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Type: The Secret History of Letters [Hardcover]

Simon Loxley
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 24, 2004 1850433976 978-1850433972
"Good typography should be invisible", so goes the old maxim--the typeface should carry the message, but not distract with its own personality. But if you've ever wondered how type was developed, exactly what a Goudy Friar is, or if Baskerville has anything to do with Sherlock Holmes, then Type will answer these questions and more. This is the story of the faces behind type, letters and typography: it tells of the passions and obsessions of its creators, of war, persecution and political upheaval, of business and technological breakthrough, of rivalry, death and disinterment. With the skill of a novelist, Simon Loxley weaves the story of letters through the history of our time. From Gutenberg's first moveable type to the internet, type has grown out of ambition, jealousy, desire, treachery and love. Never again will you look at your letters, your bank statements or your books in the same way.

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Editorial Reviews


Times Higher Education Supplement: "surely the perfect book book to spark an interest in type design among world-weary students." "potentially boring details...are made easily understandable and quite thrilling." Times Literary Supplement: "Simon Loxley's quirkily elegant Type: The secret history of letters follows hard on the heels of Lynne Truss's Eats, Shoots and Leaves. It is better designed and typeset than that unlikely bestseller, and its subject, type, is central to the experience of every reader..." "compelling romp...a heady mixture of intrigue, personal achievement and corporate greed." History Today: "Simon Loxley reads between the lines in Type...underscoring the passion and ambition of its designers and highlighting the role that business and technological breakthroughs have had on the way we print and read today." Boston Globe: "you'll never look at Renner's elegant circles-and-lines font Futura in the same way again." MEDIAEVISTIK 19 'Simon Loxley takes the reader on a fascinating journey peppered with anecdotes concerning type designers and their creations.'THE JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN PRINTING HISTORY ASSOCIATION'remarkably good'

About the Author

Simon Loxley is a practicing typographer, designer and teacher.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: I. B. Tauris (April 24, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1850433976
  • ISBN-13: 978-1850433972
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,096,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ah, the poverty of Times New Roman . . . October 8, 2005
Even though I'm not a typographer or type-designer, when I began engaging in desktop publishing a decade ago and sought out guidance for the decisions I suddenly had to make, I became interested in the history and minutiae of fonts and letterforms for their own sake. Also, in pursuit of a master's degree in library science more than thirty years ago, I took an elective in the "History of Books and Printing," so the background knowledge was already there. Loxley has produced a thoroughly fascinating social and philosophical history of the development of type, beginning with Gutenberg (who may or may not have been the inventor of moveable type) and following the development of words-in-print down through the centuries to the Nazi affection for Blackletter and the present-day democratization of the field via the personal computer. The author is very knowledgeable, especially about biographical details and personalities among western type designers. Illustrations and quotations are frequent and the book itself, naturally, is very nicely designed with footnotes and cut-lines set off in a one-third-size outside column. Though this is Loxley's first book, I hope it won't be his last.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book, but limited May 28, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A good book of type history, but limited to England and Northern Europe, missing the fundamental Italian and French designers.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars About the people, not about type itself June 3, 2007
I bought this book, thinking it would educate me about the different kinds of type and how the edesign of type evolved. This is an interesting book, but it's mostly a history book about the people who designed type and does not focus on their innovations. I'd recommend a book more focused on design "Elements of Typographic Style" if you are looking for a book about type itself.

I'd retitle it to "The Secret History of the people behind Letters"
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