Gill Sans is a sans serif typeface designed by the British typeface-creator Eric Gill in 1926 and released in 1928.

Originally Eric Gill was a sculptor. His work can be seen in many locations in England, among others on the BBC building in London. The BBC also uses Gill Sans in its logo.
Gill found influence from another British typeface creator, Edward Johnston. Gill Sans is based on Johnston’s font “Underground Alphabet,” which is the corporate font of the London Underground and can be seen on tube-stations all over London.

If Johnson was the “tube-font-man,” Eric Gill soon became the “train-font-man” as British Railways chose Gill Sans for its font, using it on posters, timetables, marketing materials, and trains. Old locomotives with their number set in Gill Sans on the front features in many TV-series and movies. Most famously perhaps is the 5972; notably cast as the “Hogwarts Express” in the Harry Potter movies.
Gill Sans has an unmistakable flavor of “old Britain.” The popular and long-running BBC TV-series “FOYLES WAR,” which eminently and in meticulous historical detail portraits Britain during WW2, uses Gill in its logo and intro. This logo is guarded by all sorts of strict copyrights so I dare not even take a screenshot from the series to show you. However, having Gill Sans installed on my mac, no one can stop me from setting the words myself in InDesign – alongside a box of DVDs lent by my son Arild; breaking no copyright.
Having some knowledge of the origin and history of a font is very useful.

If you absolutely do NOT want any association with Britain in your marketing, –don’t use Gill Sans.

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Sans-erely Yours,

Image credits:

Eric Gill: Sculpture for Broadcasting House, London

5972 Locomotive:
By David Moyle - Own Work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

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