Johnston & Gill: Very British Types

We had a wonderful time with Mark Ovenden at Leicester Print Workshop on Tuesday evening. Despite the rain it was well-attended and Mark gave a highly-detailed talk about the genesis and evolution of both Johnston and Gill Sans.

In fact, Mark packed more than a century’s worth of seminal British typo-history into a hundred minutes of illustrated exposition without skipping a beat!

Mark’s book Johnston & Gill: Very British Types is well-researched (including the article at typotheque), and amply illustrated, but there was a wealth of material in the talk that I hadn’t noticed in the book.

The audience graciously gave their consent to be filmed for the event, and were rewarded with book signings, goody bags and limited edition posters. As photographer David Weight remarked, these were good subjects in an ideal setting – everyone was great to work with.

Big thanks to Serena, Lucy, Katharine, Grace, Theo, Peter, Sarah and everone at LPW. Our thanks also to Tony, Kezia, and the DMU Cultural EXchanges Festival organisation.

The question I wanted to ask the audience (but didn’t) is a simple one and it’s this;
if Cultural EXchanges is a festival of ideas, and the original idea for both Johnston and Gill Sans was a relentless and optimistic British modernism, what is the prevalent idea in contemporary (post-brexit) British visual culture?

If you missed out on this event and want to see more of the same, drop us a line and watch this space…



The other thing that made me happy was the response to our limited edition Very British Types A2 poster, which looks like this;

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