We are very pleased to report that the production of the 8-font Gibson typeface family was completed by Canada Type in February and the full family is now ready to be offered to design students.
The fonts are OpenType format with character support for all Eastern European languages. GDC members will be pleased to know that the Design Currency symbol (D=) is also included in each font. This is the first time the D= glyph has been incorporated in a typeface family.
For non-designers the fonts have been cross-linked so that in office applications such as Microsoft Word or Excel the semibolds will become the bolds of the light styles. In graphic applications such as Adobe InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop, the font menu will show the name Gibson and the various weights will appear under the family name in the menu.
John Gibson FGDC
The idea behind this project is threefold. First we wanted to create a typeface that would honour John Gibson FGDC, one of the original GDC founders. John is a highly respected typographer who in his long career has worked in many areas of the graphic arts, from book design to advertising. He was also largely responsible for elevating the field of advertising print production (before the PC) to the level of a profession in Canada. At one time the highest award you could receive was the annual John Gibson Print Production award. Although many graphic designers in Canada are not aware of John’s distinguished career in print production it’s equally safe to say most print production people know little of his accomplishments in graphic design, especially his role as one of the founders of the GDC. We are currently preparing an in-depth look at the life and work of John and hope to present that to the executive in the near future.
The Second part of this project is, naturally, the typeface. The fonts are designed to appeal to graphic design students with the added objective of our using the typeface to develop a broader awareness of the problem of typeface piracy.
When Aaron Burns, the legendary American typographer, and incidentally, a friend of John’s, founded the International Typeface Corporation (ITC) in 1970 one of his primary goals was to combat the rampant typeface piracy at the time. Burn’s believed that the majority of designers were ethical people who would choose to use legal typefaces if only they could somehow be made aware of the extent of the problem. We also believe that many design students today will also choose to use legally licensed fonts if, a) they can see just how much this problem affects, and devalues, the larger world of graphic design and b) if the fonts are affordable to students. We are preparing a paper outlining the problems of typeface piracy.
Gibson is designed to be a workhorse typeface to be used for both text and display. Its four weights, with matching italics, will cover most design applications. The design is based on two popular sans serifs; Futura, Paul Renner’s 1927 classic geometric sans, and Adrian Frutiger’s more humanist 1988 Avenir. These two typefaces, along with ITC Avant Garde Gothic and now Gotham and even Century Gothic, are universally popular with students and young designers. Unfortunately with the exception of Avenir the rest are not particularly good text faces, and even Avenir suffers from a degree of stiffness.
There is nothing inherently wrong with any of the above mentioned typefaces if properly used. And rather than bemoan the fact that students gravitate to these particular typefaces, we think it more fitting to provide an alternative design that will satisfy their need for a ‘simple’ and ‘clean’ sans while allowing them to produce work that can actually be read.
The proceeds from the sale of the Gibson family will be used by the GDC to support design education initiatives.
The Licencing of Gibson
The fonts are priced at $48 for the full family of eight faces. Although it should be noted that there will be no single font sales – you must buy the full family. We feel that this low price makes Gibson cheaper than many design textbooks and it can be argued that most students will get more use from the fonts than a book. Students who purchase the fonts from Canada Type will receive a full professional typeface family with an End User Licensing Agreement (EULA) that will spell out what they can, and cannot do with the typefaces. The EULA is the Canada Type standard single-user licensing agreement. Multi-user licenses will be allowed to promote the idea of a whole school/class buying it for their students.
Also, many people license fonts based on price, and this low pricing would probably bring in a number of small businesses – the people that don’t license at all because of high prices, which means the pricing itself works to combat piracy in the marketplace, not just in design schools. It is impossible to estimate the number of sales of any typeface. Some fonts become major sellers the day they are released. Others take months or years to gain popularity. We do feel Gibson has a reasonable chance at providing a good income stream for the GDC Education Committee.
The Gibson font family hits the right spot for many people and on many levels. It is a humanist sans serif typeface designed by eminent Canadian type designer Rod McDonald R.G.D., CGD, FGDC, and produced by Patrick Griffin and Kevin King of Canada Type, to honour John Gibson FGDC, Rod’s long-time friend and one of the original founders of the GDC.
As well as paying tribute to John Gibson’s productive life and love of the creative arts, the Gibson family is intended to be a mainstay of the future of Canadian design education. Many Canadian schools and institutions will be making it part of their larger typeface piracy education programs. The 8-font family is available at token pricing to make it especially affordable for design students. This typeface is an essential and like a textbook, a student can now have a sturdy and contemporary humanist sans serif family that fits pretty much any design application, and will remain useful long after academic studies and well into a professional career in design.
The Gibson family is available through Canada Type and popular distributors. All the revenue generated is being be donated by Canada Type to the GDC where they will be used to support design education.
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