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An Essay on Typography / Eric Gill


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An Essay on Typography was first published in 1931, instantly recognized as a classic, and has long been unavailable. British typographer Gill (1882-1940) writes in an opinionated, fustian, and consistently humane fashion. This is Gill's only major work on typography and remains indispensable for anyone interested in the art of letter forms and the presentation of graphic information.

This manifesto, however, is not only about letters—their form, fit, and function—but also about an individual's role in an industrial society. As Gill wrote later, it was his chief object “to describe two worlds—that of industrialism and that of the human workman—and to define their limits.”

His thinking about type is still provocative. Here are the seeds of modern advertising: unjustified lines, tight word and letter spacing, ample leading. Here is Gill, as polemical as he is practical, as much concerned about the soul of man as the work of man; as much obsessed by the ends as by the means.

With a new introduction by Christopher Skelton (1925-1992). Skelton was a printer, typographer and publisher, as well as the nephew of Eric Gill. 

A brilliant book, this still influences modern design with interesting relevance to the web. 

Published by David R. Godine

Fifth edition, 2016

Softcover, 193 pages, 4.6 × 6.6 inches

ISBN: 978-0-87923-950-3