"art of composing types and printing from them," 1640s, from French typographie, from Medieval Latin typographia, from Greek typos (see type (n.)) + -grapheia "writing," from graphein "to write" (see -graphy).
late 15c., "symbol, emblem," from Latin typus "figure, image, form, kind," from Greek typos "a blow, dent, impression, mark, effect of a blow; figure in relief, image, statue; anything wrought of metal or stone; general form, character; outline, sketch," from root of typtein "to strike, beat," from PIE *tup-, variant of root *(s)teu- (1) "to push, stick, knock, beat" (see steep (adj.)).
Extended 1713 to printing blocks of metal or wood with letters or characters carved on their faces, usually in relief, adapted for use in letterpress printing. The meaning "general form or character of some kind, class" is attested in English by 1843, though the corresponding words had that sense in Latin and Greek. To be (someone's) type "be the sort of person that person is attracted to" is recorded from 1934.
word-forming element meaning "process of writing or recording" or "a writing, recording, or description" (in modern use especially in forming names of descriptive sciences), from French or German -graphie, from Greek -graphia "description of," used in abstract nouns from graphein "write, express by written characters," earlier "to draw, represent by lines drawn," originally "to scrape, scratch" (on clay tablets with a stylus), from PIE root *gerbh- "to scratch, carve" (see carve).