Page 17 - January 2015
P. 17

WHATEVER HAPPENED...                                                                        TO GILL SANS ?

   N A FEW YEARS you may well be asking       to 72 point size. Perhaps only Gloucester
    yourself this very question. Already the  (Cheltenham) first produced fifty years
    professional printer has turned his/her   ago in America comes near.
back on this wonderful typeface, dazzled
by the publicity given to a continental       DECLINE & FALL
didot-sized face. Fortunately the amateur     By the late 1950's, advertising agents
(and myself in particular) can say "to heck   were clamoring for fresh faces. Paper was
with fashion, I'll use the type I like."      no longer rationed and type was being
                                              imported from abroad. The problem was
DEBUT                                         answered by reviving Grotesque (215) and
When Gill Sans made it's debut at the         it's bold (216), unfortunately there was
Federation of Master Printers' Conference     only one trade-setter in London who held
in 1928, many people were shocked at          the matrices, but soon everyone started
the severe lines of the new face, but very    to 'get into the act.'
soon they were asking the Monotype
Corporation to extend the range. The          Can it be revived? I believe it can. The
original design was a titling (Series 231)    amateur can play his part by using it
and was based on an alphabet used by Eric     until the professional printer tires of his/
Gill on the facia of his friend Claverdon's   her 'new' sans-serif and returns to this
book shop. Lowercase soon followed, then      wonderful face.
all the variants including four shadows. By
1960 there were twenty nine. It would be      One interesting piece of news—Gill Sans
hard to find another face with so much        appears in cyrillic characters ...perhaps
choice for the printer, everything from 5     the Russians will be inventing a new
                                              typeface soon!?

Article from Searchlight No.12 1965. Printed by Eric Mercer at the Underground Press, Lancs. supplied by chirs daniels (5734)

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