Classification of typefaces

Classification of typefaces

  • Serif

    • Humanist (also known as: Old Style serifs)
      are the oldest typefaces, around 1400s. How to recognize? By their diagonal stress: the thinnest parts of the letters appear on the angled strokes.

    • Transitional serifs
      The most common serif typefaces, around 1700s. Contrast (differences between thick and thin strokes) is bigger than in humanist serifs, but less so than in modern serifs. Much sharper serifs (brackets).

    • Modern serifs
      Date back to late 1700s. Very hight contrast with thin horizontal serifs.

    • Slab serifs (also known as: Egyptian serifs)
      Almost no contrast; heavy, boxie rectangular serifs.

  • Sans-serif
    More modern in appearance than serifs, as the first sans-serifs were created in the late 18th century.

    • Grotesque (?)
      Grotesques are the earliest, with letterforms very similar to serif typefaces - minus the serifs.

    • Neo-grotesque (?)

    • Humanist The most legible and hence popular for website body copy. The most calligraphic of the sans-serif typefaces (look at the small “a”), minimal contrast.

    • Transitional (?)
      Upright, uniform chars, no contrast with strong strokes.

    • Geometric
      More closely based on geometric shapes. The letter “a” is almost always simple - just a circle with a tail. Least commonly-used for body copy and are also the most modern sans-serifs.

  • Scripts are based upon handwriting.

    • Formal Very elegant; reminiscent of the handwritten letterforms common in the 17th and 18th centuries.

    • Casual Closely resemble modern handwriting; often with stronger strokes; more brush-like appearance.

date 01. Jan 0001 | modified 10. Jun 2024
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