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Type: The Secret History of Letters

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  134 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
If you've ever wondered exactly what a Zapf is, or if Baskerville has anything to do with Sherlock Holmes, Type is the answer to these questions and more. This is the story of the passions, and obsessions of the creator of type; of the influences of wars, persecution, and political upheaval, and the effects of business and technological breakthroughs on fonts and typograph
Paperback, 248 pages
Published June 12th 2006 by I. B. Tauris (first published 2004)
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(showing 1-30)
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Dec 28, 2014 Christopher rated it liked it
Very similar in conception to Simon Garfield's Just My Type . Each book is meant to be a general overview of typography (the creation of fonts for printing) via short chapters on narrow topics. This book is rather more "rambling" in its treatment, and the author has less interest in "history" (that is, there is much less about the early centuries of printing) and concentrates more on "book design" in general and the British aspect in particular. For instance, both books cover the topic of highw ...more
Jan 13, 2009 Joe rated it it was ok
I finished it!

The writing's fine, I suppose. And for a book about type and typesetting, it's a pretty finely designed paperback.

But... there's nothing "secret" about this book.... Most of it is simply untold because it's not all that interesting.

I am able to recognize and contextualize many more fonts now, though. It's not worthless, but it was a slog to get though some of this.
Ah, the poverty of Times New Roman . . .: 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. ...more
Julie Bozza
Jul 20, 2012 Julie Bozza rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, design
A brilliant book about typography and the people who've designed it, from Gutenberg and the others involved in creating printing, to the present, with some brief, interesting speculation about the future. I was most interested in the analysis along the way of different fonts and styles, and in how (as with any human endeavour) they have been influenced by individual personalities through to world-sized events.

While I wasn't mad keen on the cover of this edition, it made its point. The wonderful
Keli Rylance
Apr 29, 2008 Keli Rylance rated it really liked it
Simultaneous Reading: As I found this coupled with Alexander Lawson's "Anatomy of a Typeface" was more enjoyable than as individual books: they augment one another. Simon Loxley, a graphic designer, dramatizes key typographic innovations through the personalities of the designers. Featured: Edward Johnston's letters for the London Underground; Jan Tschischold's New Typography.
Gergely Hangyás
Dec 12, 2015 Gergely Hangyás rated it it was amazing
This book is a simply entertaining read for anyone who interested in typography, although do not expect any real secret. :) It can be a good start to think different about type designers, and understand the work behind it.
Feb 06, 2008 Minardi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: design-books
Font history!
Benjamin David Sloan
Nov 28, 2015 Benjamin David Sloan rated it really liked it
Much better than Just My Type.
Lee Hunter
Nov 16, 2008 Lee Hunter marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
this book is one of those single issue history books about type and the people who created the first typefaces. it's interesting so far, we'll see what happens.
Oct 18, 2007 Jen rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: lovers of type
Shelves: design
This book covers everything from the development of Movable Type, the Private Press Movement, 21st Century type and all the fonts in between. Fun to read...if your into that kind of thing.
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Simon Loxley is a graphic designer and writer on design, typography and design history.
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