Joanna (typeface)

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Monotype Joanna
Category Serif
Classification Transitional
Designer(s) Eric Gill
Foundry Monotype

Joanna is a transitional serif typeface designed by Eric Gill (1882–1940) in the period 1930–31, and named for one of his daughters. The typeface was originally designed for proprietary use by Gill's printing shop Hague & Gill. The type was first produced in a small quantity by the Caslon Foundry for hand composition. It was eventually licensed for public release by the Monotype foundry in 1937.

In designing Joanna, Gill took inspiration from the types of Robert Granjon (1513–1589). The underlying armature of both the roman and italics bear strong similarities with Granjon's type, yet the spare, sharp squared serifs and moderate contrast of strokes, have a 20th-century modernist feeling. The italics are more vertical than Granjon's with only a 3° slope. The face is, as Gill described it himself "a book face free from all fancy business." Similarities can be seen with Gill's earlier typefaces Cockerel and Perpetua. A more recent face, FF Scala designed in 1990 by the Dutch type designer Martin Majoor (born 1960) is similar in its geometric simplicity combined with the old style letterform. Gill chose Joanna for setting An Essay on Typography, a book by Gill on his thoughts on typography, typesetting, and page design.


  • Bringhurst, Robert. The Elements of Typographic Style. Hartley & Marks: 1992. ISBN 0-88179-033-8.
  • Dodd, Robin. From Gutenberg to Open Type. Hartley & Marks: 2006. ISBN 0-88179-210-1.
  • Friedl, Frederich, Nicholas Ott and Bernard Stein. Typography: An Encyclopedic Survey of Type Design and Techniques Through History. Black Dog & Leventhal: 1998. ISBN 1-57912-023-7.
  • Kindserley, David. Mr. Eric Gill: Further Thoughts by an Apprentice. Cardozo Kindersley Editions: 1967, 1982. ISBN 0-9501946-5-4.

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