Eric Gill Essay On Typography

 

Book Title:
An Essay on Typography

ISBN-13:
978-0-141-39356-8

Author:
Eric Gill

Publisher:
Penguin Modern Classics

Guideline Price:
Sterling7.99

If you are reading this in the physical newspaper, you are reading lines of the Expresso typeface, of equal length but with unequal spacing between words. There is a compromise between elegance and economy. Eric Gill might or might not have approved. Gill was a sculptor and a typeface designer of such typefaces as the enduring Gill Sans and the elegant Joanna face that he used in the book. In this treatise, first published in 1931, he describes in detail the artistry of the typographer – on one page he shows 29 examples of the letter “A”. But the essay is primarily a rant about the mechanisation of society, a process leaving the craftsman (printer, bookbinder or typographical designer) in danger of losing his “holy” craft and becoming a mere machine minder. Idiosyncratic and cranky, Gill’s thinking on the subject paves the way for works, such as the excellent recent Helvetica documentary, that open our eyes to the role of typography in how we read and how we see.

Born in 1882, Gill was an artist, letter carver, gadfly, polemicist, and social reformer. In 1925, he had started drawing alphabets and printing books, and in 1931, this plainspoken little book was a fustian and forceful argu- ment for common sense in design, composed for anyone remotely interested in the subtle and evolving challenge of the typographic arts. Set rag rightBorn in 1882, Gill was an artist, letter carver, gadfly, polemicist, and social reformer. In 1925, he had started drawing alphabets and printing books, and in 1931, this plainspoken little book was a fustian and forceful argu- ment for common sense in design, composed for anyone remotely interested in the subtle and evolving challenge of the typographic arts. Set rag right, with tight word spacing, it is a model of composition. The text, like most of Gill's, is exasperating, exorbitant, and exciting. But Gill was, above all, a craftsman, whose work always reflected his philoso- phy and whose hand always followed his moral convictions....more

Paperback, 133 pages

Published September 8th 2015 by David R. Godine Publisher (first published 1931)

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