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Type: The Secret History of Letters

Overview


"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 ...
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Type: The Secret History of Letters

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Overview


"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

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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781850433972
  • Publisher: I. B.Tauris & Company, Limited
  • Publication date: 4/24/2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.26 (w) x 9.58 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet the Author


Simon Loxley is a practicing typographer, designer and teacher.
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Table of Contents

Sine qua non
The naked letter: the anatomy of type
Introduction 1
1 The adventure and the art: the obscure origins of a revolution 7
2 Dynasty: in which William Caslon makes Britain the type centre of the world 28
3 Garamuddle: when is a sixteenth-century typeface not a sixteenth-century typeface? 40
4 The maverick tendency: the type and strange afterlife of John Baskerville 43
Detour - Meltdown: a stroll around a fallen giant 55
5 'Hideous Italians': thicks, thins, and the rise of advertising type 62
6 American spring: creating the modern age 68
7 An awful beauty: the private press movement 79
8 Under fire: Frederic Goudy, type star 93
Detour - Typecast: on the trail of the metal fanatics 103
9 Going Underground: Edward Johnston's letters for London 109
10 The doves and the serpent: Stanley Morison and the Wardes 123
11 Dangerous passions: radical European typography in the inter-war years 136
12 Leper messiah: Gill semi-light, Gill heavy 157
13 Europe after the rain: rebirth and twilight 168
Detour - Portable serenity: the precision and the passion of the letter cutter 175
14 Two ghosts: forgotten technologies from the dustbin of history 183
15 Motorway madness: David Kindersley and the great road sign ruckus 190
16 A company man: Herb Lubalin and the International Typeface Corporation 201
17 The twenty-six soldiers: fiddling with the format 208
18 New gods: Neville Brody and the designer decade 216
19 Revolution again: liberating the letter 228
Detour Inside the micro-foundry: twenty-first-century type 233
20 Typocalypse 236
Illustration credits 241
Bibliography 242
General index 244
Typeface index 247
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