Eric Gill - Gill Sans

A short questionnaire regarding the typeface Gill Sans designed Eric Gill.

  1. Do you work in the creative industries?

  2. Could you identify the typeface using this image?

  3. Can you identify some examples of where Gill Sans has been used?

  4. Gill Sans was designed to compete with Futura. Depending on the application required, what typeface would you be more inclined to use?

  5. Using the article attached, explaining in more depth Eric Gill’s personal reputation, can you separate the artist from the abuser?

Is this part of a school assignment? Someone posted much the same thing on the old forum about a month ago, but linked to a quiz instead.


  1. Yes
  2. Yes
  3. Yes. Looking over at my bookcase, I can see at least three books with Gill Sans on their spines — one of them is Eric Gill’s Essay on Typography. More broadly, it’s difficult to go much of anywhere in Great Britain without seeing it somewhere. For example, most all the old British Railways signs are set in Gill Sans. Here in the U.S., it’s less common, but still used quite often.
  4. I’d use Futura. I’ve never really liked the lowercase of Gill Sans, and the extra bold and ultra weights don’t even look like they belong to the rest of the family.
  5. Eric Gill’s seriously creepy personal shortcomings have no bearing on my less-than-enthusiastic views of his typefaces, sculptures and prints. I’ve never viewed him so much as an artist as I have a craftsman from another era whose work I’ve never cared for.

Someone posted this exact same thing with a link on a survey not too long ago and it was posted more recently with the questions posted. I think who ever is teaching this particular section is directing folks here :wink:

So bottom line is yes I know all about Eric Gill. A weirdo at best (IMHO). I know the font, I’ve seen the font, I’ve used the font. I will most likely use it again :slight_smile:

Is there a one course crusade to promote a concerted student movement to have Gills typefaces (and his art) expunged from the world?

If you read that article, it gives plenty of pros and cons. Why don’t you tell us your opinion?

1 Like

I love Gill Sans and I know about Eric Gill’s private life. If Eric Gill was around today he would quite rightly be locked up for his crimes, but that won’t stop me from using the font.

Its a slippery slope. You have to separate the artist from their work. Appreciation of the art does not and should not depend on your opinion of the artist.

Would you ban the work of Caravaggio (murder)? Banksy (graffiti)? Oscar Wilde (Homosexuality was a crime then)? Picasso (sex with a minor)? Jerry Lee Lewis (ditto)? There are plenty of examples.
How about people who aren’t actually criminals, but have destructive personalities like Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Brendan Behan ? What about some of the rock stars around in the last 30 years? What about people you just don’t like? What about people the State doesn’t like? The Soviets and the Nazis banned (and worse) artists who they considered degenerate or disloyal. Is that where this must end?

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