton Gill was one of England’s
most exceptional artists (Figure 1). He is primarily known for his type design.
However, he utilized his talents to the fullest extending them into many other
fields. The other fields that he ventured into were: wood engraving, sculpting,
and stone cutting. His intricate and thorough design methods allowed him to
do extremely well in several other fields. Gill’s excellent attention to details
also enabled him to make contributions to the field of typography even though
he had very little background or training in type design. When he began
designing type by using his pen and brush, he was averse to using machinery.
Gill felt as though the industrial revolution and technological advances were
stripping away the creativity of the artist. By sticking to his delicate lettering
method, he was able to design eleven typefaces. Even though Eric Gill lacked
the proper typographic training and rejected the new machine production
methods, his superb lettering and craftsmanship enabled him to create several
typefaces that were successful in his lifetime and are still currently being used.1
Born on February 22, 1882 in Brighton, England, Arthur Eric Rowton Gill was
the second child and oldest of thirteen children. His father was a
non-conforming Anglican minister and a strict disciplinarian. When Gill was a
young boy, he was interested in art and drawing.2 Specifically, he would draw
train locomotives and was very precise in trying to copy the intricate lettering
on the sides of them while living close to the railway. Gill attended a private
school in Brighton for six years, and then attended Chichester Technical and
Art School for two years. Drawing and mathematics were Gill’s favorite
Figure 1. Portrait of Eric Gill as a young man (1908; age 26).
classes. He considered a career in architecture. At age fifteen his formal
1 James Mosley, “Eric Gill & The Cockerel Press,” 2 Donald Attwater, A Cell of Good Living—The Life, Works,
international typeface corporation and Monotype and Opinions of Eric Gill (London: Geoffrey Chapman,
Imaging, http://www.itcfonts.com/Ulc/OtherArticles/ 1969), 21-22.
GillCockerel.htm (accessed on September 4, 2008).
3 Elizabeth Marie, Sister, Eric Gill—Twentieth Century
Book Designer (New York: The Scarecrow Press, Inc.,
ERic Gill 7 SculptoR of lEttERS
Career and Influences
When Gill turned eighteen in 1899, he moved to London to apprentice with
the architectural firm for the Ecclesiastical Commissioners of W. H. Caroe.
This firm specialized in constructing buildings for the Anglican Church.4 As an
architect apprentice, Gill thought he would be able to assist in the designs of
the buildings, and then to have important participation in the construction
of these buildings based on the designs. However, Gill quickly learned that
this was not the way this firm operated. Instead, the Anglican clergymen and
the architect demanded that the stone mason and builder just follow their
specifications to the smallest detail. For example, the builder was to merely
copy the things designed on paper. Working in this type of authoritarian
environment not only frustrated Gill, but also caused him to change his
philosophy about his religion, politics, and work ethic.5 His political views
favored Socialism. Gill thought that art was a “matter of personal devotion
to beauty and cannot be imposed on workmen by means of drawings and
specifications.”6 Therefore, he began to attend night classes in writing, lettering,
and calligraphy at the Central School of Arts and Crafts to learn new skills.
Also, he attended night classes at the Westminster technical institute to learn
masonry. One of his teachers at the Central School was Edward Johnston, a
well-known calligrapher and stonemason. In fact, Johnston was the creator of
the london underground typeface (Figure 2).
Figure 2. Display of Edward Johnston’s famous London
4 Attwater, 29. 5 Catholic Authors, “Eric Gill (1882-1940),” Catholic
6 Walter Shewring, Letters of Eric Gill (New York: The
(accessed September 14, 2008).
Devin-Adair Company, 1948), 96.
ERic Gill 8 SculptoR of lEttERS
Gill became close friends with Johnston, and he was influenced by Johnston’s
dedicated work ethic. Gill stated that “Johnston’s influence both in art and
thought altered the whole course of his life.”7 Johnston’s influence on Gill’s
lettering style can be seen when comparing two memorials that are next to
each other in chichester cathedral (Figures 3 and 4). the art of calligraphy
fascinated Gill so much that he seriously considered the business of lettering
and stone cutting. Gill wanted to be in control of designing what people
needed, and then to make what he had designed. He saw a need for letter
Figure 3. Memorial to Percy Joseph Hiscock (stone carving). cutting in stone.8 After a year in training with Mr. Johnston, he obtained his first
small commission. consequently, in 1903, he gave notice to W. H. caroe that
he was giving up his architectural training to pursue a career as a calligrapher,
letter-cutter, and monumental mason. As a self-employed letter cutter, he began
to receive many small commissions from churches and other private projects
for stone cutting and lettering, and this led to even larger jobs, such as the
lettering for the new Cambridge medical schools.9
Now, as a stonemason, Gill had the means to support a family. On August 6,
1904, at twenty-two years of age, he married Ethel Hester Moore. Working
as a stonemason, he carved tombstones and lettering on monuments. for
additional income, Gill would also teach classes. He taught gilding at the
central School of Arts and crafts and lettering at the lcc paddington
institute.10 While he was performing his stonemason work, Gill also became
involved in hand-drawn lettering for book publishers. It was stated that Gill’s
Figure 4. Memorial to Henry Holding Moore (stone carving).
exquisite hand-lettering with pen and brush was able to turn an ordinary book
into a beautiful work of art (Figure 5).
7 Attwater, 33 8 Marie, 21
9 Attwater, 34 10 Garton & Co. and Scolar Press, “Eric Gill,” Garton
& Co. and Scolar Press. http://www.ericgill.com/
on September 3, 2008).
ERic Gill 9 SculptoR of lEttERS
Gill’s earlier training with Edward Johnston began to show in his work. His
work was described as showing “purity and severity,” and his forms as losing
“all extraneous and superfluous detail in favour of a more austere and
abstract method of representation.”11 At this time, Gill was asked to design a
corporate identity for the bookstore chain, W. H. Smith & Sons. this identity
included store front signs and unique letterforms for the bookstore (Figure
6). Subsequently, this company proceeded to reproduce Gill’s hand-drawn
lettering by the means of photographic technology. this photographic process
disgusted Gill because he felt that it was extremely dishonest and covered the
genuineness of the original lettering of the artist. He was so aggravated by this
“photographic scaling of his artwork”12 that he began to engrave his lettering
in wood. Gill hoped that by carving his lettering into wood, his forms would be
protected from being manipulated by machines.
Figure 5. Gill’s exquisite hand lettering with pen and brush. Figure 6. W.H. Smith & Sons corporate identity that Gill designed.
11 Garton & co. and Scolar press, 1. 12 Mosley, 1.
ERic Gill 10 SculptoR of lEttERS
in 1909, Gill temporarily stopped his stone-cutting business to teach himself
how to carve his first sculpture, Estin Thalassa. However, his Mother and
Child sculpture of 1912 brought him public notice (Figure 7). During this
time period, most sculptors would build their model first out of clay, and
then reproduce the clay model into a plaster mold. Then the sculpture was
completed by having a professional stone mason reproduce the plaster model
into stone by using machines and tools. Again, Gill did things differently. He
did not use a clay model. instead, he carved his model directly from the
stone. Gill stated in his autobiography that “without knowing it, I was making
a little revolution. I was reuniting what never should have been separated:
the artist as a man of creation and the artist as a workman.”13 At first, the art
world couldn’t believe that sculpting could be approached by this method,
but then eventually they accepted Gill and his approach. Even though the
art world accepted him, Gill thought that the art world was too “stuffy with
aesthetes, dilettantes, poseurs, and agnostics.”14 Again, Gill began to question
his philosophy and religion. The religion of Gill’s past had made him turn away
because he believed the Anglican clergyman were selfish and didn’t care about
the welfare of their congregation. As a result, Gill sought to establish his own
religion, but then he realized that the beliefs that he had coincided with the
Roman catholic religion.15
Figure 7. Sculpture created by Eric Gill in 1912 entitled Mother
and Child that brought him public notice.
13 St. Wilford’s Church, “People-Eric Gill,” St. Wilford’s 14 catholic Authors, 4.
(accessed September 20, 2008).
15 Marie, 22.
ERic Gill 11 SculptoR of lEttERS
Accordingly, in 1913, on his twenty-ninth birthday, Gill and his family joined the
Roman Catholic Church. After this event, it was evident in Gill’s work that his
religion played an important part in his life.16 from 1913 to 1917, he carved
the Stations of the cross for Westminster cathedral (Figure 8). While he was
designing the stations, he met the typographer, Stanley Morison. When the
Stations of the Cross were presented to the public on Good Friday in 1918,
the public began to consider Gill one of the best sculptors in the world. In
1915, Gill and Douglas Pepler established St. Dominic’s Press. Now that he had
his private printing press, Gill began to express his philosophies and religious
views through essays, pamphlets, and books. His vision was for the world to
abide by the way or the rule of the Lord. In other words, placing accountability
or responsibility on the people to do God’s will. Gill also believed that God
created man in His own image and likeness. Therefore, like God, man was
intended to be a creator, and, as a creator, he should do the majority of the
work and should be in control of the means of production. Contrary to these
beliefs were assembly-line mass production/mechanical industrialism and
capitalism.17 Also at this time, Gill began to lose interest in politics. He stated
“politics are not my line of business.”18
Figure 8. Fourteenth Station of the Cross
at Westminster Cathedral (1917).
16 Marie, 23. 17 Attwater, 180-190.
18 Attwater, 157.
ERic Gill 12 SculptoR of lEttERS
Figure 9. War Memorial at the University of Leeds (1923).
Again, Gill used his printing press to express his opinions concerning indus- In 1918, Gill was drafted into the Royal Air Force, but he was only stationed
trialism and capitalism. Gill disliked industrialism because he thought that it in England for four months until the war ended. At the end of World War I,
separated what God had joined together, the body and the mind. Industrialism Gill obtained many orders for war memorials.23 One in particular was the war
took away the uniqueness of art. Instead of being in control of their creations, memorial for the University of Leeds in 1923. Gill felt that the war was mainly
workers and artists became slaves or tools to the machines. Likewise, Gill be- about money. therefore, he designed the monument depicting Jesus christ as
lieved capitalism exploited the worker. Capitalism was in complete opposition a priest chasing men and women with a whip. The men and women were to
to Gill’s lifestyle. Gill lived in a very frugal manner in mostly isolated communi- represent the world of money and business (Figure 9).24
ties. Money to him was the root or cause of all evil.19 In his lifetime he wasn’t
trying to acquire enormous wealth or many material possessions. Gill stated
that “The work which I have chiefly tried to do in my life is this: to make a cell
of good living in the chaos of our world.”20 When Gill would figure his cost
for each job, he based his figures on what it would cost per hour to provide
for himself and his family, and also to pay for materials and overhead costs.21
In other words, Gill was simply using his God-given talents to create things in
order to obtain just enough money to support himself and his family.22
18 Attwater, 171. 19 Attwater, 11 23 Attwater, 80. 24 Attwater, 80.
20 Attwater, 68. 21 catholic Authors, 5-6.
22 Attwater, 66.
ERic Gill 13 SculptoR of lEttERS
In November, 1925, Gill started drawing alphabets for Stanley Morison who
was the typographical adviser for the Lanston Monotype Corporation. The
Lanston Monotype Corporation were the makers of the mechanical
type-composing machines.25 Stanley Morison was well-known for being
the designer of the Times New Roman typeface for the Lanston Monotype
corporation.26 Gill had met Morison previously while working for a Catholic
publishing company. Gill began by drawing the letters with brush and ink based
upon his own stone cut letters. He was not aware of the current technology
being used by popular type designers during this industrial age. in fact, he be-
lieved that the reliance on machinery took away the individuality of the artist.
Figure 10. The Perpetua Typeface designed by Eric Gill in 1929.
Eventually, his drawings would turn out to become Gill’s first typeface, even
though he had initially wanted nothing to do with type design for machine
production. He stated that “typography was not his country,”27 and that he had The uppercase letters of the typeface were developed based on the charac-
no practical background or training in type design for printing. Subsequently, teristics of the Trajan Roman column’s inscriptions (Figure 11). The lower case
Stanley Morison sent Gill’s drawings to Charles Malin, a Frenchman, to hand letters of the typeface were designed to be in complete agreement with the
punch-cut Gill’s drawings into steel. In 1929, when Gill was forty-seven years uppercase letters. There was no embellishment to the letters. The hair-line
old, the Lanston Monotype Corporation finally released his new typeface. This serifs that were included in this typeface rather than the typical slab-like serifs
typeface was called Perpetua (Figure 10). Gill named it after Saint perpetua. Gill were important in creating a more readable type. In fact, this type was consid-
stated that the Lanston Monotype Corporation had produced a font which ered to be one of the most readable of the Twentieth Century types.29
had the characteristics that he looked for in a good book type — “common
placeness and normality.”28 Art Nonsense was the first book published in 1930
that used Perpetua. Another example of the Perpetua typeface can be found in
Poling Church in West Sussex used on a wall plaque remembering the life of
Sir Harry Johnston. later in 1929, a Greek version of Perpetua was designed.
25 Attwater, 121. 26 Typophile, “Eric Gill-Typophile,” Typophile. 29 Marie, 119.
27 Nicholas fabian, “the Master Sculptor of letters—
September 5, 2008).
Eric Gill” Nicholas Fabian. http://web.archive.org/
web/20000823071200/ (accessed September 3, 2008). 28 Attwater, 124.
ERic Gill 15 SculptoR of lEttERS
The origin of Gill’s next typeface, Gill Sans, began when Gill painted several
signs to provide directions around a monastery. the lettering for the signs
was the same sans-serif lettering designed by Edward Johnston for the station
names on the London Underground which Gill had worked on while work-
ing with Johnston. The sans-serif letters did not have serifs. In typography, serifs
are the small features at the end of strokes within letters. A typeface without
serifs is called sans-serif. Sans is a French word meaning without (Figure 12).
Serifs originated when letters were being carved into stone to be used for the
Roman alphabet. the additional spaces left at the end of the long strokes of the
letters were to prevent gravel and dust from collecting in the corners of the
letters.30 Usually, serif fonts were used for long bodies of text because the serifs
help to guide the eye along, but the sans serif fonts were used for headings and
for smaller portions of text.31 Then Gill was commissioned by Douglas Clever-
don, a publisher and bookseller, to design a sign that was to be placed over his
shop. Again, Gill utilized the sans-serif lettering of Edward Johnston for this job.
When Gill had completed his sketch of the design for this sign, Stanley Morison
saw it, and again he asked Gill to draw another alphabet using these sans-serif
Figure 12. Comparison of a serif and a sans serif typeface. letters for the lanston Monotype corporation. the reason Stanley Morison
requested Gill to do this was because he thought it was necessary for the
lanston Monotype corporation to develop a typeface in order to compete
with Germany’s Erbar, Futura, and Kabel typefaces.32 Morison thought Gill’s let-
tering was unique and different from the traditional typefaces and would help
Monotype stand out in the field of typography.33
30 NationMaster. “Encyclopedia—Sans serif.” Nation- 31 NationMaster. “Encyclopedia—Sans serif,” 2.
33 Phil Baines and Andrew Haslam, Type and Typography
Sans-serif (accessed September 2, 2008).
(New York: Watson-Guptill Pub., 2002).
32 Mosley, 2
ERic Gill 16 SculptoR of lEttERS
In 1928, this typeface was released by the Lanston Monotype Corporation.
Gill Sans was created by using lettering techniques of a stone cutter and with
little consideration of current type design technology. In spite of this, it was
very successful commercially. When Gill Sans was used for the London &
North Eastern Railway system in 1929, it became an immediate success.34 in
addition, Gill created a sign or nameplate for the Flying Scotsman (Figure 13),
their famous locomotive. When the lanston Monotype corporation intro-
duced the Super Caster, the Gill Sans typeface family was made available in
Figure 14. Gill Sans typeface created by Eric Gill for Lanston
sizes up to 72 point. Gill Sans became the Lanston Monotype Corporation’s Monotype Corporation in 1928. It became this corporation’s fifth
fifth top-selling typeface (Figure 14). penguin Books also used it for its book top-selling typeface of the 20th Century.
jacket designs. Gill Sans grew in use and popularity, and with this growth, came
new line weights.35 Each weight of the font brought with it new characteristics,
because each of them were produced by a unique design method instead of
being “mechanically produced from a single design.”36 later, Gill admitted that
he needed to thank Edward Johnston for the success of the Gill Sans typeface.
He wrote a letter to him saying, “I hope you realize that I take every opportu-
nity of proclaiming the fact that what the Monotype people call Gill Sans owes
all its goodness to your Underground letter.”37
Figure 13. Nameplate for the Flying Scotsman, the famous
locomotive for the London & North Eastern Railway created
by Eric Gill.
34 claire Badaracco, “Rational language and print Design 35 Mosley, 2
in Communication Management,” Design Issues 12,
37 Attwater, 121
(1996), 26-37, http://www.jstor.org/stable/1511743
(accessed September 27, 2008).
36 Monotype, “Hidden Gems,” Monotype. http://
asp?show=gillsans (accessed September 26, 2008).
ERic Gill 17 SculptoR of lEttERS
Edward Johnston’s sans-serif lettering was designed for display only, but Gill The final typeface that Gill would design for the Monotype Corporation in
was designing his typeface to be able to function as a text face and also to be 1929 was called Solus. in designing this typeface, he used Egyptian or square-
used for display. Like his first typeface, Perpetua, Gill modeled the uppercase
cut, slab-like serifs. Ultimately, this typeface was not accepted because it was
of the Gill Sans typeface on the Roman capitals of the inscriptions found on the not that much different in text size from the Perpetua typeface.44 This was Gill’s
Column of Trajan (Figure 11).39 Being based on the roman letterforms and not final typeface for the Monotype Corporation because he had entered into an
so much on geometric shapes made the letters more readable or legible. Gill agreement with Robert Gibbings, owner of the Golden Cockerel Press, which
Sans is legible even though it has a very small x-height, which normally has a prevented him from designing new types for the Monotype Corporation.45
negative affect on the readability of a typeface. The x-height is the height of the
lowercase letters. When using the Gill Sans typeface, more text could be set in
a certain space than with other sans serif typefaces.40 Also, it was the first sans
serif that had true italic characteristics.41 the capital “M” of Gill Sans is based on
the dimensions of a square with the middle part of the letter meeting at the
center. The lowercase letters are modeled on the Carolingian lettering (Figure
15). This is especially obvious in the lowercase of the two-story “a” and “g.”
The lowercase “t” is similar to the traditional serifs in its proportion and in its
slanted ending of its vertical stroke. The lowercase of the italic “a” is designed
as a single story. the italic “e” is very calligraphic, and the lowercase “p” has a
calligraphic tail similar to the italics of Caslon and Baskerville.42 Also, compared
to other sans serif typefaces, Gill Sans had stronger contrasts between stroke
widths of its letter forms.43
Figure 15. Sample of the Carolingian lettering style that had influence on
the development of Gill Sans.
38 Attwater, 121. 39 NationMaster. “Encyclopedia—Gill Sans.” Nation- 44 Allen Haley. Typographic Milestones. (New York: John 45 Mosley, 3
Master. http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/ Wiley & Sons, 1992.)
40 Montype, 1.
Gill-Sans (accessed September 10, 2008).
42 The Eric Gill Society. “Eric Gill (Arthur Eric Rowton
41 NationMaster. “Encyclopedia—Gill Sans,” 2.
Gill, 1882-1940).” The Eric Gill Society. http://www.
ericgill.org.uk/work/eric-gill-arthur-eric-rowton-gill- 43 Monotype, 1.
18821940 (accessed September 3, 2008).
ERic Gill 18 SculptoR of lEttERS
During this time, the Golden Cockerel Press wanted to design its own type
so that the type would match their images. Gill was already illustrating many
books for the Golden cockerel press. therefore, in 1929, Gill took on this
challenge to actually design his first type. Another design accomplishment
for Gill was that he placed type and illustrations together to form one image
(Figure 16). He wanted this type to be “a heavy closely-massed type suitable
for use with modern wood engravings.”46 As he was creating this type, Gill was
also learning to be a type designer. Gill wrote to Morison, “Am at a loss how
to proceed. I have made drawings to a large scale, but how am I to tell what
they’ll look like small?”47 finally, Gill had his small sketches photographically
enlarged. By doing this, he was able to work on the details of the letters, and
then he reduced his sketches back to the smaller size. Even though Gill had
initially despised using a machine to photograph his work, now he saw its use
as an asset. He began to see the need for the use of certain machines. in 1931,
the Golden Cockerel type was used to print The Hundredth Story by
A. E. coppard.
Figure 16. Example of Gill using type and illustrations to form
one visual image.
46 Mosley, 4 47 Mosley, 3-4.
ERic Gill 19 SculptoR of lEttERS
Gill began drawing another serif font in 1930 for private use by his own print-
ing press, Hague and Gill (Figure 17). He named this typeface after his daughter,
Joanna. By creating this typeface, Gill showed that he had acquired the skill
of quickly drawing his images in order for them to be easily transformed into
metal. When designing this typeface, Gill used the type faces of Robert Gran-
jon as a model. The Granjon influence can be easily seen in the main structure
of both the roman and italic forms of Joanna. However, Gill’s italics have a
three-degree slope, which makes the letters more vertical than Granjon’s. Gill
described this typeface as “a book face free from all fancy business.”48 in fact, Figure 17. Joanna typeface designed by Eric Gill in 1930.
Gill used this typeface for printing his book entitled, An Essay on Typography.
Recently, the print materials for Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign During this period, Gill was asked to carve statues over the entrance of the
have used the Joanna typeface. After Joanna, Gill designed the Aries and Flori- Broadcasting House of BBC’s corporate headquarters that he called Prospero
ated Capitals typefaces in 1932, Bunyan typeface in 1934, Pilgrim typeface, which and Arial from the Shakespearian play, The Tempest.50 in addition, he designed
was a recut version of Bunyan in 1953, and Jubilee (also known as Cunard) in a postage stamp for the Post Office in 1937. In 1938, he created a three bas-
1934. He also attempted to create an Arabic typeface, but it was never cut. 49
relief in stone for the Assembly Hall for the league of Nations building in Ge-
neva, Switzerland. He called it The Creation of Adam. Also at this time, Gill was
the first to receive the highest British award as a type designer. He was given
the title of Royal Designer for Industry.51 In early 1949, Gill was diagnosed with
lung cancer. Thereafter, he began to write his Autobiography, and in December
of that year, it was published. On November 17, 1940, at 5:00 a.m., Eric Gill
died of lung cancer at Harefield House Hospital in Middlesex, England.
48 Ascenderfonts.com. “Joanna font: Joanna 2 family 49 Gregory Graalfs. “Gill Sands.” Print 52 (1998): 108. 50 BBC. “Key Facts-Broadcasting House, London.” BBC. 51 Wikipedia. “Eric Gill.” Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. http://
(3 fonts).” Ascenderfonts.com. www.ascenderfonts. http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/keyfacts/stories/ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Gill (accessed September
com/font/Joanna-2-family.aspx (accessed September broadcasting_house.shtml (accessed September 20, 4, 2008).
28, 2008). 2008).
ERic Gill 20 SculptoR of lEttERS
Eric Gill was a truly remarkable man. He wasn’t satisfied in one career. In order
to express his artistic abilities, Gill wanted to explore different mediums. He
was so motivated to use his God-given talents that he wanted to extend them
to the fullest. Gill stated that “Only with God can a man give himself over at
the same time, first to his God and second to something which is a reflection
of his God.”52 in spite of Gill detesting the use of machinery and living in a capi-
talistic society, his motivation compelled him to explore other unfamiliar fields.
in his book, An Essay on Typography, he said that “a clear line is drawn between
Figure 18. The BBC, a British telecommunication corporation, mechanized industry, seen as the work of many as opposed to fine craftsman-
uses Gill Sans as part of their identity.
ship, being the work of the individual.”53 Also, it was because of his special
attention to details and his excellent craftsmanship that he was able to succeed
in the field of typography. The typefaces that Gill created remain popular to
this day because of his excellent lettering and craftsmanship. For example, the
BBc uses Gill Sans as its corporate typeface (Figure 18). other corporations
using Gill Sans include AMD, Beltronics Sti Driver Radar Detector, Benetton
Group, Carlton Television, Channel 4, Cunard Line, Firedog, Fox News Chan-
nel, Saab Automobiles, and many others. Gill Sans has endured the changes of
modern technology. its readability is as easy on a computer screen as it is on
a printed page. Naturally, it became Britain’s most commonly used typeface.54
today, Gill Sans is in digital form packaged by the Macintosh operating system.
On his gravestone Gill labeled himself as a stone carver. However, his diverse
contributions to type design and his other artistic pursuits make this descrip-
tion far too simplistic. Gill will always be remembered for extending his talents
as a stone carver to combine them with his artistic abilities. His artistic abilities
of drawing elegant lines and using meticulous lettering gave him the opportu-
nity to make significant contributions to the field of typography.55
52 Marie, 175-176. 54 Delve Withrington. “An Essay on typography By Eric
Gill (1882-1940).” Typebooks. http://www.typebooks.
53 NationMaster. “Encyclopedia—Gill Sans,” 2-3.
org/r-essay.htm (accessed September 4, 2008).
55 fabian, 2.
Ascenderfonts.com. “Joanna font: Joanna 2 Garton & Co. and Scolar Press. “Eric Gill.” NationMaster. “Encyclopedia—Sans Serif.”
Family (3 fonts).” Ascenderfonts.com. Garton & co. and Scolar press. NationMaster. http://www.nationmaster.com/
www.ascenderfonts.com/font/Joanna-2- http://www.ericgill.com/view_article. encyclopedia/Sans-Serif (accessed September
family.aspx (accessed September 28, 2008). php?article_id=33&sort_by= (accessed on 2, 2008).
September 3, 2008).
Attwater, Donald. A Cell of Good Living—The Samara, timothy. typography Workbook—A
life, Works, and opinions of Eric Gill. Graalfs, Gregory. “Gill Sands.” Print 52 (1998): Real-World Guide to using type in Graphic
london: Geoffrey chapman, 1969. 108. Design. Gloucester: Rockport publishers,
Badaracco, claire. “Rational language and Haley, Allen. Typographic Milestones. New
print Design in communication Manage York: John Wiley & Sons, 1992. Shewring, Walter. Letters of Eric Gill. New
ment.” Design Issues 12 (1996): 26-37, York: The Devin-Adair Company, 1948.
http://www.jstor.org/stable/1511743, Identifont. “Eric Gill (1882-1940).” Indentifont.
(accessed September 27, 2008). http://www.identifont.com/show?12W St. Wilford’s Church. “People-Eric Gill.”
(accessed September 5, 2008). St. Wilford’s Church. http://www.wilfrid.com/
Baines, Phil, and Andrew Haslam. Type & people/eric_gill.htm (accessed September
Typography. New York: Watson-Guptill Linotype. “Font Designer—Eric Gill.” Linotype. 20, 2008).
publications, 2002. http://www.linotype.com/391/ericgill.
html?PHP (accessed September 3, 2008). The Eric Gill Society. “Eric Gill (Arthur Eric
BBC. “Key Facts-Broadcasting House, London.” Rowton Gill, 1882-1940).” The Eric Gill
BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/ Marie, Elizabeth Sister. Eric Gill—Twentieth Society. http://www.ericgill.org.uk/work/eric-
keyfacts/stories/broadcasting_house.shtml Century Book Designer. New York: The gill-arthur-eric-rowton-gill-18821940
(accessed September 20, 2008). Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1962. (accessed September 3, 2008).
Catholic Authors. “Eric Gill (1882-1940).” Majoor, Martin. “My Type Design Philosophy.” Typophile. “Eric Gill-Typophile.” Typophile.
Catholic Authors. http://www.catholicau- SearchFreeFonts.com. http://www.searchfree http://typophile.com/node/12115? (accessed
thors.com/gill.html fonts.com/articles/my-type-design-philosophy. September 5, 2008).
(accessed September 14, 2008). htm (accessed September 2, 2008).
Wikipedia. “Eric Gill.” Wikimedia Foundation,
The Eric Gill Society. “Eric Gill (Arthur Eric Monotype. “Hidden Gems.” Monotype. Inc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Gill
Rowton Gill, 1882-1940).” The Eric Gill http://www.monotypefonts.com/ Library/ (accessed September 4, 2008).
Society. http://www.ericgill.org.uk/work/eric- HiddenGems.asp?show=gillsans (accessed
gill-arthur-eric-rowton-gill-1882-1940 September 26, 2008). Wikipedia. “Joanna (typeface).” Wikimedia
(accessed September 3, 2008). Foundation, Inc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Mosley, James. “Eric Gill & The Cockerel Press.” Joanna_(typeface) (accessed on September
fabian, Nicholas. “the Master Sculptor of international typeface corporation and 3, 2008).
Letters—Eric Gill.” Nicholas Fabian. Monotype Imaging. http://www.itcfonts.com/
http://web.archive.org/web/ Ulc/OtherArticles/GillCockerel.htm (accessed Withrington, Delve. “An Essay on typography
20000823071200/ (accessed September on September 4, 2008). By Eric Gill (1882-1940).” Typebooks.
3, 2008). http://www.typebooks.org/r-essay.htm
NationMaster. “Encyclopedia—Gill Sans.” (accessed September 4, 2008).
encyclopedia/Gill-Sans (accessed September
Contents Image. illustration by Eric Figure 7. Sculpture created by Eric Gill in Figure 14. Gill Sans typeface created by
Gill, from Marie, Elizabeth Sister. Eric 1912 entitled Mother and Child that brought Eric Gill for lanston Monotype corpora-
Gill—Twentieth Century Book Designer. him public notice, from Attwater, Donald. tion in 1928. It became this corporation’s
New York: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1962, A cell of Good living—the life, Works, fifth top-selling typeface of the 20th Century,
161. and opinions of Eric Gill. london: Geoffrey from Matthew Curtin. “Gill Sans.”
Figure 1. portrait of Eric Gill as a young Figure 15. Sample of the Carolingian
man (1908; age 26), from Marie, Elizabeth Figure 8. Fourteenth Station of the Cross at lettering style that had influence on the
Sister. Eric Gill—Twentieth Century Book Westminster Cathedral (1917), from development of Gill Sans, from Michael
Designer. New York: The Scarecrow Press, Attwater, Donald. A Cell of Good Living— Hochleitner. “Carolingian handwriting.”
inc., 1962, 170. the life, Works, and opinions of Eric Gill. Flickr.com. http://www.flickr.com/photos/
london: Geoffrey chapman, 1969. wasianed/2454903016/.
Figure 2. Display of Edward Johnston’s
famous london underground typeface, Figure 9. War Memorial at the University of Figure 16. Example of Gill using type and
from Retrozoom. “london transport Leeds (1923), from Attwater, Donald. A Cell illustrations to form one visual image, from
Museum.” Flixr.com. http://www.flickr.com/ of Good living—the life, Works, and Marie, Elizabeth Sister. Eric Gill—Twentieth
photos/retrozoom/2157266085/. opinions of Eric Gill. london: Geoffrey Century Book Designer. New York: The
chapman, 1969. Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1962, 109.
Figure 3. Memorial to Percy Joseph Hiscock
(stone carving), from St. Wilford’s Church. Figure 10. the Perpetua typeface designed Figure 17. Joanna typeface designed by Eric
“People-Eric Gill.” St. Wilford’s Church. by Eric Gill in 1929, from Matthew Curtin. Gill in 1930, from Matthew Curtin. “Joanna.”
(accessed September 20, 2008) Figure 18. the BBc, a British telecommu-
Figure 11. trajan inscription, circa 114 A.D., nication corporation, uses Gill Sans as part of
Figure 4. Memorial to Henry Holding from David McGaw. “Trajan’s Column, Base their identity, from Warren pilkington. “this is
Moore (stone carving), from St. Wilford’s Inscription.” Flixr.com. http://www.flickr.com/ the BBC Television Service.” Flixr.com.
Church. “People-Eric Gill.” St. Wilford’s photos/mcgaw/427714161/. http://www.flickr.com/photos/
Church. http://www.wilfrid.com/people/ zawtowers/2817514831/ (accessed
eric_gill.htm (accessed September 20, 2008) Figure 12. comparison of a serif and a sans November 20, 2008).
serif typeface, from Matthew Curtin. “Serif
Figure 5. Example of Gill’s exquisite hand vs. Sans Serif.”
lettering with pen and brush, from Marie,
Elizabeth Sister. Eric Gill—Twentieth Century Figure 13. Nameplate for the Flying Book Design, cover Design and typography by
Book Designer. New York: The Scarecrow Scotsman, the famous locomotive for the Matthew Curtin
press, inc., 1962, 149. London & North Eastern Railway created
by Eric Gill, from Anthony Hope. “4472 flying typeset in Gill Sans ultra Bold, Gill Sans light, Gill Sans
Figure 6. W.H. Smith & Sons corporate Scotsman.” Flickr.com. http://www.flickr.com/ Bold, and perpetua using a Macintosh G5 and inDesign.
identity that Gill designed, from Jason photos/scarlet-lancer165/202743133/.
thomas. “HighStreet W-H-Smith & Son printed by uMBc Visual Arts Dept.
1946.” Flickr.com. http://www.flickr.com/
photos/jsn-1/2299668905/. printed on international paper Hammermill 24 lb.
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