Monotype's Eric Gill typeface designed using unseen drawings
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Monotype designs Eric Gill typeface using previously unpublished drawings

Type foundry Monotype has used long-hidden drawings by British designer Eric Gill to create the first new typeface based on his work in more than 75 years.

Eric Gill typeface series by Terrance Weinzierl
Joanna Nova typeface is based on the Eric Gill Joanna and has 18 styles

The Joanna Sans Nova design is part of the Eric Gill Series – a trio of releases that also includes updated editions of typefaces from the 1920s and 1930s. Joanna Sans Nova was created as a sans serif complement for Gill's slab serif typeface Joanna.

Designer Terrance Weinzierl used previously unpublished drawings, penned by Gill and stored in the company's archive, to create a design that would stay true to the British designer's intentions.

Eric Gill typeface series by Terrance Weinzierl
Gill Sans Nova typeface includes 43 fonts and is one of the three developed for the Eric Gill series

"I wanted my design to appear familiar but still look fresh," said Weinzierl. "My goal was to achieve a balance of simplicity, beauty, and usability. I've always been a fan of Gill's work, and I found the simple, humanist qualities of Joanna really fitting for a sans design."

It's the first release from the type house based on its library of heritage material, which includes original drawings for typefaces, unpublished designs, and copper patterns used in initial production.

Eric Gill typeface series by Terrance Weinzierl
The Joanna Sans Nova design is part of the a trio of releases that includes updated editions of typefaces from the 1920s and 1930s

"Some people care greatly for the past 100 years, while others prefer to know what's happening in the next 100," Monotype creative director James Fooks-Bale told Dezeen.

"The Eric Gill Series is what I'd like to refer to as a living narrative, not static and we're a small part in its evolution since the 1920s," he added.

Eric Gill typeface series by Terrance Weinzierl
Designer Terrance Weinzierl used previously unpublished drawings by Eric Gill to develop a new typeface

The series' other two releases, Gill Sans Nova and Joanna Nova, are expanded and updated versions of the artist's celebrated 1920s and 30s designs Gill Sans and Joanna. Both typefaces have been given additional language support, weights and characters.

Eric Gill, who died in 1940, is perhaps best known for his Gill Sans design, prominently used by British Railways and Penguin Books.

Eric Gill typeface series by Terrance Weinzierl
Gills Sans Nova comes in a range of weights for roman, italic and condensed with alternate characters

It first appeared as letters painted by the designer over a Bristol bookshop, before he was commissioned by Monotype to develop it into a full typeface.

To celebrate the release of all three typefaces, Monotype is hosting a exhibition at London's Truman Brewery from 4 to 10 November 2015.

Eric Gill typeface series by Terrance Weinzierl
Greek and Cyrillic are the accompanying italic for the Joanna Sans Nova

The show brings together Gill-related drawings and test prints from the company's archive, as well as historic materials from the Letterform Archive, Ditchling Museum and Penguin Books. Visitors can also "set" giant letters on a magnetic wall.

Monotype has partnered with local brewery Five Points to produce Sans Light and Ultra Bold craft beers, with label designs featuring the typefaces.