More Research into the Font and Initial Reactions

As well as my previous Gill Sans Research I have also learnt the following:

  • Gill was born in Brighton, Sussex
  • Trained as an architect in 1900
  • Also studied calligraphy and stonemasonry
  • 1904- Married Ethel Hester Moore
  • First sculpted success was ‘Mother & Child’ in 1912
  • Worked as Edward Johnston’s (Creator of London Underground font) apprentice.
  • Johnston’s font inspired Gill Sans
  • Gill Sans was intended to be the ultimate legible typeface

The intent was: Text  Display

Existing uses of the font:

  • Penguin Books [70th Anniversary]
  • Book Shop (original use)
  • London and North Eastern Railway System
  • Movie Posters (Toy Story, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off etc.)
  • BBC News
  • Saab
  • Websites (eHarmony)
  • Fashion Brands (Tommy Hilfigure, United Colours of Benetton)

Issues with the font:

  • The ‘1’ looks like a uppercase ‘I’ or lowercase ‘L’

“The Helvetica of England”


Initial reactions looking at the above research into Gill Sans is:

  • Books: The font is obviously a good choice for books. It was used by penguin and in a book store. Definitely something in that. (Designing a book-like Specimen Book…?)
  • Explore the idea of perfect balance between Body Text & Headings?
  • My alteration on the font could be improving the character for ‘1’
  • Also, my alteration could look at his studying of calligraphy by incorporating a ‘Swashes’ style into it.
  • I love the quote “The Helvetica of England” and think this would be a good way to explore. Perhaps find some way to incorporate Brighton, Sussex into it?
  • Also look at his stonemasonry, although this isn’t a big thing in Gill’s life story.

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