Having done the preliminary research for Gill Sans, I need to evaluate which aspecst of this grab my attention for my type specimen book.
The fact that the font is extensively used throughout England was the first point that leapt out at me “Helvetica of England,”. I could see using this idea for my book.
Gill Sans is the Helvetica of England; ubiquitous, utilitarian and yet also quite specific in its ability to point to our notions of time and place. As a graphic designer’s in-joke once put it ‘Q. How do you do British post-war design? A. Set it in Gill Sans and print it in British Racing Green’. As the preferred typeface of British establishments (the Railways, the Church, the BBC and Penguin Books), Gill Sans is part of the British visual heritage just like the Union Jack and the safety pin.
Was used alot in:
Church of England
Another initial thought was to play on the fact that Gill Sans is a true hybrid, carrying characteristic of both serif and san serif fonts.
Characteristics of Gill Sans are unique to the artist himself. Containing hard-sculpted forms, this is also a likely representation of Gill carrying his artistic sculpting knowledge and applying that basis to the creation of this typeface. There is also a pronounced contrast in the strokes. This would also be another avenue to take.
The characters are hard, sculptured forms which clearly show Gill’s education and artistic roots. There’s the legibility of a serif face, balanced with the authority of a sans-serif.
If there’s one thing about Gill Sans that puts me off is the lower case ‘a’. Just look at it. Top heavy, unbalanced and well, just weird looking.
The uppercase of Gill Sans is modelled on the monumental Roman capitals like those found on the Column of Trajan.