The Eric Gill series exhibition

Posted on November 20, 2015 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

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It is rare to visit an exhibition dedicated to typography, even in London.

Therefore, an exhibition on the development of the Gill Sans typeface by British artist/ sculptor/ type designer/ printmaker Eric Gill proved to be popular among graphic designers and typography lovers.

Gill designed the hugely popular Gill Sans sans-serif typeface between 1927-30 for Monotype, one of the world’s best-known providers of type-related products, technologies and expertise. This timeless typeface is still being used widely today, from BBC to Benetton and our website! I chose this over other popular typefaces because it is inviting, legible, and most importantly, it is quintessentially British (which is why it is called the 'Helvetica' of England)!


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At the exhibition, rarely seen materials including Gill's hand-drawings from the Monotype Archive and private collections were presented for the first time. There were test prints for display fonts that were never digitized, and copper plates revealing the production process of early letterpress typefaces.

The exhibition also celebrates the launch of The Eric Gill Series, a collection of 77 fonts in three families: Gill Sans® Nova, Joanna® Nova and Joanna Sans Nova. Derived from the original work of Gill, these are contemporary digital typefaces – with a wide range of weights, alternate characters and extended language support – that pay homage to Gill’s original designs.


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Contemporary usage of Gill Sans - promotional materials for British fashion label Margaret Howell


On the last day of the exhibition, I also attended the Type Tuesday talk where Dan Rhatigan, David Hitner and James Mosley presented three different yet complementary aspects of Gill’s design legacy. It was fascinating to hear from researchers and designers who are passionate about typography. I often feel that typography has been sidelined in our image-driven world, so it is about time that we pay more respect to this art form that is ubiquitous and influential in our everyday lives.


This post was posted in London, Exhibitions, British design, Talks, Graphics & illustrations, Design, Typography and was tagged with London, art and design exhibitions, graphic design, typography, Gill sans