Perpetua was designed by Eric Gill in 1928 for Stanley Morison, typographic advisor for Monotype Corporation. Morison had a twofold plan for the growth of the Monotype library: the first stage was to develop modern interpretations of classic designs for machine composition; and the second stage was to develop new designs, which is where Gill came in. The design and release of Perpetua was fraught with complications. Gill was openly disdainful of mechanical devices (which included the Monotype typesetter), and Monotype’s management was conservative, and hostile towards Morison’s ideas. Then the project was put on hold because it was considered that a new sans serif design was more urgent than a new book face. Perpetua was finally released more than seven years after Gill was first commissioned to start work on it.

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