Lewis McGuffie is always hard at work and immersed in his passion: graphic design and lettering. Based in Tallinn, Estonia, the British-born artist has a solid background in custom type, branding, illustration, and hand painted signage.

One look at his body of work is all you’ll need to see that he’s an absolute master of his craft. Lewis is especially gifted with handcrafted gold leaf and enamel signage, all created using traditional techniques. Much of his work, particular his signage, shows a clear flair for vintage aesthetics, but his portfolio of typography features a brilliant medley of styles and inspiration.

When it comes to typeface design, Lewis takes a methodical and almost philosophical approach, performing extensive research and giving great attention to the finest details. The physical attributes of a style, as well as the regional and historical characteristics of typography in general, all come into play during his design process. Lewis is so well versed in the craft of lettering, he hosts regular workshops on sign writing, glass gilding, and hand lettering.

One of his most recent releases on YouWorkForThem is Gardner Sans, a humanist sans serif rich with historical inspiration. A website dedicated to Spitalfields, part of London’s East End, regularly shares stories about the culturally vibrant locale, particularly its history. The work of Roy Gardner, who resided there during the early 20th century, was featured in a blog post one day and Lewis was instantly inspired by Gardner’s attempt at painting small caps lettering.

It was evident to Lewis that back in the day, Gardner had several stencils of varying size but similar weight proportions, resulting in specific letters being considerably bolder than others when they were seen next to one another. Lewis noted that the square proportions kept the visual dissonance to a minimum, and that they still functioned well in their application, delivering messages in a warm and welcoming manner.

Small caps letters are usually a bit broader than their uppercase equivalents, whereas Gardner had simply shrunk them down proportionately. This is what served as the initial starting point for Gardner Sans.

Lewis admits that Gardner Sans is not a direct replication of Gardner’s work, however; it’s more of a fusion of similar sources from the same time period. He wanted to craft a humanist typeface that didn’t come across as “dated,” but still held onto its historical roots. Lewis also wanted a range of weights that make it suitable for bold headlines, yet would allow for comfortable reading at smaller sizes.

He hit his goal out of the park with the clean and contemporary Gardner Sans. Featuring six weights that range from Light to Mammoth with corresponding italics for each, this type design fits beautifully in just about any type of setting, including displays, signage, headlines, editorials, publishing, body copy, presentations, corporate communications and letterhead, book covers, product packaging, and branding. Decorative ornaments for Gardner Sans were done in a Bauhaus, art-deco style with the help of Indrek Mesi for additional versatility.

Gardner Sans offers a host of features including capitals to small caps, numerators, denominators, fractions, standard ligatures, oldstyle and tabular figures, small caps, and stylistic alternates for greater flexibility. Its multilingual support covers Basic Latin, Western European, Euro, Baltic, Turkish, Central European, Romanian, and Pan African Latin for global accessibility.

Lewis McGuffie Type currently offers seven products through YouWorkForThem, and we’re looking forward to seeing his future additions. Visit his portfolio to see the rest of his type designs, and if you love hand-painted signage, check out Lewis McGuffie’s Facebook page for regularly posted works of art!