The 100 best typefaces

Until very recently I had forgotten about Fontshops 100 best typefaces of all time but a current (and highly limited) undergraduate brief for a historical typography poster required some reference pointers for a select group (Times Roman, Helvetica, Baskerville, Avenir and Gill Sans).

When I checked the entry for Gill Sans I was surprised to find myself there;
Gill sans opinion at 100typesIncidentally, the caption for the three lowercase a is not quite correct; the middle variant was released and can be seen on Monotype specimen sheets from the early ’30s.

Monotype themselves released Gill Sans Nova as a long-awaited update in November 2015 with an exhibition in London’s Brick Lane at the Truman Brewery. This ‘new’ Gill Sans includes Cyrillic and Greek characters in the Opentype format, as well as many accented characters, extra sorts and roman numerals.

Gill-Ex-2

Gill-Ex-1

Gill-Ex-3

This aside, there cannot be any improvement in the character shapes themselves (although someone had a go at the numeral 2 and added a head serif to the numeral 1 as an optional alternative character). There is also the addition of a very useful new weight at semibold.

Although the issue of the missing stem terminals (‘crotches’ according to Gill) on lowercase b,d, p and q was never resolved, and is noticeably absent from Gill Sans Nova, Monotype at least have the thoroughness of mind to display the archive material that relates to this;