book gill

book gill

book gill: see horseshoe crab.
Gill Sans is a humanist sans-serif typeface designed by Eric Gill in 1927, and released 1928. Gill was a well established sculptor, graphic artist and type designer, and the Gill Sans typeface takes inspiration from Edward Johnston’s Johnston typeface for London Underground, which Gill had worked on while apprenticed to Johnston. Eric Gill attempted to make the ultimate legible sans-serif text face. Gill Sans was designed to function equally well as a text face and for display. It is distributed as a system font in Mac OS X and is bundled with certain versions of Microsoft products as Gill Sans MT.


The uppercase of Gill Sans is modelled on the monumental Roman capitals like those found on the Column of Trajan, and the Caslon and Baskerville typefaces.

The capital M from Gill Sans is based on the proportions of a square with the middle strokes meeting at the centre of that square. The Gill Sans typeface family contains fourteen styles and has less of a mechanical feel than geometric sans-serifs like Futura, because its proportions stemmed from Roman tradition. Unlike realist sans-serif typefaces including Akzidenz Grotesk and Univers the lower case is modelled on the lowercase Carolingian script. The Carolingian influence is noticeable in the two-story lowercase a, and g. The lowercase t is similar to old-style serifs in its proportion and oblique terminus of the vertical stroke. Following the humanist model the lowercase italic a becomes single story. The italic e is highly calligraphic, and the lowercase p has a vestigial calligraphic tail reminiscent of the italics of Caslon and Baskerville. Gill Sans serves as a model for several later humanist sans-serif typefaces including Syntax and FF Scala Sans. An Infant variety of the typeface with single-story versions of the letters a and g also exists.

The basic glyph shapes do not look consistently across font weights and widths, especially in Extra Bold and Ultra Bold weights, and Extra Condensed width. However, even in lighter weights, some letters do not look consistent. For example, in letters p and q, the top strokes of counters do not touch the top of the stems in Light, Bold, Heavy fonts, but touch the top of the stems in Book, Medium fonts.

Gill Sans (Alt fig 1)

It is a variant with hooked 1.

Gill Sans Infant/Schoolbook

It is a variant with alternate design. Changes include hooked 1, open counter 4, single tier a, single counter g, curved l, curved tail y.

Gill Sans Schoolbook is released in TrueType, PostScript Type 1 format. Gill Sans Infant is released in OpenType CFF format, supporting ISO-Adobe 2 character set, super and subscript OpenType features.

Gill Kayo Condensed

It is a condensed version of Gill Sans Ultra Bold (Gill Kayo), designed by Letraset Type Studio.

Gill Sans WGL

It is a version supporting WGL character set. It consists of 12 fonts in light, regular, bold weights, roman and italic, and 2 designs. Only TrueType fonts were produced.

Gill Sans Pro

It is an update to the original family by Monotype. Released in August 2005, it consists of 21 fonts, adding Gill Sans Book, Gill Sans Book Italic, Gill Sans Heavy, Gill Sans Heavy Italic, Gill Sans Display Bold, Gill Sans Display Bold Condensed into the family. It adds support of Eastern European characters and the hooked 1 from Gill Sans (Alt fig 1), but not Greek and Cyrillic from the PostScript and WGL fonts.

Arabic version

Gill Arabic started as a project while Pascal Zoghbi was working with Gill Sans in the Letter Press workshop at The Royal Academy of Arts (KABK). It is designed as Arabic type companion for Gill Sans. The finalized font is expected to have an Arabic name rather than 'Gill Sans Arabic'.

The type is based on the Arabic Naskh style with a modern look that echoes the proportions and feel of Gill Sans.


First unveiled in a single uppercase weight in 1928, Gill Sans achieved national prominence almost immediately, when it was chosen the following year to become the standard typeface for the LNER railway system, soon appearing on every facet of the company's identity, from locomotive nameplates and station signage to restaurant car menus, printed timetables and advertising posters — roles it took on nationwide for British Railways after nationalisation in 1948, until the comprehensive British Rail corporate rebranding in 1965 which used the especially designed Rail Alphabet. Other users were quick to follow, including Penguin Books' iconic paperback jacket designs from 1935, and Gill Sans became Monotype's fifth best selling typeface of the twentieth century.

The typeface continues to thrive to this day, often being held to bring an artistic or cultural sensibility to an organisation's corporate style. Prominent users include the BBC, which adopted the typeface as its corporate typeface in 1997. Until 2006, the corporation used the font in all of its media output; however, the unveiling of its new idents for BBC One and BBC Two has signalled a shift away from its universal use, as other fonts were used for their respective on-screen identities.

Other organisations using Gill Sans include:


  • Carter, Sebastian. Twentieth Century Type Designers, W.W. Norton 1995. ISBN 0-393-70199-9.
  • Johnson, Jaspert & Berry. Encyclopedia of Type Faces. Cassell & Co 2001, ISBN 1-84188-139-2.
  • Ott, Nicolaus, Friedl Fredrich, and Stein Bernard. Typography and Encyclopedic Survey of Type Design and Techniques Throughout History. Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers. 1998, ISBN 1-57912-023-7.


External links

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