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The aim was to achieve a contemporary functional synthesis of Bunyan, the last face Eric Gill designed for hand setting in 1934 and Pilgrim, the machine face based on it, issued by British Linotype in the early 1950s — the most popular Gill text face in Britain from its release until the 1980s. The appeal of this project was mostly due to the fact that this particular design doesn't date itself anywhere near as evidently as Gill's other serif faces, which were all influenced by the rich deco aesthetic that was prevalent in interbellum Europe. Gill's last design was conceived as a purely functional, space-saving face a straightforward oldstyle rhythm, an even contrast, and no ornamental trivialities.
The designers tried to keep the best features of the handset (Bunyan) and machine (Pilgrim) versions while building a text face that can perform well in today’s immersive reading media. Deciding on which useful letterpress features to preserve for aesthetic importance—in order to provide something with authenticity—was a tricky proposition that lead to complex and painstaking ways of ironing out irregularities and inconsistencies related to metal technologies.
Bunyan Pro is a unique typeface based on Gill design that, to a much greater extent than any of his other faces, works very well as a text face can be used for entire books and magazines. The main weight is intended for use between 8 and 14 points, and the remaining weights are great for emphasis but also have good merit in larger sizes, so can make effective display types as well. All six fonts include small caps, an extended set of ligatures, six types of figures, and three original Gill manicules.