07. Typographers for Designers: Eric Gill

Just like László Moholy-Nagy in my previous post, Eric Gill was a jack of all trades in the art world. He was a painter, sculptor, stonecutter, and a type designer. His name might be familiar as it is the namesake of the famous Gill Sans font family.


Gill is also known for the Perpetual and Joanna typefaces.



This here, is a comprehensive list of the fonts created by Gill:


According to a timeline of Gill’s work history on Linotype.com, it would appear that the man let an intensive work career in the arts and especially in type:

1899–1903 – Works in an architect’s office. Takes lessons in lettering with Edward Johnston at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London.

1905–09 – Produces initials and book covers for Insel publishers in Leipzig.

1906 – Designs initials for Ashedene Press.

1907 – Moves to Ditchling, Sussex. Here he produces stone sculptures, including for the BBC building in London.

1914 – Produces sculptures for the stations of the cross in Westminster Cathedral in London.

1925–31 – Works for the Golden Cockerell Press (initials, illustrations and an exclusive text type).

1927–30 – Develops Gill Sans.

1928 – Works for London Underground’s administrative headquarters. With his son-in-law he founds his own hand-press which prints luxury bibliophile editions.

1927–30 – Develops Golden Cockerell Roman.

1929 – Develops Solus.

1929–30 – Develops Perpetua.

1930 – Illustrations for the last number of “The Fleuron” magazine.

1930–31 – Develops Joanna.

1932 – Develops Aries.

1932 – Develops Floriated Capitals.

1934 – Develops Jubilee.

1937 – Designs a postage stamp which is in use for 15 years.

1936 – Made a Royal Designer for Industry.

1938 – Produces stone tablets for the League of Nations building in Geneva.

“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.”


Also, and not to overshadow Eric Gill’s achievements, but the man led a very eccentric personal life, that might be interesting to read more about; including his development of three self-sufficient religious communities.

EDIT: Interestingly enough, I just found this article after I published this blog. It looks like Monotype has revamped and remastered Eric Gill’s Gill Sans and Joanna for the 21st-century.

Additional Resources and Information:






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