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Gill Sans

examples of gill sans

examples of Gill Sans, an English institution, from Designer magazine

Ben Archer has an interesting article in Singapore’s Designer magazine Typotheque which he compares Eric Gill’s Gill Sans to its predecessor, the typeface designed for the London Underground by Eric Johnston. “To pick an argument with something that is akin to a typographic national monument might appear unwise; it is so very much ‘ours.'” he writes. “But it is a flawed masterpiece. How flawed? Well, monumentally flawed, in fact.”

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2 Comments

  1. Jonas

    Fascinating article, and he makes good points about Gill Sans suffering from a lack of legibility on certain letterforms. But it may be misguided to approach it from the viewpoint that Gill Sans–or Underground, or any other typeface–could really ever be “perfect.”
    Anything designed to be perfect or universal rarely attains it (typefaces, taxonomies). But it’s all good. To me, that lack of perfection is all part of Gill Sans’ charm–and maybe even a large part of its Britishness.

  2. > that lack of perfection is all part of Gill Sans’ charm–and maybe even a large part of its Britishness

    You might be right, Jonas. Your comment might also be said of Caslon, another face that is somehow more than the sum of its parts, and also seems distinctly British.

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