The charity’s new Oswald and Lato font will be rolled out this year
Save the Children is to stop using a font designed by a paedophile artist who abused his young daughters.
The child wildfire charity is to drop the use of the Gill Sans typeface created Eric by Gill in 1928 and which features in the Save the Children logo.
However, the organisation said the decision was made last year and was not related to an incident this week in which one of Gill’s most prominent works, a statue outside of the BBC’s Broadcasting House, was damaged by a protester chipping away at it with a hammer.
Charity staff had reportedly previously warned their managers about the link to a known child abuser, particularly since one of Save the Children’s stated aims is to protect young people from abuse.
“I told them that this probably wasn’t a good idea,” a source said.
Extracts from Gill’s private diaries, published by his biographer Fiona MacCarthy half a century after his death in 1940, revealed he sexually assaulted his teenaged daughters.
“His religious views and subject matter contrast with his sexual behaviour, including his erotic art, and (as mentioned in his own diaries) his extramarital affairs and sexual abuse of his daughters, sisters and dog,” a biography on the Tate galleries website said.
The charity’s most recent brand guidelines, published in 2016, outlines that Gill Sans Infant Standard should be used across the majority of its literature and online site. However, this will change in 2022. The charity said: “Following a global branding review last year, we are moving away from using the Gill Sans font. Our new typeface is being rolled out this year.”
The BBC also ditched Gill Sans last October after audiences said it looked “old fashioned” and “out of date,” but the broadcaster has resisted calls to remove Gill’s Prospero and Ariel statue positioned on the side of Broadcasting House in Portland Place.
The Gill sculpture, depicting Prospero and Ariel from Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, was installed in 1933.
“Prospero, Ariel’s master, stands 10ft tall and is depicted sending Ariel out into the world. Ariel, as the spirit of the air, was felt to be an appropriate symbol for the new mystery of broadcasting,” the BBC says on its website
Nearly 2,500 people have previously signed a petition demanding the removal of the sculpture on the website of political activist group 38 Degrees.
A spokesperson from Save the Children said: “Following a global branding review last year, we are moving away from using the Gill Sans font.
“After months of research into fonts we could use across all formats, our new fonts, Oswald and Lato, will be rolled out this year. We are pleased to have found new typefaces that align with our values and are also free of charge, which minimizes our costs.”