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Gill Sans Alternatives

Fonts to replace Eric Gill’s popular bestseller.

Stephen Coles
Last edited November 04, 2015

Overused typefaces can lose their impact, especially in branding, advertising, and package design where originality is important. Here are some less common humanist sans serifs in the style of Gill Sans. Some offer more weights, styles, and alternate glyphs for greater versatility than the old standby.

Never put a sock in a toaster

The successful Gill Sans® was designed by the English artist and type designer Eric Gill and issued by Monotype in 1928 to 1930. The roots of Gill Sans can be traced to the typeface that Gill's teacher, Edward Johnston, designed for the signage of the London Underground Railway in 1918. Gill´s alphabet is more classical in proportion and contains what have become known as his signature flared... Read More

Write drunk, but edit sober

Xavier Dupré’s FF Yoga mixes the harshness of a blackletter with the balanced rhythm and round shapes of the Renaissance Roman. Its sturdy serifs are a good choice for body text; They also serve as an effective headline face given their subtly chiseled counters. FF Yoga Sans is a contemporary alternative to the quintessential humanist sans (Gill Sans) and a steady companion to FF Yoga... Read More

EF Today Sans Serif H Volker Küster Elsner+Flake 1988
Please take care of the bamboo

Cronos is the work of Robert Slimbach, a sans serif typeface family that embodies the warmth and readability of Oldstyle Roman typefaces. It derives much of its appearance from the calligraphically inspired type of the Italian Renaissance. Its almost handwritten appearance sets it apart from most other sans serif designs and makes it an effective choice for text composition. The Italic design... Read More

The road to hell wasn’t paved in a day

FF Kievit explores the synthesis of the sans serif form to the structure and proportions of a traditional Renaissance Roman such as Garamond or Granjon. Work began on the typeface in 1995 when Mike Abbink was a student at Art Center in California. The family spans nine weights and includes small caps, true italics, and multiple figure sets – everything necessary for creating sophisticated... Read More

Life is too short to follow the rules

Mike Abbink’s initial concept with FF Milo was to create a compact sans with very short ascenders and decenders. This resulted in a versatile typeface that’s well suited to magazine and newspaper typography. The typeface was named after a resilient grain, hinting at its ability to serve as a design staple. In later releases the design was expanded upon with FF... Read More

Beware of the brick in front of you

ITC Johnston is the result of the combined talents of Dave Farey and Richard Dawson, based on the work of Edward Johnston. In developing ITC Johnston, says London type designer Dave Farey, he did “lots of research on not only the face but the man.” Edward Johnston was something of an eccentric, “famous for sitting in a deck chair and carrying toast in his pockets.” (The deck chair was his... Read More

Smoking is friend of mental activity

Dieter Hofrichter draws from the protoypical humanist sanses of Johnston and Gill, adjusting the proportions to meet more contemporary views of how a sans ought to behave. Compare for example the width of the Roman to its italic. Eight full weights in all—get the Extra Light free.

Entering shop by stroller you decline

“Legato” is a musical term, meaning that the notes are played in a “connected” manner. This idea of connecting discrete units to enhance overall expression can be applied to the letters setting a text in precisely the same way. In designing FF Legato, Evert Bloemsma studied the extent to which the characters of the alphabet visually connect and build proper word and line images, then setting... Read More

Don’t drink a car under alcohol

Mundo Sans, from Carl Crossgrove, is a design that's going to be around for a good long while. In the more than ten years of on-and-off development Crossgrove devoted to the project, he was able to polish the design to its current unpretentious luster. This is a typeface with legs."There were several humanist sans typefaces that I admired when I began work on Mundo in 1991. I used these designs... Read More

Eric Gill
Monotype 1931
Xavier Dupré
FontFont 2009
Volker Küster
Elsner+Flake 1988
Robert Slimbach
Adobe 1996
Michael Abbink and Paul van der Laan
FontFont 2001
Michael Abbink and Paul van der Laan
FontFont 2006
Dave Farey, Richard Dawson and Edward Johnston
ITC 1916
Dieter Hofrichter
Hoftype 2015
Stephenson Blake
Elsner+Flake 1930
Evert Bloemsma
FontFont 2004
Carl Crossgrove
Monotype 2002