Type: The Secret History of Letters

Front Cover
I.B.Tauris, Mar 31, 2006 - Art - 248 pages

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.

 

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User Review  - cmc - www.librarything.com

Scattered history of typography, dipping in and out from Gutenberg to the nineties and beyond. Lots of fascinating bits of information, both informative and inspirational. Makes me want to know even more. Read full review

Type : The Secret History of Letters

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Typographer and designer Loxley's aim in this history is to show how the "human baggage of ambition...treachery and love" affected the development of Western typefaces. Thus, we get the well-known ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
I The adventure and the art the obscure origins of a revolution
7
Dynasty in which William Caslon makes Britain the type centre of the world
28
Garamuddle when is a sixteenthcentury typeface not a sixteenthcentury typeface?
40
The maverick tendency the type and strange afterlife of John Baskerville
43
Meltdown a stroll around a fallen giant
55
Hideous Italians thicks thins and the rise of advertising type
62
American spring creating the modern age
68
Europe after the rain rebirth and twilight
168
Two ghosts forgotten technologies from the dustbin of history
183
Motorway madness David Kindersley and the great road sign ruckus
190
A company man Herb Lubalin and the International Typeface Corporation
201
The twentysix soldiers fiddling with the format
208
New gods Neville Brody and the designer decade
216
Revolution again liberating the letter
228
Inside the microfoundry twentyfirstcentury type
233

An awful beauty the private press movement
79
Under fire Frederic Goudy type star
93
Typecast on the trail of the metal fanatics
103
Going Underground Edward Johnstons letters for London
109
The doves and the serpent Stanley Morison and the Wardes
123
Dangerous passions radical European typography in the interwar years
136
Leper messiah Gill semilight Gill heavy
157
Typocalypse
236
Illustration credits
241
Bibliography
242
General index
244
Typeface index
247
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

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

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