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 realized 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 the late 1483, came 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.