I’m trying to choose a font for this blog. It’s turning into quite a can of worms. How many times have I unthinkingly chosen a Gill font for whatever I’m trying to write? Without even understanding what travesties I was committing by endorsing the man? I was just clicking along the ribbon and scrolling down through dozens of names in the font menu until I got to one I recognised. Today I know better.
Often I use a sans serif font while feeling a little self-satisfied for choosing the achingly hip style that every magazine journalist in the western work was in love with by the late nineties.
Arbiters of style?
Serifs are the small lines added to the end of a larger line in a letter or stroke. They were also arbiters of style in 1990s journalism; a fondness for sans serif fonts marked you out as part of the hip younger generation who were coming of age at a time of new hope, of dreams that were becoming real.
Their angular lines and straightness were to their time what bearded hipsters are today, a signal of allegiance, of belonging to a chosen tribe, a certain way of deracinated thinking, affirmed by the apotheosis of Tony Blair – surely a sans serif man to the core of his very being.
Hurt his own family
Am feeling differently about Eric Gill and his fonts, now I’ve discovered more about him after scrolling through a few different pages about him and his eponymous font.
Not a nice person, this Gill character.
And, ultimately, I don’t think you can separate the sculptor and iconic typeface maker from the guy who abused and hurt his own family, did so with the kind of amoral malice that lingered like the stain on an adored linen shirt you bought knowing you couldn’t really afford it, then knew you’d have to throw out.
It’s Times New Roman all the way for me now, serif or no serif.