Type: The Secret History of Letters

Type: The Secret History of Letters

by 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… See more details below

Overview

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. _x000D__x000D_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. _x000D__x000D_‘Simon Loxley's quirkily elegant Type 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… A heady mixture of intrigue, personal achievement and corporate greed’ Justin Howes, Times Literary Supplement_x000D__x000D_‘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 in the way we print and read today’ History Today

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
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 story of the legal machinations Gutenberg used to try to retain exclusive rights to his printing methods as well as stories of such lesser figures as the eccentric Eric Gill, who was, according to Loxley, perhaps "the most complex figure in the whole history of type design." We find unexpected incursions into the art of road signs and the possibility (rejected) that the computer might render type design itself obsolete ("typocalypse"). Loxley's style and approach is sprightly and generally nontechnical, so even readers without much knowledge of his subject will find his popular treatment of type history easy to read and, for the most part, not deadened by the weight of names, dates, and typefaces typical of such primary standard histories as Daniel Updike's Printing Types. An excellent choice for collections that stress printing, communications, and the arts. Peter Dollard, Mt. Pleasant, MI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher

"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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780857730176
Publisher:
I.B.Tauris
Publication date:
03/31/2006
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
248
File size:
5 MB

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