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Cover for Type


The Secret History of Letters

Simon Loxley


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Type is the bridge between writer and reader, between thought and understanding. Type is the message bearer: an art-form that impinges upon every literate being and yet for most of its history it has conformed to the old adage that 'good typography should be invisible', it should not distract with its own personality. It was only at the end of the nineteenth century that designers slowly realised that they could say as much with their lettering as writers could with their words. Form, of course, carries as much meaning as content. Now, anyone within reach of a computer and its limitless database of fonts has the same power. "Type: The Secret History of Letters" tells its story for the first time, treating typography as a hidden measure of our history. From the tempestuous debate about its beginnings in the fifteenth century, to the invention of our most contemporary lettering, Simon Loxley, with the skill of a novelist, tells of the people and events behind our letters. How did Johann Gutenberg, in late 1438, come to think of printing? Does Baskerville have anything to do with Sherlock Holmes? Why did the Nazis re-invent Blackletter? What is a Zapf?
"Type" is a guide through the history of our letters and a study of their power. From fashion through propaganda and the development of mass literacy, Loxley shows how typography has changed our world.

Praise For Type: The Secret History of Letters

"A heady mixture of intrigue, personal achievement and corporate greed...Loxley offers an engaging, well-presented account of the more eccentric personalities in type design."--Times Literary Supplement
 "A funny, informative romp through typography."--BookPage
 "You'll never look at Renner's elegant circles-and-lines font Futura in the same way again."--Boston Globe "Simon Loxley takes the reader on a fascinating journey peppered with anecdotes concerning type designers and their creations." --Mediaevistik 19

"Remarkably good." - Journal of the American Printing History Association

I. B. Tauris & Company, 9781845110284, 256pp.

Publication Date: June 1, 2006

About the Author

Simon Loxley, practicing typographer, designer and teacher, lives in London. This is his first book.