Gill Sans was designed by Eric Gill in 1928. The type is known as a humanist sans serif typeface. Characteristics include its small x-height compared to similar typefaces and the geometry of circular forms.
Humanist typefaces first appeared in the 19th century. They describe typefaces that are simple and clean yet not geometric. Gill sans was one of the most popular humanist typefaces, so much that it was called ‘the Helvetica of England’ due to it’s high use in Britain.
The design was based on Johnston, the typeface that was the London Underground. Gill wanted to create a typeface that was foolproof compared to Johnston. He did exactly that. Gill Sans is now the typeface of Penguin book jackets, Tommy Hilfger and the London Underground as well as many other iconic brands around the world.