Thursday, August 03, 2006

Eric Gill's sex secrets (Or how I learned to stop worrying and love Gill Sans)

I was researching a project recently and stumbled across a beautiful piece by Eric Gill, most famous for the elegant 'Gill Sans' typeface. This reminded me of a documentary I had seen about the house in which he lived towards the end of his life. I seemed also to remember that he had some perverse sexual practices such as incest and bestiality which he announced in his diary as the "experiment with the dog".

All this is an aside... My main aim was researching the concept of perception in visual communication. How the viewer interprets information and consequently how the designer can work around knotty problems. It was from Harry Beck's famous tube map that I made the leap over to Gill. Both Gill and Beck designed typefaces & graphics in the early part of the 20th Century which we still lust after! Their designs illustrate how to portray information in a clear and beautiful way.

Something we designers should still strive for.

But Mr Gill.... step away from the dog.

1 comment:

* said...

Naughty old Eric! Its important to remember the context for his oddness, a post Edwardian thing and maybe a foil to that peculiar English two faced priggishness and hypocrisy of his time. I prefer to see him as a warped genius but a genius none the less perhaps the last true craftsman purist in English type design? And holy cow...could he draw or what!!!