Paperback review: An Essay on Typography, By Eric Gill


Even if the sexual activity of Gill was not widely known in 1931 when this classic work was first published, his repeated references to “love-making” might have suggested that his interests were not purely typographical. On the latter subject, he is authoritative: “Lettering is for us the Roman alphabet.”

If his complaint about the “whirl of eccentricity [in] modern advertising” is slightly undermined by the continuing popularity of Thirties art deco, his view that “printed lettering has now… got completely out of hand and gone mad” is confirmed on every side in the digital age.