Essay for Grafik Magazine: Gill Sans "g"

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    The 1933 drawing for Eric Gill's infamous lowercase 'g' in Gill Sans is my favorite letter. When I was learning how to draw letterforms, I would use grids when developing my typefaces. Being a young designer, I often would run into issues and doubted if my method was sound. When I first saw this drawing, everything seemed to fall into place and I had proof that someone else used grids to draw letters. I still use grids when I draw letterforms and I teach others the same way. The actual "g" in Gill Sans does not look like this and I wonder when it was changed and why.

    Gill is quoted saying, "A pair of spectacles is rather like a g; I will make a g rather like a pair of spectacles." I never quite made this correlation but there is something amazing about the oval resting under the circle. The geometric balance is perfect and the center of the oval is the same center-point as the circle. It almost feels like a bird going into a nest. I have paid homage to this letter when creating my g for Pakt and it is important for me to have a unique g in every typeface I draw because of this letter.

    Kelvin Owers, maskintape, m.lassiter, and 54 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. Chiba Chiba [deleted] 69 months ago | reply

      It ain't nothing but a 'g' thang! :)

    2. Stebbi 69 months ago | reply

      Yes! Gill's g is one of the best engineered shapes in graphic design. Thank you for posting!

    3. mikeyashworth 69 months ago | reply

      Fascinating that the above link is to Gill's sans lettering as used by the LNER (London & North Eastern Railway) - which it used right up until nationalisation in 1947

      and then was picked up by the new British Railways as its typeface

    4. me2flickr [deleted] 69 months ago | reply

      Gill Sans “g”. by 이흥섭

    5. Kaihsu 56 months ago | reply

      Eric Gill was speaking against making g looking like a pair of spectacles in that quote from his book An Essay on Typography (1936): “Figure 3 (1–8) shows the evolution of the lower-case g from the Roman original. 9–11 are comic modern varieties having more relation to pairs of spectacles than to lettering – as though the designer had said: A pair of spectacles is rather like a g; I will make a g rather like a pair of spectacles.”

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