I’ve long been a fan of the Eric Gill’s designs.* I worked at a company for a few years were Gill Sans was one of the typefaces in the corporate identity. And I later designed an annual report entirely in Joanna. His book, An Essay on Typography, is an interesting look at typography during the industrial revolution and is a great read if you are interested in historical models for typesetting.
Monotype has released new, expanded versions of Gill’s most well known designs. More weights and versions make these designs better fits for modern identity systems.
Gill Sans Nova adds a number of weights and widths without losing the charm of Gill Sans. And it keeps the wackiness of the heavier weights – which I think is a good thing despite the fact that I still hate the lower case, ultra bold i. New alternate characters are a great addition and display versions add inline, shadow and deco versions that look sharp and playful.
But Joanna Nova gets the most attention and is the most impressive part of this release.** Previously limited to three weights — light, roman and bold, Joanna now boasts 10 weights. The italic versions are beautiful, too. And add to that a new sans serif — Joanna Sans — to serve as a companion.
With all this depth and complexity, I think it’s a matter of time before we start to see Joanna used in new identity systems everywhere. Each of the families is $99 for limited time, or you can spend $199 for the entire Eric Gill Collection.
* I’ve long been a fan of Eric Gill’s designs, but not a fan of Eric Gill himself. We wasn’t a good man at all.
** I might be biased. Joanna has always been one of my favorite fonts and most people don’t know about it. Joanna has always been my favorite "best typeface you've never heard of" recommendation to young designers.