Archive for September 2008

Eric Gill-Typographer

September 20, 2008

Today, for you history buffs, I have an article on Eric Gill. He was a designer of type in the early 1900’s. I’m sure some of you have heard of a font called “Gill sans”. Anyway, on with the article.

Eric Gill was born February 22, 1882 in Brighton, England. At an early age he attended art school in Chinchester. When he was seventeen, he started an apprenticeship with an architect by the name of W. H. Caroe. Gill also attended lettering classes taught by Edward Johnston. In 1903 Gill became a self-employed craftsman. He sculpted, carved stone lettering, made signs, and designed and engraved lettering on boxwood.

In 1906 Gill married and moved to Hupkins Crank, which was a house in an artists community in Sussex. While living here he started sculpting. Mother and Child was his first success at sculpting in 1912. In 1914 he became famous for his sculpting projects in Portland Place and Westminster Cathedral. Gill was also a master wood engraver and woodcut printer. He used these talents to design illustrations for books.

Many of Gills religious works can be attributed to his converting to Catholicism and being the head of a religious commune of artists. Gill also had an interest in writing. His topics for writing ranged from art, sex, and religion. Many of his carvings relate to religious themes and erotica.

Gill had no desire to design type until Stanley Morison persuaded him to do so. He had no training in type design, but he was a superb lettering artist. In 1924 Gill moved to Whales and set up a lettering shop.

The first typeface Gill designed was called Perpetua. He did the lettering for the font design but refused to do the type design for machine production. This design process took five years to complete. He has designed other typefaces such as Gill Sans, which was based on a lettering design by Edward Johnston for the London Underground. Gill Cameo, Golden Cockerel Roman, and Hague & Gill are other fonts Eric Gill designed.

In 1928 he moved to Pigotts in Buckinghamshire where he setup a printing press with an apprentice, David Kindersley, who was later successful at sculpting and engraving. Other sculptures Gill is famous for include Prospero & Ariel, and The Creation of Adam.

Some unique features of the Gill Sans typeface include the vertex of the upper case “M” doesn’t touch the baseline, the lower case “a” has a tail, and the upper case “R” has a taper to its tail. It is a very distinctive and legible typeface that received rave reviews when it was introduced in England.

Gill is remembered by people in the typography field for combining his discipline as an engraver with his graceful lines as a master-lettering artist. He designed his own headstone on which he described himself as a stone carver. Gill died November 17, 1940.

For further information on Eric Gill visit the following site:


What File Format Should I Use?

September 10, 2008

How often have you heard someone mention a .tif or .jpeg and wonder what they were talking about? Have you spoken with a designer and wondered why they saved files in a certain format? Well, it all depends on what you are going to do with the image. So that you are not left in the dark any longer I have listed the most common file formats used for web and graphic design.

TIF – (.tif, .tiff, Tagged Image File Format) Good for scanned or bitmap file images. Is a raster file which can not be enlarged without getting jagged edges. Can be saved in either RGB or CMYK color models. Can be saved at any resolution. Perfect for Word docs when used at 150 dpi in the RGB color model.

JPEG – (.jpeg, .jpg) Good for photographs and images with gradients. Commonly used on the web. Can be saved in either RGB (72 dpi) or CMYK (300+ dpi) color models. Does not support transparency. Is a raster image meaning it can not be enlarged without getting jagged edges.

PSD – (.psd, native Photoshop file) Supports RGB, CMYK, and a few other color models. Files can not be opened unless you have Photoshop. Used by web designers and graphic designers.

EPS – (.eps, Encapsulated PostScript) CMYK color model. Based on vector or object oriented information. Can be resized without getting jagged edges. Can not be opened without having the proper software. Perfect for logos.

AI – (.ai, native Adobe Illustrator file format) Vector based images, can be resized without getting jagged edges. Perfect for logos. Can not be opened without the Illustrator software.

GIF – (.gif, Graphics Interchange Format) Good for solid color images such as logos. Good for multimedia and web page design, 72 dpi. Supports transparency. Can be animated. Is also a raster image, so it gets jagged edges when enlarged.

PNG – (.png, Portable Network Graphics) Similar to GIF file format. Good for web images, 72 dpi. Resizes better than a GIF file. Supports transparency. Not all browsers support this file format.

PDF – (.pdf, Portable Document Format) Can contain both raster and vector images. Text and images are imbedded. Most everyone has Adobe Reader to view the document.

In conclusion, depending on what you are doing with an image, there is a proper file format to use. I hope this article has shed some light on the types of files used by designers. There are other file types but these are the main ones.

Unusual Art Medium

September 2, 2008
A friend sent me an email with this fantastic artwork. I wanted to share it with you. It is really awsome! Check it out!
Typewriter Art

Paul Smith, the man with extraordinary talent was born in Philadelphia on September 21, 1921 with severe cerebral palsy. Not only had Paul beaten the odds of a life with spastic cerebral palsy, a disability that impeded his speech & mobility but also taught himself to become a master artist as well as a terrific chess player even after being devoid of a formal education as a child. “When typing, Paul used his left hand to steady his right one. Since he couldn’t press two keys at the same time, he almost always locked the shift key down and made his pictures using the symbols at the top of the number keys. In other words, his pictures were based on these characters …. @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) _ .

Across seven decades, Paul created hundreds of pictures. He often gave the originals away. Sometimes, but not always, he kept or received a copy for his own records. As his mastery of the typewriter grew, he developed techniques to create shadings, colors, and textures that made his work resemble pencil or charcoal drawings.” This great man passed away on June 25, 2007, but left behind a collection of his amazing artwork that will be an inspiration for many.