Eric Gill was born in Brighton, England, 1882-1940. British stone carver, wood engraver, essayist and type designer. Student of Johnston. Influential British type designer who for a while worked for the Golden Cockerell Press in London. The text book Eric Gill (Fiona McCarthy, Faber and Faber Ltd) describes his life. Publishers Weekly writes: An English artist-craftsman in the tradition of William Morris, Eric Gill (1882-1940) exemplifies the search for a lifestyle to heal the split between work and leisure, art and industry. He is remembered today for his fine engravings and stone carvings, his legendary typefaces and book designs for the Golden Cockerel Press. Yet there was another side to the man, downplayed by previous biographers: a fervent convert to Catholicism and leader of three Catholic arts-and-crafts communes, Gill had a hyperactive libido which extended to incest with his sisters and daughters, as well as numerous extramarital affairs, according to British writer MacCarthy. He rationalized his penile acrobatics by inventing a bizarre pseudoreligious theory. In MacCarthy's candid portrait, Gill, who preserved the outward image of a devout father-figure, was neither saint nor humbug, but a highly sexed creative artist trapped by his Victorian concept of masculinity. This charismatic firebrand was a renegade Fabian socialist, a bohemian friend of Augustus John and Bertrand Russell. His adventurous life, as re-created in this beautifully written, absorbing biography, is disturbingly relevant to our time. A follow-up article by McCarthy in The Guardian, 2006. Canicopulus Script (1989, Barry Deck) is a font named to remember one of Eric Gill's favorite extracurricular activities. Quote: There are now about as many different varieties of letters as there are different kinds of fools. FontShop link. Linotype link.
Author of An Essay on Typography (1931, revised in 1936). For a French edition, see Eric Gill Un Essai sur la Typographie (Boris Donné and Patricia Menay, Ypsilon Editeur, 2011).
His typefaces include
- Gill Sans (1927). The modern Bitstream version is called Humanist 521. An obscure style called Gill Sans Shadow 338 (1929, Monotype) was digitized by Toto in 2011 as K22 EricGillShadow. Image of Gill Sans by Katharina Felski. Image of Gill Sans's g by John Bakhan (Seoul). Image of Gill Sans by Tori Estes. Over at Infinitype and SoftMaker, the typeface sells under the name Chantilly or Chantilly Serial. Niteesh Yadav, a graphic designer in New Delhi, created a great PDF file on the topic of Gill Sans. For a major digital update and revival, see Gill Sans Nova (George Ryan, 2015, Monotype). It extends Gill Sans MT from 18 to 43 fonts. Several new display fonts are available, including a suite of six inline weights, shadowed outline fonts that were never digitized and Gill Sans Nova Deco that was previously withdrawn from the Monotype library. And it covers Greek and Cyrillic.
- Golden Cockerell Roman (1929), forv the Golden Cockerel Press. Berry, Johnson and Jaspert write: Designed by Eric Gill, a rounder form of his Perpetua. It has the modest capitals, horizontal serifs and slight differentiation of colour of Gill's other romans. The M is somewhat splayed. The g has a rather large bowl. The t is very short. The italic, cut only for the 14 pt. size, is a sloped roman except for the a and with it are used the roman capitals, as in the case of Joanna.
- Perpetua (Monotype, 1928-1929). This is the prototypical lapidary typeface. The Bitstream version is called Lapidary 333. The SoftMaker versions are called P700 and persistent. See also here. Images of Perpetua: i, ii, iii, iv, v, vi, vii, viii, ix, x, xi.
- Solus (1929)
- Cunard (1934; sold to L. E. Deval, Elkin Matthews Limited, and listed as Jubilee (1952) by Stephenson Blake)
- Joanna (1930): a slab serif based on work by Granjon. Monotype's metal typeface Joanna dates from 1958. Berry, Johnson and Jaspert write: Designed by Eric Gill for Hague & Gill in 1930. A light roman with small horizontal serifs and little differentiation of colour. The type is remarkable for the smallness of the capitals, which do not reach the height of the ascenders, themselves not tall. The bowl of the g is rather large. The italic is the roman inclined except for a and g. The inclination is very slight. There are no specially cut capitals, but the modest roman capitals are used. This was the practice of Aldus, the first printer to use italic. Eric Gill's Essay on Typography, 1931 is printed in Joanna. In 2015, Monotype set out to remaster, 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. As part of that, it published a revival / extension in 2015 by Ben Jones, Joanna Nova. This 18-font series covers Greek and Cyrillic. There is an excursion into the sans world based on Joanna by Terrance Weinzierl, also in 2015, Joanna Sans Nova (2015, Monotype: 16 fonts).
- Aries (1932): see the 1995 revival at FontHaus by Dave Farey.
- Floriated Capitals (1932).
- Bunyan (1934). See also Bunyan Pro (2016, Patrick Griffin and Bill Troop).
- Pilgrim (1934), originally designed for a book published by the Limited Edition Club of New York. This serene typeface with incised features was re-cut by Walter Tracy for Linotype in 1950. For digital versions, see Pilgrim (Linotype, based on a cut by Walter Tracy), Palermo Serial (1999, Softmaker), Bunyan Pro (2016, Patrick Griffin and Bill Troop), and perhaps OPTI Porque (Castcraft).
- Kayo (1936). In 1980, it was redone by Esselte (and Monotype?). In digital form, we have Gill Kayo Condensed by ITC.
- Corporate typefaces such as this one for W.H. Smith&Sons (1903-1907). Revivals or derived typefaces include Gill Facia (1996, Monotype) and Dear Sir Madam (2011, Radim Pesko).
- Gill (ca. 1932): While Gill was living in Israel, he designed a Hebrew alphabet which he cut into walls. After Gill's death in 1940, the carvings were used by Moshe Spizer to design the Gill typeface, which was then cut by Alphonso Ioso. The typeface Gill, however, never caught on.
Klingspor Museum page
Type designers ⦿
Type designers ⦿
Type design in the United Kingdom ⦿
Hebrew font links ⦿
Books on type design ⦿
Lapidary typefaces ⦿
Garalde or Garamond typefaces ⦿
Eric Gill and his typefaces ⦿
Lapidary typefaces ⦿