Designer style

Eric Gill, photographed by Howard Coster, Penrose Annual, 1937.


  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,102
    That’s what interests me.
    Monotype made over his eponymous typeface in 2015, and it’s still extremely popular (see MyFonts bestseller screen grab here). 
    This is the man behind the typeface, and the controversy—which I suspect many in the room are not familiar with.

  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,358
    @Nick Shinn
    That's still not enough context for why you posted this. If you're going treat everyone to a portrait of a heinous creep, you've got to have a plausible reason. If I post a picture of Bill Cosby wearing a cute sweater, I'm gonna have accompanying text to back it up. Otherwise, it comes off as "look at this disgraceful monster's snappy outfit".
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,102
    edited December 2021
    I think this picture speaks for itself.
    There is too much tech talk at Typedrawers, and not enough images, IMO.
    So, no comment necessary.

    But as you asked for context:

    It’s the best photo I’ve come across of Gill. 
    The smock and the hat say a lot about his philosophy of work.
    The cigarette holder, in the mouth, emphasizes the informal nature of the shot, as does the fact that he’s not looking at the camera, so it doesn’t give the impression of being posed.
    I’m not sure what he’s holding, perhaps some tools of the trade.
    A few days ago, I was looking through Myfonts best sellers, as I do occasionally, and was surprised to see Gill Sans there. Then yesterday I was looking through an old Penrose and came across this character study, which I thought was remarkable enough to share. 
    He does look creepy, but I’m not sure whether that’s because of what I know about his personal life, or because of the frown, the cigarette holder and the weird attire.
  • Simon CozensSimon Cozens Posts: 710
    edited December 2021
    Since, for whatever strange reason, we're doing this: the smock and the hat aren't philosophical choices but practical ones. For someone who primarily worked as a stonecutter and a sculptor, they were workwear, the blue overalls and steel toe-capped boots of the day. Most stonecutters I know these days just wear their ordinary clothes, but those more on the sculpture end (especially when heavy machinery is involved) might go for the blue overalls and hard hats. Maybe dust in the hair isn't as much a worry now as it used to be. 
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,102
    Was the hat a sculptor thing too? I thought it was primarily a print trade thing.
  • Paul van der LaanPaul van der Laan Posts: 241
    edited December 2021
    and it’s still extremely popular (see MyFonts bestseller screen grab here).
    I don’t doubt that the typeface is still popular, but you know the MyFonts bestseller list is rigged, right?
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,102
    As I understand, it’s not based solely on the number of sales, but also on the dollar value. 
  • What are you wanting to discuss here, @Nick Shinn — Monotype's business practices, sexual abuse, or funny designer attire from a century ago? For either one, picking a different picture might make sense.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,102
    edited December 2021
    Well, I thought it was an interesting piece of myth-making, and that’s why I mentioned “style” in the title, and it touches on issues relevant today, but I won’t pursue the point further, it’s clearly too hot to handle. Thanks for setting me straight, Dan.
  • k.l.k.l. Posts: 95
    (Nick did not celebrate Gill Sans’s alleged best seller status. He noticed and reported it. Even uttered his surprise about it.)
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,457
    I used to like Gill Sans many years ago before I found out about the "man". It now makes me ill. I cannot separate his face from his face. His attire reminds me more of a Bishops cloak {even though I know better) and makes it even less agreeable.
  • and it’s still extremely popular (see MyFonts bestseller screen grab here).
    I don’t doubt that the typeface is still popular, but you know the MyFonts bestseller list is rigged, right?
    I didn't know that. How so?

  • The man raping his daughters is bad enough, but he also raped his dog
  • Eris AlarEris Alar Posts: 409
    edited December 2021
    I’m equally confused as to the point of this thread. Context matters, so having text with the image would seem to me to be always important, and we cannot assume everyone knows everything. 

    Personally I can’t see how the OP is helpful. As already mentioned, there are better ways to raise topics for discussion without posting a photo of a problematic figure, especially without flagging his name in the title. 
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,102
    edited December 2021
    It was a remarkable image that I came across, which intrigued and disturbed me.
    Topical, in respect of “cancel culture”, celebrity, and self-promotion.

    As I mentioned, I was getting fed up with all the tech talk at Typedrawers, so decided to post a picture. I titled it with reference to the man’s style, punning on clothing and typeface style. As the French say, “Le style, c’est l’homme”. 

    I don’t know how I expected people to respond, but it was educational—clearly there is a “line in the sand” between the acceptability of this man and his work, that I crossed.

    Some accomplished people advance their career with self-promotion, “artist as brand”—Alfred Hitchcock comes to mind, slightly younger than Gill, but also during the ’20s and ’30s. Type designer and film director as auteur.

    I like the anonymity of type design—people use the fonts because they are appropriate tools, not because of who the designer is. And yet, the personality of type designers does come into play, especially in the metaculture of the trade. 
  • Marc OxborrowMarc Oxborrow Posts: 219
    edited December 2021
    Nick, if you're looking for examples of "type designer as brand," more recent examples like Erik Spiekermann and Roger Black come to mind. (Spiekermann more so than Black, but the latter did commission and art direct custom type for a number of publications.)  They were partnering with Adobe as early as the late '80s, appearing in articles for Font & Function (Adobe's magazine) and lending their names to curated font collections.

  • My style vote for living folks:

    Best Living Font Designer Style award goes for Dan!
    (this picture does not does justice.. his style always shine, just look at the conference video) Dan you need a better photo man!!! 

    Adam from fontlab (sorry pal your last name is too complicated to write) and Lucas de groot both share the second place!

    3er place awarded to the magic shitrs people. shared by
    Thomas phinney and Dalton maag

    Too bad we don't collect outfit photos of atypi assistants!

  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,355
    Georg is the best dancer
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,641
    Glad other people also like my shirts! The most interesting ones were all made by my wife Veronica, with fabrics and buttons purchased specifically for each project.
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