THE PARSONS INSTITUTE FOR INFORMATION MAPPING

68 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10011

212 229 6825 piim.newschool.edu

ITAL

IC

16T

25 Systems for Classifying Typography: A Study in Naming Frequency
TAy Lor CH I Lders Jess ICA G r Is C TI LIBerTy Le B e N

SCRIPT
IQUE DON ANT REN CLA
ER

/

FAT FACE

SCRIPTS
GO

FORME
SO MM E
LIN EA

MA

LE

NU

FRAKTUR
AIR E
HU MA NIS T

TE

XT

TH

UR

TH 19

IC

A

CE UR NT

ETT

UE

Y PLA DIS

CKL

AN TIQ

BLA

18TH

ORNA
SCRIPT

MENT

ALS

CEN

/ AN

GROTE SK

DISPLAY

TH

IC

INCISE S

GO

Y

SCHW

FRAC TURE

BLACKLETTER LINEAL

RD BATA

HER ABAC

TUR

TIQ

Y

UA

STYLE

OLD

ELZ EVI

Y

CE NT

DID

UR

ON

H

MO
ITALIAN

DE

RN

E

REALE

GE

RA

LD

E

ITA

LIE

NN

E

CL

AS

SIC

AL

DIDOT

RENAISSANCE

FRAKTUR

GAELIC

OUT LINE

WAB ACH

DO

RIP

GRA

REN

T
MA GR NU APH AL/ IC

SCH

T

FA

GER

SCR

IPT

CE

SHA

DED

CA

LLI

GR

AP

HA
NC IL

ND

WR

ALD

STE

ITT

TEX

TU

RA

GL YP HI C

CLA

FA

HIC

RO

TUN DA

PHI C

N

LINEALE

SC

TEXTURA

ER

PRE
SCRIPT
SCH WA BAC HER

ROMANS
ED ENS ND CO

17T

R

VEN

H CEN

TUR

Y
ITAL IC

ROMAN

EN

E

CALLIGRAPHICS CLASSICALS
GLYPHIC

DECO

RATE

DISPLAY
D
OLD

FACE

SCRIP

BLACKLETTER
T
HYBRIDA

HUMANI

GOTHIC

SCRIPT

MICS.

ST

BLACKLETTER

FRAKTU

HUMANIST

RENAISSANCE

MODERNISED
ITAL IC

MODERNS
GEO MET RIC

ANTIQ
ME

UA
ROT

BOOK
IC

OLD
VIN

FACE

LIN

ES QU

NE GR OOT

ESQU E

B SER

ISTIC

HUMANIST

DIDONE

SLA

S

INDUSTRIAL/ VERNACULAR

MECHAN

GROT

TRANSI

TIONAL

GE

NE

RA

LD

S

O-G RO

IF

T.

ROTUNDA

PRO MA CES NIP SED ULA TED

HUMANIST

AL

ORN AMENT

GO ANT THI IQU C E

GEO

HUM

BA

STA

ANIS

T

SCRIPT

PE

PROB

DISPLAY
LEMS

CAL

LIG

RAP

HIC

AP

NE O

RD

A

TIN LA

RIO

D

RE

NA

OR NA

DIN

GB

ATS

GR

GR OT

ISS

ME

AN

ES

QU

CE

NT AL

MET

GOTHI

C

REALIS

T

RIC

E

BLACKLETTER
TEXT

HAN DWR ITING

FAT FACE

Typeface Classification, type specimens, type systems, typeface taxonomy, typography
K EYW O R D S ProJe C T d ATe A Bs Tr A CT

GEOMETRIC

SANS SERIF
STYLE

VENETIA

OLD

GOT

HIC

SERIF
ALD
SE RIF

ROMAN
FA T

CLA SSI CA L

N

NE

SQ UA RE

SIT

UE

FA

CE
PRIM

MOD ERN

AN

OT

RN
LYRICA L MODE

ESQ

TR
ER

AN

S.

MO

DE

NE

O

REV

ION

PO

AL

INE

O

ST

GR

OT

IVA

L

S

TR

GR

TE R

NS

GE

TIC

BLA CK LET

SANS

HUM

ANIS

SCRIPT

TER

TIT

LIN

G

20T RO H CE MA NT N .

SA

OM

BL AC KL ET

GR

OT

ES

QU

E

ROT

UND

TOPICAL
A

BR

ET

US H

RIC

EGY
HU

SE

PTIA

RIF

TRANSIT

IONAL

GLY PHI C

DUTCH

MODER

N

NAL

SLAB/SQUA

October 2012–January 2013

OLD STYLE

GEOMETRIC

SANS SERIF
OLD STYLE

B SER

ST YL

SERIF
TR AN SIT

. CENT E 20TH ESQU GROT

IF

SERIF

OLD FACE
TRA NS ITIO
TIO NA L
ITA LIA
CO NTE MP.

BOOK

SLA B SER

LATE

VENETIA

N

GEOMETRIC

E

IF

SLA

RE

NA

L

TRA

EAR

IO

HU MA NIS

NSI

. NT CE UE H ESQ 19T OT GR

O LD

NA

L

T

LY

TIO

EN

MONOLINE

HAND WRITT

TOR

ALS

DISPLAY
RM FO AL

E

TIVE & DECORA DISPLAY
H US

RA

CO

CA

EX FRE OT EFO IC/ RM
HA ND

STENCIL

ICA

L

HIS

TIV

PIT

DE

TE

ET

KL

A

SCRIPT DISPLAY

SC

TEX TUR

RIP

TYP

EW

T

RIT

&

ER

R

BR

AC

ROTU

BL

NDA

EXPE

RIME

NTAL

SANS SERIF

TECHNO
SCHWABACHER

COMPUT ER RELATED

Varying typeforms for the Western printing process have been concurrently designed since the invention of the printing press c1450. Even though the variation of styles have expanded in number with fairly good documentation, and even though the process has been essentially evolutionary, the design community has yet to develop a comprehensive system of classification. Many attempts have been made to standardize but no naming system has been successful to the point of its general adaption. This paper analyses 25 typeface classification systems published in the last century, ranging from typographic greats like Theodore Low De Vinne and Maximilien Vox and culminating with contemporary type and design scholars such as Ellen Lupton and Robert Bringhurst. Each system (despite its original visual organization or lack thereof) is presented through a color-coded pie chart. The color codes reference three main branches of type design: Serif, Sans Serif, and Topical (Topical is the term used by Bevington/Chong to reference a subdivision of non-text faces). In our concluding demonstration we use this term “Topical,” to replace “Display.” By examining a wide cross section of naming taxonomies, we observe those names that have prevailed, those that failed, and those that deserve renewed support in the hierarchy of typeface classes. We see the useful, and the daring, as they are removed or affixed to the typographic lexicon. Each name, from all the systems, within our wider categories of Serif, Sans Serif, and Topical are collected into a series of master diagrams. From these a final, suggested master classification—our cumulative research effort is presented. We submit this master as a suggested industry standard.
I N Trod U CTI o N

BLACKLETTER
OLD STYLE

FRAKTU

SERIF SANS SERIF
IC
NIS

TRA

FAC E

RA

SCRIPT

AB

SL

RN

RIF

SE

GL

YPH
T

IC

NEO-GROTES.

MA

SA NS

METR

GROTESQU

Figure: A visual overview of 25 typographic classifications and animals. In the typographic world, a shared standardized system of classification is lacking. Typographers and type scholars have attempted to create proper systems of organization for decades. These systems date back to at least 1899, when Theodore Low DeVinne published a typographic classification system in his book, The Practice of Typography. With the invention of the printing press, photo reproduction, and post script fonts, printing became more efficient and typographic practice became more widespread. Today the typographic world is cluttered with examples along many design approaches; a logical way to name the group to which any particular design is challenging. One style can have two, even three names, all meaning essentially the same exact thing. Typographers who create systems often have a difficult time deciding which name to chose. Sometimes, they chose both. Major problem occurs in topical and display classifications. With so many styles of topical typefaces all obtaining such specific differences, it is often hard to classify them into larger groups. While some create an abundance of classifications for such typefaces, others ignore the problem completely. Ignoring these “topical” designs leaves a large number of type styles unaccounted for, or relegated into the “others” category. Through the examination of the history of typographic classification, it may be possible to create a unified taxonomy using a consistent naming logic. The final visual in this paper displays such unified logic; it, in turn, is constructed from a series of seven composite displays. These seven composites are organized according to the findings from the twenty five examples that preceed. (Note: we capitalize classes when they are specified as classes within any particular system, and do not capitalize when they are noted but not included in that particular system.)
© 2013 PARSONS JOURNAL FOR INFORMATION MAPPING AND PARSONS INSTITUTE FOR INFORMATION MAPPING

A taxonomy may be defined as the study classification. Without scientific classifications in biology, there would be no consistent professional jargon, and scientists would be far less effectively communicative when studying plants
PIIM IS A RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT FACILITY AT THE NEW SCHOOL

GEO

SERIF

MODER

MODERN

HU

N

TRA

NS

ITIO

E

NA

L

MO

DER

N

EG

MO

NO

YP TI

UNI

CAL

MO

DE

SP

RAL

DE

AN

AL

OLD

NSIT ION

MODER

DECORAT DISPLAY

N

DA

IC

AR

E

IST

ST

AN

BA

A

LS

CH

UND

EA

CEN

HUM

SERIF

ANIS

ROMAN TS VARIAN

VENET IAN

T

GEOMET

RIC

SANS SERIF

HUMANI

SERIF
OT . ESQ NSI TRA
GE RAL DE

ROMAN
H 20T

AL

TIO

DIN E

GR

OT

ES

K

FRE

NC

H

GR

HI

C

SANS SERIF

VENET

GR

OT

IAN

GOT

HIC
ROMANTIC

BLACK
HUMANIST

LETTE

R

GLYPHIC
ALDINE

OLD STYLE
SLAB SERIF

SANS
GEOM ETRIC

HUMANIS

T
DUTC H

SERIF
ES.

CLARENDON
CLA REN DO

GER

ALD

E

MODERNS
NE O

MODE

RN

RNIST

N
FO

SCR

IVE/

DECOR

ATED

TEXTURA

DISPLAY

TRANSITIONAL

GEOMETRIC

CON

TEM

TRA

NSI

N

SERIF
NIS MA HU

OLD

STY

LE
SA

TO

OLE

D

SW

ASH

DECORATIVE & DISPLAY
ETTER BLACKL

VENETIA

N

SERIF
ED AC
TRA

GA

CLA SSIC AL
R

ETIA N

MEC S ANE

TIAN EGYP

B SLA

YPT EG NE IEN
REVERSED
IONIC

CLASSICAL ROMAN

RN VE AR UL AC

SANS

BLAC KLETT

DOW SHA

ROT

SERIF

ISE INC PHI GLY

IAN YPT EG

UND

AN TR SIT ION AL

ED

ER

A

D/ C

GRA PHIC

SLAB

MOD ERN
ST ANI HUM

DIDONE

ST

GO TH
TEX TUR A

DI DO S NE

TRA

VEN ETIA N

OLD

OLD FACE

. NT CE

TIO

DIDONE

AL ION NSIS

TRANSISTIONAL

MODERN FACE

STYL E

L NA

LAY DISP DEC

E SQUAR

SAMPLED

NEA VILI CUR

SC RIP T IVE RS CU

SCR

ORA TIVE
TRANSITIONAL

R

IPT S

ESQ

UE

ETR OM NIS GE DER MO

ITALIC

IC

T

TIAN EGYP

N

AN TR SIT

NCH FRE

ION

AR CL

19TH

DIDO

S AL

WEDG E

.

SLAB

20TH CENT.

DIDON E

CEN

NE

T

CALLIGRAPHIC

TIMEREFRENCING

NDON CLARE

PLAC REFR EENC ING

ENG STYL ENCI REFR

UAL CAS

YP EG TIA N

VE RSI CU

SA NS SE

RM AL

IPT

MA T NIS

RI F

ND E HA FRE

CURSIVE

MODERN
SPE ERIA NC N

SA NS SE RIF

POR

ARY

DER MO

ITA

CLAREN DON

LIC

MOD ERN

TRANSITIONAL

OLD

FRENCH

T

N

STYLE

OUTLINE

BRUSH

INL INE

NS

SC RIP T

PE N

SE

TER/ KLET BLAC KEN BRO

RI F

LATIN

SA NS

SL AB SE

LAT IN

RIF

NSI

SLAB

TIO

DIDONE

NA L

25 SYSTEMS FOR CLASSIFYING TYPOGRAPHY: A STUDY IN NAMING FREQUENCY TAYLOR CHILDERS, JESSICA GRISCTI, AND LIBERTY LEBEN

/ UE TIQ ON AN END R A CL

FAT FAC E
G O TH IC

SCRIPTS

TE

R

UE

ET

DI

KL

TIQ

SP

AC

BL

SCRIPT

ORN

AME

NTA

LS

ITA

LIC

M

O

D

ER

N

ITALIAN

DIDOT

TH e P r A C TI C e oF TyPoG rAPH y

1

T HIB A U de A U C LA ss IF IC AT Io N

Theodore Low De Vinne Theodore Low De Vinne was an American typographer and printer practicing in the late nineteenth century. In The Practice of Typography De Vinne details the organizing systems popularized in type specimen books, commenting, “but all ornamental types, and indeed many plain types, are named and classified in an unsatisfactory manner.” Which might be because his approach to typeface classification is very classic. De Vinne does not include Clarendons, or slab serifs, with the Romans, or serif, types. Instead, he lumps Clarendons in the display category along with fat faces and the sans serifs, referred to by De Vinne as Gothics. In fact, it is not until the 1950s that sans serif faces are treated like their serif predecessors, with a proper category of their own, when ATypI remodels the Maximillen Vox system.

Francis Thibaudeau Parisian Typesetter Francis Thibaudeau was determined to create the first rational system for categorizing type. He worked as a French typographer who designed type specimens for Renault and Marcou and Derbergny and Peignot. Thibadeau was motivated to create a new system due to the density and disorganization of the type catalogs he was charged with designing. Originally, there were only four main categories: Roman, Didot, Egyptian, and Antique. Due to his French perspective, he uses Didot to describe Modern Roman typography, rather than the “Didone” popularized some years later by the Vox System in 1954. He also uses Antique to describe sans serif capital faces, like those drawn by the Romans and Greeks. Thibaudeau later added the Script and Display sections to categorize types used in advertising. Of the systems of his day, the one he put forward was quite logical and was the simplest. In beginning a new taxonomy for typefaces, it is best to start small before adding a lot of subclassifications to cover the minutiae of typography. In that regard, Francis Thibaudeau made an excellent division of types and nomenclatures.

PA R SON S journal FOR INFO RM ATIO N M APPING V olume V issue 1 , Winter 2013 [page 2 ]

© 2013 PARSONS JOURNAL FOR INFORMATION MAPPING AND PARSONS INSTITUTE FOR INFORMATION MAPPING

EL

ZE

VI E

S

OLD

ROMAN
EN SE D

STY

LE

AN

DISPLAY

Y LA

EG

CO ND

R

YP TIE NN

in fact. created by Maximilien Vox in 1954. Winter 2013 [page 3 ] © 2013 PARSONS JOURNAL FOR INFORMATION MAPPING AND PARSONS INSTITUTE FOR INFORMATION MAPPING VE H 17T NE CE NT ITA LIC TIA UR Y N 19 TH Y UA IR E CE N TU RY GO TH IC IQ UA CLASSICAL ROMAN FRA BAT ARD CTU RE MEC ANE S VE RN AC UL AR . which carries the false assumption that sans serif typefaces are inherently monoline. there would be differentiations in each of those charts. that term remained popular for several decades before it was replaced by Sans Serif around the 1980s. he founded the Merrymount Press in Providence. However. Additionally. (Instead we present a simplified version of his typeface classification system). Of course. one would have to imagine six of these charts-one each for Germany. The specific year a typeface is created has less and less effect upon its ultimate classification. In addition. To see the detailed version. history applies to the form of serif families. In 1893. Beinging at first unfamiliar to the professionals who would be using the system. employing established terminology along with new terminology. then we could capture within our accompanying pie chart system. Spain and England).25 SYSTEMS FOR CLASSIFYING TYPOGRAPHY: A STUDY IN NAMING FREQUENCY TAYLOR CHILDERS. it would be difficult for the general typeface-user population to remember the intricacies. PA R SON S journal FOR INFO RM ATIO N M APPING V olume V issue 1 . The term is far more specific than the previous Old Style. but for its newness it was criticized. The same goes for his invention of the term Lineal. Aside from it being clunky in that regard. Maximilien Vox The closest to a broad consensus on typeface classification is the Vox System. As was vogue. Rhode Island. AND LIBERTY LEBEN FORME SCRIPT SO M M E E LIN E AL M AN INCIS 18T HC EN /A TUR NT ES Y UR NT DI TH DO 16 NE REALE R GE AL DE CE P r I N TIN G Ty Pes T He V o X sysT e M Daniel Berkeley Updike Daniel Berkeley Updike was an American printer and typographic historian. the classification lacks hierarchies and sub-categories in most instances. combining Garamond and Aldine. they were wrong. The term Geralde is still being used in subsequent type classification systems sixty years later. France. those critics had a point. Vox invented the term Geralde. The Netherlands. Updike discusses 15th century serif printing types in Europe with astounding depth. JESSICA GRISCTI. Italy. far more depth. but even this becomes suspect for many classifications. it’s difficult to expect that a system that classifies type by the century would function when we have moved into an age of so many revivals. but ultimately. In Printing Types. There are ten main categories. he classifies the serif typefaces based upon their historical period and the remainder based on the visual appearance of the letter. and as such.

a bold choice. The Moderns category includes both serif and sans serif typefaces. The non-profit reaches over 40 nations. that system was widely regarded as the standard in typeface classification.. Scholars are often insistent on inventing their own terminology. Winter 2013 [page 4 ] © 2013 PARSONS JOURNAL FOR INFORMATION MAPPING AND PARSONS INSTITUTE FOR INFORMATION MAPPING PRE OM ET RIC LIN ROMAN CLA SSIC MO DER N DIDO AL SL AB EGY PTIA N HU MA HUMANIS T NI ST . and Humanist. AND LIBERTY LEBEN GAELIC HI C AP BLA CKL ETT FRAKTUR UM A S NI T TE GR XT TR AN SI TI O N AL LD ESK GE SC RI PT H UR ER A SCH RA WAB GROT E CLASSICALS CALLIGRAPHICS BLACKLETTER LINEAL ACH HIC GLYP ER HUMANIST NE MODERNS GE EA LS M EC HA UE NI N G EO RO TE SQ ST IC IT QUE A LI EN TES N E GRO RENAISSANCE C S LA SI CA L T H e V o X ATy P I sys TeM s C Hr IF T MU ss PA sseN Maximilien Vox Association Typographique Internationale (ATypi) was Founded by Charles Peginot in 1957. hadn’t yet caught on. a book that focuses on the proper use of typography in advertising materials. though part of that credit is due to Maximilien Vox. but good scholarship does not always win. his subclasses. Nettlehorst’s classification of Serif typefaces is interesting. Venetian and Geralde. L. it’s a good improvement on it’s predecessor.” It appears within Written Expression in Advertising. The name translates roughly to “Writing Must Fit Font Choice. Essen. Using Calligraphics to head the topical category is misleading. Schrift Muss Passen has two subclasses. Nettlehorst2 Schrift Muss Passen was published in 1959 for the business and advertising publishing company. because not all of the sub categories are calligraphic in nature. Manual for the Artwork of Advertising Materials. Grotesk. Moderns and Calligraphics. who was working on a revised version of his 1954 system that was to include four subcategories for the Lineals. but it’s still not perfect. It also includes and thorough classification system. This is the first time the Lineal category has been sub-classified. which goes on to become the norm in Sans Serif subclassification. All in all.25 SYSTEMS FOR CLASSIFYING TYPOGRAPHY: A STUDY IN NAMING FREQUENCY TAYLOR CHILDERS. It would be hard to force geometric sans serif faces into either of those two categories. Classicals. it is often the marketing that determines naming protocol. This classification divided all of the categories into three main classes. They provide assembly for the typographic community to meet and act together. JESSICA GRISCTI. and since there is no catch-all display section in this system. The ATypI revised version adds much needed subclassifications to the Lineal section. PA R SON S journal FOR INFO RM ATIO N M APPING V olume V issue 1 . So soon after the publication of Vox’s system. The Vox ATypI system is based on the 1954 iteration of The Vox System. Upon its release. there would be no place for these faces to go.

Winter 2013 [page 5 ] © 2013 PARSONS JOURNAL FOR INFORMATION MAPPING AND PARSONS INSTITUTE FOR INFORMATION MAPPING . and it seems that anything left that doesn’t fit the mold is dumped into Roman Variants. choosing instead to see a roman and its italic as two fonts within same type family. MODERNI LIC RENAISSAN CE SED AN U TIQ A ITA BOOK OLD FAC T RO UN DA TA RD A VI ROMAN 20 A A E AN ROM ANTS I VAR SERIF TE SK TR VEN ETIA GO TH IC N NC EN TIO FR UR XT SE BA RIF S LD IN E GR O EN CH TH AN FACE DIDONE VE NE OL MOD TRANSISTIONAL CE NT SIS LE TY DS TE AB ION SL OLD T H e H Is Tory o F PrI N TI N G TyPes TIA N ERN F ACE . Some sections are named by historical period while others are named for style. Transitionals for the period in the 18th century where the axis of curves was often vertical and serifs were unbracketed. but the Miscellaneous section undermines the whole exercise toward a comprehensive solution. Dowding uses the term Old Style to categorize 19th century types when he’s already used Old Face to describe 15th century types. AL d IN 1 6 5 1 8 N Geoffrey Dowding Dowding’s system continues the outdated trend of separating the Romans and the Italics—long after their contemporaries stopped regarding the two as separate typefaces. There is no point in creating all of those categories if the author still needs to add a catch-all category. DIN established a standard in sub-classification of Blackletter typefaces. a sub-classification that is often referenced in subsequent taxonomies. PA R SON S journal FOR INFO RM ATIO N M APPING V olume V issue 1 . The Deustche Industrie Normung released a draft of a classification system that was related to Vox’s. The topical category leaves a little to be desired. DIN 16518. After Vox. JESSICA GRISCTI. and there is little to no parallelism in his system. Handwritten scripts are the only topical called out with their own section. for faces that came in the next two centuries that have more contrast between the thickness and thinness of strokes. otherwise known as Geralde. even though sub-classifications to that category had already been made. is almost identical to the Vox system. Additionally. for Humanist Serif types developed generally in the 15th century. It’s cluttered. a standard in Old Style Serif classification is starting to develop that is exhibited in the DIN 16518 system: Venetian.25 SYSTEMS FOR CLASSIFYING TYPOGRAPHY: A STUDY IN NAMING FREQUENCY TAYLOR CHILDERS. Germany3 In 1959. Grotesk. Of course the actual form of the Roman and Italic variants may differ. All sans serif faces are organized into a single category. French. AND LIBERTY LEBEN REVERSED IONIC FRAKTUR SANS NE TLI N OU DO EN FA CL SH CE AD ED DISPLAY CA LL IG RA H C IL CE SC T AR FA PH IC HW AB AC HE SH AD EG YP TI AN R RO SERIF TU OW ED ND A AN D ST EN W RI TT X TE TU RA DEC EN BLACKLETTER HYBR IDA ORA TED FA OLD SCRIP GOTHIC T SCRIPT MICS. Being a German system. but placing them across categories is a production and organizational awkwardness. Dowding’s attempt to quantify and classify display types is admirable in its sheer number of categories. The later revised system. but considerably more complicated.

the slab serif section is no longer called Mechanistic. followed by Didone. Incised refers to the stone carved letters. referring to Scripts based on handwriting. AND LIBERTY LEBEN IC M GR ANU AP AL HI / C RO TU RIP T ND LINEA SC A LE TEXTU RA SCRIP T D/ SE CI HIC IN YP GL LY SC HW G AB AC HE PH R GRA PHI C HUMA BLACKLETTER NIST FRAK TUR SLAB NIS GEOM ETRIC T SANS SERIF SERIF HUMA NIST MA HU . and respected experience in the typographic field. The BS’s usage of Glyphic. rather than those typefaces that are drawn with the built-up method. rather he groups them all into one category. Lineal was the usual term for sans serif and would be until the late 1980s. They produce the British Standards as well as being responsible for the English publication of international and European standards in the UK. the Thames and Hudson Manual of Typography included. He wrote many books on typography. Other than that. Graphic and Script are direct holdovers from the Vox ATypI. Manual or Graphic. These faces are usually all capitals. This system is also heavily based on the Vox System.25 SYSTEMS FOR CLASSIFYING TYPOGRAPHY: A STUDY IN NAMING FREQUENCY TAYLOR CHILDERS. McLean doesn’t subclass the topical typefaces. there is no failure in that approach in that he doesn’t resort to using a miscellaneous sub section. the most accepted standard in topical typeface classification. McLean’s system seems to fit the most widely accepted style. like Eric Gill’s Perpetua Titling. scholars had dropped the term Mechanistic to refer to slab serif type. GE TR RA OT GR MECH SITION NE TRAN ALS GE RA ANIST O- LD IC B r I TIs H s TA N d Ards sys TeM Great Britain British Standards (BS) is a service provider for businesses in 150 countries all over the world. Geralde and Transitional serif typefaces. and those typefaces modeled on that aesthetic. Humanist. By 1980. Winter 2013 [page 6 ] DI DO N ES LD E AN S SIT IO T HA Mes A N d HU dso N MA N U A L o F T y P o Gr A P H y DIDO NE NA L Rurari McLean Ruari McLean started as a designer for Penguin books on their Puffin Picture Books line. especially since there are several old style serif categories. which at this time. but Slab. It’s an interesting option. PA R SON S journal FOR INFO RM ATIO N M APPING V olume V issue 1 . It has been updated. JESSICA GRISCTI. The British Standards doesn’t include a Blackletter category. There are no subcategories. O GR TE SQ . which would fall into his Manual category. because even though they’ve all been lumped into one. and there may have been a rejection for their use in a system for British standards of typography. he has a category for Script typefaces. There are also the four main groups of Sans Serif and Blackletter typefaces. As a result. Finally. though that decision is probably based upon the fact that most Blackletter faces are inherently German. but there could be. © 2013 PARSONS JOURNAL FOR INFORMATION MAPPING AND PARSONS INSTITUTE FOR INFORMATION MAPPING . he has varied. In 1965.

Ornamental and Period. T He A rT o F T y P o Gr A P Hy: A N IN T rod U C T Io N T o T y P o .o Gr A P Hy Martin Solomon Martin Solomon makes a solid attempt to simplify the Topical category. and period referring to faces that reference a period of time. Ornamental describing embellished typefaces. if a little unconventional. and Blackletter. only his language is slightly different. or a specific art movement (later to be used by Bevington/Chong). Conversely. Display. and Gothic Antique instead of Fraktur under the Blackletter section. while Gothic script was based on the formal cursive handwriting of the chanceries in Germany–what most other scholars refer to as Blackletter. or text faces that were specifically developed for books. Solomon uses three categories: Script. because Script faces are often regimented and formal.”4 Lawson’s system is consistent and easy to follow. Other scholars have chosen not to differentiate these types from their old style counterparts. It makes sense to separate the Scripts out of the Display category. He falls in with the usual tri-categorical solution for topical faces: Script. Solomon separated Old Style (15th Century) typefaces from what he calls Primer typefaces. the 18th century. The three categories do a succinct job of describing the topical category. he has called the sans serif category Gothic while the usual term of his time was Lineal. As for Sans Serif and Blackletter. PA R SON S journal FOR INFO RM ATIO N M APPING V olume V issue 1 . Winter 2013 [page 7 ] © 2013 PARSONS JOURNAL FOR INFORMATION MAPPING AND PARSONS INSTITUTE FOR INFORMATION MAPPING OLD TIAN ROMAN STY VENE LE SC T RI PT CU RS IV E R PE IO D SANS SERIF ORA TIV E TRANSITIO NAL SCRIPT TEXT GOT HIC EGY PTIA N FR EN CH . his subclasses are consistent with the classifications of many other scholars. JESSICA GRISCTI. He uses Gothic to describe grotesque sans serif.25 SYSTEMS FOR CLASSIFYING TYPOGRAPHY: A STUDY IN NAMING FREQUENCY TAYLOR CHILDERS.IC o N . like Century Book. The Latin script refers to a formalized Script based on the Italian hand. AND LIBERTY LEBEN ROTUNDA GO AN THI TIQ C UE GOTH IC HU MA B AS R TA ORN DA LA TI N AME NTA DIS PLA EC YD L BLACKLETTER ITALIC NIS GEOMETRIC GO TH IC SERIF AL DI NE S SE QU RI AR F E FA T FA N CE PRIM ER TR A N S. DER MO MOD ERN A N ATo M y o F A TyPeFACe Alexander Lawson Alexander Lawson begins his treatise on classification with what should be on the mind of most typographic scholars: “It must be admitted that the classification of printing types is a controversial subject and one upon which little amicable agreement may be expected. or name them based on their century of design. but it is a better solution than trying to over classify topical typography only to find that a miscellaneous category is still needed. Display becomes a catch-all.

in most systems. Bringhurst uses rather poetic language to describe the eight divisions that make up his system: Renaissance (15th & 16th centuries). PA R SON S journal FOR INFO RM ATIO N M APPING V olume V issue 1 . Dixon doesn’t needlessly flip from Humanist and Geralde to 18th century to the cryptic “modern. Since the onset of their popularity. Vox’s system was inadequate to cover much of the contemporary design work in the typographic field. Realist (19th & early 20th centuries). Winter 2013 [page 8 ] © 2013 PARSONS JOURNAL FOR INFORMATION MAPPING AND PARSONS INSTITUTE FOR INFORMATION MAPPING .” There should not be a Problems category in the Sans Serif section. historian. The Los Angeles native who currently resides in Canada is a poet. Should there be a sans serif that doesn’t actually fit in those categories. and all terms are that which describe the movement. It’s consistent. a Realist sans serif would have an unmodulated stroke and vertical axis. ES SIC SERIF TR GE RA O PO O QU ST M OT DE N EO O GR LD NE E AN E SI TI O ES N GE RN LYRIC DID AL WED DE AL MO GR RNIST S ON SLAB E T H e e Le M e N Ts oF TyPoG rAPH I C sTyL e eye MA GA ZIN e V 1 9 I5 Robert Bringhurst Robert Bringhurst is a man of many trades. AND LIBERTY LEBEN INDUSTRIAL/ VERNACULAR O RE AT RN N N GB AM AI S DI EN N SA TA CE REAL IST PR MA OCES NIP SED UL AT ED SAM L CU RV ILI NE AR PLED RIC ET ST OM NI GE DER MO S PRO BLE DISPLAY MS CA IG LL RA PH IC ROMANTIC BLACKLE TTER HUMANIST SANS AL HUMA NIST CL GEO AS M IC ETR T . there is always an outlier.25 SYSTEMS FOR CLASSIFYING TYPOGRAPHY: A STUDY IN NAMING FREQUENCY TAYLOR CHILDERS. Geometric Modernist (20th century). Bringhurst’s book contains a classification system based in a chronology and calligraphy. book designer. typographer. And that might be the saving grace of her system. all other typographic scholars have considered them to be a topical typeface. Bringhurst uses the same name for serif and sans serif faces. For example. JESSICA GRISCTI. she doesn’t muddle it with conflicting categories. and linguist. Neoclassical (18th century). It is unnecessarily and undermines the efficacy of the rest of her system. and her handling of the serif category is rather sublime. Catherine Dixon By the time Dixon wrote her article for Eye Magazine in 1995. At least her topicals section doesn’t have a catch-all other category. The only problem is. Instead he combines the two in one category based on style and chronology. when a scholar tries too specifically to define the myriad world of topical typography. She uses the most commonly accepted term for each section. she’s envisioned a system of her own. A Realist serif would be exactly the same in style with the edition of abrupt feet with equal weight. and so. Baroque (17th century). Lyrical Modernist (20th century) and Postmodern (late 20th & early 21st century). they’ve been the easiest of the three main sections to sub-classify. Romantic (18th and 19th centuries).

It is a rich and fairly complex system benefiting for its increased specificity. Haley’s typeface classification system is based on history and evolution. Unlike Bringhurst. typographer and author. Egyptian or Slab Serif (Clarendon). these often get lumped into an “other” category or they become part of a multilayer system with a too many terms. He uses the terms Old Style. An enlarged. Modern (Bodoni). editor-in-chief of U&lc. Editors & Students when she struggled to find a textbook for her type classes. Haley acknowledges that there are few things in typography that can be certainly defined and hopes his system leaves more room for debate compared to the more standardized systems. a typography professor was inspired to write Thinking With Type: A Critical Guide For Designers. second edition. There is no better way to handle the oft-fought-over topical typefaces than to ignore them completely. In the book she portrays a classification system that has seven categories with corresponding exemplary typefaces: Humanist or Old Style (Sabon). R. Lupton clearly separates serif and sans serif. Glyphic. Lupton published Thinking with Type in 2004. that might be for the best. Transitional Sans Serif (Helvetica) and Geometric Sans Serif (Futura). Through his system. Lupton completely ignores display faces and calligraphics. Transitional. . Sans Serif. yet important differences make subcategories almost impossible.25 SYSTEMS FOR CLASSIFYING TYPOGRAPHY: A STUDY IN NAMING FREQUENCY TAYLOR CHILDERS. Evolution and Design of the Letters We Use Today. making her logic easy to follow. transitional and geometric). but awkward perhaps because it has many classes within unequal categories and sub-categories. She uses the same three terms to describe each (humanist. Scripts and Graphic. arrived in 2010. As seen with other type classification systems. Modern. Allen Haley wrote Alphabet: The History. Subtle. Slab Serif. Haley hopes to have found a compromise between using a simple sans versus serif system and a system based off of hundreds of classifications. Transitional (Baskerville). AND LIBERTY LEBEN HUMANIST ETR SQU ARE IC TRANS OM GE N G EO RO TE S G RA PH GE TE SQ UE O M IC SANS SERIF Q ET U C RI ITION AL E SC RI PT S HU MA VEN ETIA O GR N SANS OLD STYLE NI ST GLYPHIC ALDINE OLD STYLE SLAB SERI F CLARENDON CL AR IO V RE NA IV AL MODERNS LS N TR A N SIT SI TI O AN N ONE A TR L A LP H A B e T DID MODE RN T HIN k IN G w IT H Ty P e Allan Haley Former president of International Typeface Corporation. Winter 2013 [page 9 ] © 2013 PARSONS JOURNAL FOR INFORMATION MAPPING AND PARSONS INSTITUTE FOR INFORMATION MAPPING SLA EN DO BS ER DUT CH SERIF IF N EO CL 19T T EN HC A 20TH CENT. Clarendon.5 Ellen Lupton Ellen Lupton. Humanist Sans Serif (Gill Sans). PA R SON S journal FOR INFO RM ATIO N M APPING V olume V issue 1 . Writers. JESSICA GRISCTI.

but the classification system is still based on the initial concept for extreme simplification. He sometimes refers to Century Expanded as a “Modified Egyptian. she was the creative and production director of Upper & lowercase. including Old Style. Century Expanded (Egyptian). AND LIBERTY LEBEN CALLIGRA DW HAN AC KL ET TE EGY PTIA RIT N FO ING R CA SU AL PHIC BL SA NS SE RI F HU MA RM A L NIS SCRIPT TIC TIT LIN G TIVE/ DECORA DISPLAY E YL ST O LD YP SLAB/ SQUAR E NSI HI C GL des I G N IN G w I T H TyPe James Craig Cooper Union professor James Craig wrote Designing with Type for his students. The first edition of Designing With Type goes back to 1961. when the book was first published most typesetting was still hot metal.” and contemporary digital practice. Before that. © 2013 PARSONS JOURNAL FOR INFORMATION MAPPING AND PARSONS INSTITUTE FOR INFORMATION MAPPING . Mr. Humanistic. The book is probably the widest selling book through the decades on typography.25 SYSTEMS FOR CLASSIFYING TYPOGRAPHY: A STUDY IN NAMING FREQUENCY TAYLOR CHILDERS. Aside from the cheeky title of her book. He refers to these as the five classical divisions and associates a representative typeface for each: Garamond (Old Style). the awardwinning international journal for typography and typographic design. In 2005. It is the most similar to the resolved version that the author’s presents at the end of this paper. in excess of 300. Bodoni (Modern). Stritzver’s classification system is rather clever.000 copies. As is common. The only problem there is her peculiar use of 19th and 20th century Grotesque instead of the more popular grotesque and Neo-grotesque. and Helvetica (Sans Serif). albeit oversimplified five categories. “desktop publishing. ENT E HC 20T TESQU GRO STYL E SERIF T. It is effective. Geometric and Grotesque. professional digital typesetting processes. Craig was frustrated by his experience when learning typography at Yale and set out to simplify the educational experience of learning about type.” Over the years of Designing with Type contributing authors (William Bevington and Irene Korol Scala) have contributed to up-to-date character of the book. Transitional and Modern as well as the subcategories of Sans Serif. the book evolved along with technologies in phototypesetting. It serves to cover all of the faces in the category. PA R SON S journal FOR INFO RM ATIO N M APPING V olume V issue 1 . Interestingly. but the Decorative/Display section acts as the catch-all for everything that doesn’t fit everywhere else. Craig published the fifth edition of Designing with Type: The Essential Guide to Typography. JESSICA GRISCTI. TR AN TRA N E CE QU S TH TE 9 1 RO G SIT IO NA L M OD CLAR ER TIO NA N END L ON Ty P e r U Les! Ilene Sritzver Stritzver was most well known for her position as director of Typeface Development for International Typeface Corporation (ITC). Baskerville (Transitional). but sloppy and allows many forms to be jumbled together in this “catch-all” category. She uses the most popular terms to describe her subcategories. the classification of the topical typefaces leaves something to be desired. Winter 2013 [page 1 0 ] MODERN GEOMETRIC SANS SERIF OLD . He has remained loyal to his original.

. Widths of letters have to some extent been made consistent with one another. the category has the feel of an ‘other’ category for the few sans serif faces that do not fit into his general Sans Serif category. which distinguishes them from the more colorful and aggressive grotesques.. of course..”6 While his disdain for the class is obvious. But the system is stuck in the past in that he’s still separating the italic faces from their roman counterparts. Furthermore. where Bantram means. those used for Victorian jobbing work. AND LIBERTY LEBEN EGY PTIA N SA NS SE RI F TRA NSI TIO NA L T y Pe ForM s : A H I sTory Alan Bartram Bartram’s serif classification is consistent. digital type produced with open type technology. which by his standards of classification. Therefore. is rather peculiar. quite abandon accepted ideas of good letter design in their attempts to achieve impact. his choice to separate the Grotesque faces from the Sans Serif umbrella that most scholars place them under. Winter 2013 [page 1 1 ] © 2013 PARSONS JOURNAL FOR INFORMATION MAPPING AND PARSONS INSTITUTE FOR INFORMATION MAPPING YL E MODERN . especially in the heavier weights (which can be extreme). The only difference between the two is that Dowding’s category refers to photo type.7 Bantram is the first person since Geoffrey Dowding to use the term 20th century to describe types made in digital printing age based on the model of the 15th century metal fonts. just becoming popular at that time. what is not obvious are the characteristics that define a letter as Grotesque as a opposed to Sans Serif. grotesques have moved into a world of their own. “Whereas sans serif types are generally more observant of the classic. traditional structure... JESSICA GRISCTI. shapes are often distorted. “Sanserifs are largely monoline. he uses the popular manner of classification for Old Face types: organizing them by country of origin. early versions. Bantram says.this is really a classical type without serifs” would be called humanist sans serif by any other contemporary scholar. Of the choice.It is not named grotesque for nothing. O LD ST PA R SON S journal FOR INFO RM ATIO N M APPING V olume V issue 1 .25 SYSTEMS FOR CLASSIFYING TYPOGRAPHY: A STUDY IN NAMING FREQUENCY TAYLOR CHILDERS.

for the Blackletter classes. Each of these have three divisions: Sans Serif. and Modern. These begin with two classes: Text and Display. Still. Serif.. These two major groups divide typefaces into equal fields. they wished to identify a numerically logical sequence of main divisions. The Bevington/Chong divisions constrain the taxonomy to an equal division between essentially text. The second schema is derived by arranging the typeface designs within a scatterplot field along two distinctive dimensions for each sub-category. First. SL C C T ON EM SERIF T O- H IS UM AN AN OLD M TRANSITIONAL HU N IS DER T STY MO LE T y Po G r A P H I C sys TMes: Pr ACTI Ce & Pro Ced U re William Bevington and Siu Chong For an upcoming publication. Winter 2013 [page 1 2 ] © 2013 PARSONS JOURNAL FOR INFORMATION MAPPING AND PARSONS INSTITUTE FOR INFORMATION MAPPING . To achieve this Topical Display faces are recognized through their “noun-value. Freehand having Cursive.e. and Topical. The goal was also to deal with the greatly increased number of display and specialty faces. here’s to hoping that it becomes a widely accepted practice. This was to be done without using an “other” or catch-all category. and naming protocols that have arisen in the last century. PA R SON S journal FOR INFO RM ATIO N M APPING V olume V issue 1 . the drawback of this is another unfamiliar method that type-users might not recognize it at the outset. particularly so in the last several decades.CIN STYFREN RE PLA C REF EREN CI NG RO R TU TOPICAL BR U SH ET TE ND KL CU RS IV E A SC RIP T FR EE BL TEXTURA AC DISPLAY HA ND CURS IVE AB SE GEOME RIF TRIC TEXT F GEOMETRI CO RA NTE RY M P SA NS SE RI P. because it certainly is the only innovative. for the Sans Serif sub-classification the characters are compared against dimensions of stroke thickness variation and x-height value. and Freehand under the Display category. This places some fonts at one extreme of “Humanist” and others at the extreme of “Geometric. However brilliant. how they design-reference aspects of Place. viable solution presented among all of the 25 analyzed systems. while compactness and obliqueness from another dimension. Blackletter. JESSICA GRISCTI. or Time (in the system called Place Referencing.25 SYSTEMS FOR CLASSIFYING TYPOGRAPHY: A STUDY IN NAMING FREQUENCY TAYLOR CHILDERS. for example). and Brush. AND LIBERTY LEBEN TIMEREFRENCING G LE. Script. The logic continues to the next step with three categories under each of these groupings. taxonomies.” In another example. William Bevington and Siu Chong classify fonts through two organizational schemas.” i. Style Referencing. versus non-text faces. and Slab Serif under the Text category. For example. (Serif having Old Style. and Time Referencing). Style. aspects of Gothic (angular) to Roman (roundness) form one dimension. Transitional. As the taxonomy is logically formed of two major groups with three divisions within each of these and three sub-divisions within each of these the eighteen final classes are generated in a symmetrical pattern which assists in the memorization of the classes.

Russia. Like the Bevington/ Chong system there is a clean symmetry to the logic which yields fifteen categories. Display and Script only reference structure of typography. It works for what it is intended for. For being such a simple system. MA TRIC G NI ST GEO SERIF HU ME F o N TFo N T Fontfont is a type foundry centered in Berlin. Rotunda. One niggling argument is that five divisions. Adding a second layer of sub-categories would substantially increase the amount of information and clarity in the system. We see a large amount of orange. Not only do they use “Techno. Fraktur and Uncial may all be needed in the Blackletter category. Serif. Schwabacher. this is yet another system with an unresolved set of topical categories. Any typeface could fit in one of the six categories in the system. Currently there is nothing that references time or style. although it looks nicely balanced. Sans Serif. or misclassify them somewhat. Slavonic on the first level. So. Their two level system is divided into Blackletter. Slab. Display seems more than just redundant. selling typefaces. A strong advantage is the inclusion of Slavonic characters. Germany created in 1990 by Erik Spiekermann and Neville Brody These two men wanted to push the limits of typography with a collection unlike any other out there. Serif. In the end though. Sans. Decorative.” which is not only repetitive. but this isn’t the case for the whole system. is. Winter 2013 [page 1 3 ] SA NS UN M AL O P LY H IC DE RN LA GROTE SQUE TI N SLA B PA r AT y P e Paratype was established as a font department of Paragraph International in 1989 in Moscow. Each first level category then has five subcategories. ParaType has a slightly different way of classifying type.” they also use “Decorative. Script. The Serif and Sans Serif categories provide traditional sub-classifications. PA R SON S journal FOR INFO RM ATIO N M APPING V olume V issue 1 . JESSICA GRISCTI. Paratype appear to be searching for subcategories in Decorative category. but rather ridiculous in a taxonomy of this depth: Display. for certain first level categories excessive. AND LIBERTY LEBEN MONOLINE WRITT EN BRU HAND RIC DISPLAY FO RM AL TO HIS CO RA TI VE SP EN CE RIA SH TE DE A L ET TE KL XT PE N UR AC A SCRIPT DISPLAY T E YP W RI TE R R N SC RIP T ROT BL UND EXP ERI ME NTA L A TECHNO SCHWABACHER BLACKLETTER OLD ST YLE FRAK TURA L ICA SANS SERIF SERIF TR AN SIT AB ION SL NEO-GROTES. it is a one dimensional system that must ignore many designs. making the chart very well balanced. Though there are a fair number of naming terms. indicating an abundance of Topicals. they are certainly informative and follow the same ideology as the Serif and Sans Serif subcategories. Blackletter. and as noted. Textura. FontFont Fontshop has a one layer system for classifying typefaces. Taking a multilingual approach to typeface design.25 SYSTEMS FOR CLASSIFYING TYPOGRAPHY: A STUDY IN NAMING FREQUENCY TAYLOR CHILDERS. © 2013 PARSONS JOURNAL FOR INFORMATION MAPPING AND PARSONS INSTITUTE FOR INFORMATION MAPPING . it is for the most part successful.

Slab Serif. Linotype’s classification system may be argued as collection of half-executed ideas. and Non-Latin. was founded by the inventor of the Linotype machine. Adobe Type Library is a collection of original typefaces designed specifically for electronic publishing. Adobe included a type classification system in the Adobe Type Guide. Maybe it is possible for typography classification to be watered down to an ultra simple form. © 2013 PARSONS JOURNAL FOR INFORMATION MAPPING AND PARSONS INSTITUTE FOR INFORMATION MAPPING . Winter 2013 [page 1 4 ] SL AB SE RI F 8 E TR AN SIT IO DIDO NE NA L A do B e T y P e GU Ide Known as the first name in digital type. Script. such as Helvetica. to name just a few in the Sans Serif category. but this would require committing to the idea fully and grouping other classes as extensively as Sans Serif for every example of such. Blackletter. an 125 year old type foundry. Display. you’ve cast a line of type!” were the words spoken by the editor of the New York Tribune that inevitably gave the Linotype typesetting machine its name. Glyphic. Transitional. Adobe assembled the Adobe Type Guide as a reference for designers.25 SYSTEMS FOR CLASSIFYING TYPOGRAPHY: A STUDY IN NAMING FREQUENCY TAYLOR CHILDERS. Sans Serif. AND LIBERTY LEBEN OUTL H US BR SC H TO AN OL D ED CA PI TA & ATIVE DECOR AY DISPL E FR XOT EE IC FO / RM STEN CIL INE LS IN LIN E SW DECORATIVE & DISPLAY RI AS PT H & ER ETT CKL N BLA ROKE B SANS SERIF COMPU RELATE TER D BLAC KLETT ER E / FAC OLD SCRIP T VENETIA SERIF SP E AC D GA N RA MOD MODE RN TR SA S AN ERN NS ITI ON SE AL RI M F O NO LD L IN o Ty Pe “Ottmar. To aid designers when it comes to selecting type. but ultimately realized that typography cannot be classified in such a simple way. Linotype Corporation. Garalde. They are the home to some of the mos esteemed and time honored typefaces. It is a simplified version of the system adopted by the Association Typographique Internationale (ATypI). a two layer system is needed. Adobe uses their PostScript software technology and craftsmanship of original typefaces to master the Adobe Type Library. Despite this. Ottmar Mergenthaler. The system includes Venetian. Linotype today now operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of Monotype Imaging Holdings. Didone. It seems as though the company wanted to keep it very simple so clients could easily find what they were looking for. FontFont is the closest to such a system. Symbol. PA R SON S journal FOR INFO RM ATIO N M APPING V olume V issue 1 . In order to reference specialty faces. desktop publishers and business users. For these and other reasons Linotype is well respected in the global design community. Frutiger. and Univers. JESSICA GRISCTI. an organization that sets standards for the typographic industry.

If this system was originally created in the early 1800 s. the Dry Transfer. But the Sans Serif category is not. JESSICA GRISCTI. A simple grotesque. typographic classification system that is inconsistent in its ideology. latin and old style). Winter 2013 [page 1 5 ] LATIN © 2013 PARSONS JOURNAL FOR INFORMATION MAPPING AND PARSONS INSTITUTE FOR INFORMATION MAPPING . but this was developed in the new millennium and there are too many sans serif faces to lump them into one category. EG YP TI AN PA R SON S journal FOR INFO RM ATIO N M APPING V olume V issue 1 . England. modern. With the rise of Adobe and Macintosh. neo-grotesque and transitional would allow Letraset to keep their one layer format as well as keep a consistent ideology. Letraset uses a one layer. They revolutionized the way the commercial artist may transfer pre printed lettering quickly and efficiently with the creation of what is still very popular today. AND LIBERTY LEBEN OLD STY LE SA NS SE RI F MO DER N L e Tr A seT In 1959 Letraset was founded in London. there may not have been a need to break up the sans serif category. Letraset converted their library to open type. The serif categories are determined by style (egyptian.25 SYSTEMS FOR CLASSIFYING TYPOGRAPHY: A STUDY IN NAMING FREQUENCY TAYLOR CHILDERS.

JESSICA GRISCTI. the team devised two charts for the serif classification. AND LIBERTY LEBEN serifs 1: Part one of a collective count of all serif classifications. The outer circles document the usage of the term throughout the 25 classification systems studied. The outer circles document the usage of the term throughout the 25 classification systems studied. the team devised two charts for the serif classification. VERNACULAR PRIM CEN TIO L T ICA NIS LYR DER MO VIN CO N D GL YP HI C ER EN SE AN D IN CI SE D TIQ UA BO OK ALDIN APPEARANCE E USEAGE TEXT ITALIC VENETIAN HUM AN IST COUNTRY DU TCH GE RA LD E FR EN N E CH EN DO NAL I GL RN DI SH ITA DE TRANSI TIO LIA LATIN MO N PA R SON S journal FOR INFO RM ATIO N M APPING V olume V issue 1 .25 SYSTEMS FOR CLASSIFYING TYPOGRAPHY: A STUDY IN NAMING FREQUENCY TAYLOR CHILDERS. Because of the large amount of terms. Winter 2013 [page 1 6 ] © 2013 PARSONS JOURNAL FOR INFORMATION MAPPING AND PARSONS INSTITUTE FOR INFORMATION MAPPING . Because of the large amount of terms. 17TH CENT ENT HC 16T 18 TH CE NT RE L VA VI PO 19 STMO DE RN TH CE NT CENTURY 20TH CENT ROMANTIC PERIOD SERIF OC LA S A SIC L NE OL CA L SI D ST YL E AS OL CL RENAISSAN AL D PR E FA SSIC CE CLA CE serifs 2: Part two showing a collective count of all serif classifications.

Winter 2013 [page 1 7 ] SQUARE NE GR OOT ES L/ EA LE LIN EA LIN IC GOTH QU E © 2013 PARSONS JOURNAL FOR INFORMATION MAPPING AND PARSONS INSTITUTE FOR INFORMATION MAPPING . ITALIE RA RY NNE W ED GE TE M PO ME CHA TIC NIS MECH ANIST IC C R LA EN DO N sans serifs: A collective count of all sans serif classifications. The outer circles document the usage of the term throughout the 25 classification systems studied. JESSICA GRISCTI. The outer circles document the usage of the term throughout the 25 classification systems studied.25 SYSTEMS FOR CLASSIFYING TYPOGRAPHY: A STUDY IN NAMING FREQUENCY TAYLOR CHILDERS. SQ UA 20TH CENTURY GOTHIC TI CO SI NT TR AN EM PO RA RY O N AL G M EO ET RE HUM EGY T FA C FA E U ENT HC 19T HIC T GO RY REALIST RI PTI C ANIS T GROTESQ AN UE PR OB LE MS HI C GEO MO METRIC DER NIS T GL YP PA R SON S journal FOR INFO RM ATIO N M APPING V olume V issue 1 . AND LIBERTY LEBEN CO N slab serifs: A collective count of all slab serif classifications.

Winter 2013 [page 1 8 ] © 2013 PARSONS JOURNAL FOR INFORMATION MAPPING AND PARSONS INSTITUTE FOR INFORMATION MAPPING . RICAL AL EN M ALS/T /IN CO NU CI L CIS MA HISTO ITLIN G ED script: A collective count of all script classifications.25 SYSTEMS FOR CLASSIFYING TYPOGRAPHY: A STUDY IN NAMING FREQUENCY TAYLOR CHILDERS. MIS SAMPLED SHAD ROMA ED SH AD OW ED YL ER PE MO EF ER EN CE RE VE R SE D R EAC PL N ER EF RIA N-VA NTS RI O ST D TE CH N O NC E CE NO SP AC ED CEL TIM E E-R FE RE LAN EOU S TOP ICA L MANIPULA TED TYPEWRIT ER IONIC DECORATE D INL INE S I TR AL CAL GR LIGR APH IC IN DU ED -R HAND-TOOLED EX EL P I ER AT M EN TA L OU TL IN GR AP HIC O RN AP AM HI C EN TA CAPIT L E/ ST P. The outer circles document the usage of the term throughout the 25 classification systems studied. LATIN G MO NO LIN E GO TH IC AE LI C SP C EN ER IA N EXO TIC SWAS H CURV ILINE AR CUR SIVE EE HA ND S CA L UA HA N DW RI TT EN BR FORMAL H US FR PA R SON S journal FOR INFO RM ATIO N M APPING V olume V issue 1 . AND LIBERTY LEBEN display: A collective count of all display classifications. The outer circles document the usage of the term throughout the 25 classification systems studied. JESSICA GRISCTI.

25 SYSTEMS FOR CLASSIFYING TYPOGRAPHY: A STUDY IN NAMING FREQUENCY TAYLOR CHILDERS. The three areas distribute typographic forms over nineteen final classes. IQUA BROKEN AR ST DA UN IC AL BA RIDA HYB ANT AC HE R FRAKTURA resolved: The collective results of the authors’ investigations composed into a final taxonomic model for Typeface classification. Winter 2013 [page 1 9 ] IC TH GO TE XT UR A CHE R AL IPT SCR HAND WRITT EN VENETI AN GE SL UN O IF RM SE RA LD RIF TRA NS ION IST RE VI L VA E MODERN AL © 2013 PARSONS JOURNAL FOR INFORMATION MAPPING AND PARSONS INSTITUTE FOR INFORMATION MAPPING . The outer circles document the usage of the term throughout the 25 classification systems studied. AND LIBERTY LEBEN blackletter: A collective count of all blackletter classifications. while respecting the necessary sub-categories in other groups. JESSICA GRISCTI. FRAKTURA RO TUN DA RO TU SC HW AB N GR OT ES Q UE LE BLACK TTER G RA PH IC D A FO NEO -GR OTE SQU E TOPICAL SANS TEX TUR SCH A WAB RM A GEOMETRIC LE LD M HU IS AN T SERIF AB STY O E NN LIE CLAR ENDO N ITA PA R SON S journal FOR INFO RM ATIO N M APPING V olume V issue 1 . This model respects the full range of naming conventions without chasing Topicals down into subcategories that are too granular. It is therefore more usual than over-simplified orders and viable for extensive typeface class naming uses. It is felt that a very high level of specificity is achieved with this model without becoming overtly caught-up-up in unnecessary jargon.

The serifs are hairline thin and unbracketed. and more mechanical than the Grotesques. Eighteenth century Transitional types like Deberny & Peignot’s Baskerville had an even stronger contrast between thick and thin strokes. often rectilinear serifs a thick or thicker than the rest of the letter. The category could also have been called French. After all. The body of the letters are constructed from simple geometric shapes. The final category in serif typefaces is Slab Serifs. we revert to the most popular name. Instead of using the misleading header of Calligraphics.as a modern civilization. The axis of the curve in most letters is oblique as compared to the vertical axis of the next movement in old style typography. Examples are Bembo and Jenson. These type are characterized by short. From there. Serif. often they are monoline. As such. Venetian types are humanist serif faces developed in the 15th century. they were used as display faces. we’ve chosen to divide our text faces based on the serifs. The design is often informed by the classical Roman letter. and therefore have some holdover from their predecessors. never caught on with the same fervor that Transitional did. Rather than Classical and Moderns. made to look as if they were developed by machine. Modern types have the strongest contrast between thick and thin lines. Winter 2013 [page 2 0 ] © 2013 PARSONS JOURNAL FOR INFORMATION MAPPING AND PARSONS INSTITUTE FOR INFORMATION MAPPING . Whereas the geometric abandons all notion of being derived from earlier typography. rather than only those that were cut in France. the letters were set wider and the x-height was raised. and Slab Serif. Geometric Sans Serifs left behind all of their historical connotations. typographers wouldn’t have considered themselves in a transitional period. we are no longer trained to read letters so dense and PA R SON S journal FOR INFO RM ATIO N M APPING V olume V issue 1 . They were cleaner. In 1954. Clarendon slabs are of similar or smaller size to the body of the letter. the alternate name for these types. can be described as follows. should the designer choose. Maximilien Vox was the first typographic scholar to divide his system into a similar three categories. and they are bracketed. ser IF There are four main categories of serif typefaces: Old Style. like Berthold’s Azkidenz Grotesk were the first sans serif typeface. There is little contrast between horizontals and verticals. because it clearly and accurately describes all of the types that would be listed underneath. Modern. and informs the decisions the designer makes to his fresh. Our subclasses of Old Style faces. Grotesques. However. in the beginning. T o P IC A Ls While in the days of Johannes Gutenberg. Geralde. Many grotesque faces. AND LIBERTY LEBEN A reso LV ed sysTeM We have chosen to divide our resolved Typeface Classification system into three parts. Their stroke contrast was minimal. Transitional. but left unbracketed. Geralde typefaces have more contrast between the thickness and thinness of strokes and more delicate proportions than the Venetian types. Sans Serif and Topical. thick. The most celebrated humanist sans serif is Eric Gill’s Gill Sans. Italienne slabs are also bracketed. a Serif or a Sans Serif could surely be used as a display face. so much so that the letters almost glitter on the page. JESSICA GRISCTI. we’ve chosen to name our display faces Topical. which is of course takes its name from Didot and Bodoni. Modern typography has almost become synonymous with Didone typography. Realist. The Neo-Grotesque was a large part of Swiss typography. sANs These four Sans Serif subcategories have been standard since the Vox ATypI system in 1961. Gerald is a term coined by Maximilien Vox. Slab serifs are heavy. At the time that they were cutting types. the Neo-Grotesque typefaces evolved in the 1950 s. but thicker than the body of the letter. two prolific typographers who practiced in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. monoline letter. the Transitionals. The term was only given to those typefaces after the beginning of Modern typography. have been drawn with a great degree of varying weights and widths to accommodate for their different uses in display design. the blackletter was the most common text face. and the lowercase e often has a stylized slanted cross stroke. Modern typography started with typographers Giambattista Bodoni and Firmin Didot. like Helvetica. The section meant to hold typefaces made in the Gerald style. These faces grew out of Modern typefaces. the humanist sans serif draws from the classical manuscript hand. and ascenders with slanted serifs. for those types designed post 19th century in the style of either Venetian. They were the most mechanical of all of the sans serifs. We’ve also included a section for Revival Old Style faces. but we felt that was too limiting to its intention. a nod to Claude Garamond and Aldus Manutius. which mix serif and sans-serif types between the two groups. and so here. many find issue with the name. and there is little differentiation between each letter. there is a degree of contrast between thick and thin strokes. We created the category Uniform Slab Serifs to cover slab faces that are of similar weight to the body of the letter.25 SYSTEMS FOR CLASSIFYING TYPOGRAPHY: A STUDY IN NAMING FREQUENCY TAYLOR CHILDERS. bracketed serifs. now. They originated in the nineteenth century. or Transitional typefaces. These faces marked the difference between the Geralde and Modern didone typography.

4 Alexander Lawson. 1899). PA R SON S journal FOR INFO RM ATIO N M APPING V olume V issue 1 .25 SYSTEMS FOR CLASSIFYING TYPOGRAPHY: A STUDY IN NAMING FREQUENCY TAYLOR CHILDERS. Graphic. Bartram. We felt that neither solution was acceptable. TX. Rotunda. 183. Liberty currently lives and studies in New York City. Display faces are becoming more and more popular. (London: The British Library & Oak Knoll Press. blackletters is much like modern script. 2013. (New York: The De Vinne Press. N o T es 1 Theodore Low De Vinne. and S-shaped strokes. classified and separated from display typography. BFA and BA In Communication Design and Writing at Parsons The New School for Design. Schwabacher blackletters are the earliest German print typefaces. Alphabet: The History. The capital letters are created from a rounded C-shape. Formal scripts are based on the writing of calligraphy masters.html. and drawn with sharp. Liberty Leben is currently pursuing BFA in Communication Design at Parsons The New School for Design. 7 We would like to thank Professor Paul Shaw for acquainting us with so many typeface classifying systems and moving us deeply down the path of taxonomic typography. The letters are drawn either with a metal pen nib or quill. Liberty Leben was born and raised in Wichita. and parts of Germany. Typeforms: A History. Anatomy of a Typeface. The Practice of Typography. Textura is the most calligraphic form of blackletter. 10–13. Godine. so please allow for some slight inconsistencies with the translation. 3 The system was published in German. Strokes vary in width. 6 Alan Bartram. there are no real standards except that the letters run together. and far too many faces to leave them absent from our system. blackletter faces are now regarded as decorative. Jessica Griscti is a part time designer for C&G Partners LLC. they are bold. It is closer to the manuscript handwriting that the Textura face. http://www. England. The letters are tall. She has always had a particular fascination with the art of typography. She’s been nursing an unhealthy fondness for all things typography before she learned to read. 2 The system was published in German. (New York: WatsonGuptill Publications) 1995. and so they need a bold category. 77. Typeforms: a history. but spent her final years of high school living in Austin. JESSICA GRISCTI. 7–13. only more are expected to appear. 1990). Evolution and Design of Letters We Use Today. KS. By 1530. 8 Linotype. 2007). so please allow for some slight inconsistencies with the translation. Haley. These typefaces often reference the style of something else. There are simply too many faces to qualify.linotype.” Accessed January 7. narrow. The New School for Design. because Display is a tired term that has failed too many times before. as the most oft-used text face in Germany. statement pieces that aren’t meant for paragraphs of text. Winter 2013 [page 2 1 ] © 2013 PARSONS JOURNAL FOR INFORMATION MAPPING AND PARSONS INSTITUTE FOR INFORMATION MAPPING . whether because he has chosen to attempt classification or ignore the types entirely. AND LIBERTY LEBEN calligraphic. Handwritten scripts come from the more active modern hand. The most difficult task any typographic scholar has set out to do is classify the display types. it was replaced by the Fraktur. 84. A Ck N owLedG eMeN T B Io Gr A P Hy Taylor Childers is currently a BFA in Communication Design at Parsons. “History. (Boston: David R. Scholars of all sorts have pulled the Script faces out of the general display sections because they can be qualified. and every scholar fails.com/49/history. holds a design internship for the Indiana Department of Education. So we’ve carved out a place for them in our Graphic category. 5 Allen . Fraktur faces were so common that almost all German blackletters of the time carried Fraktur somewhere in their name. and as we march father into Open Type. angular lines. Jessica Griscti is currently pursuing dual degree. Textura was used in France. and are generally not created with pen nib or quill. also know as Cursiva. Therefore.

html.com/49/history. Typographie & Civilisation. “ParaType. JESSICA GRISCTI. Turner Berry. 2013.myfonts.25 SYSTEMS FOR CLASSIFYING TYPOGRAPHY: A STUDY IN NAMING FREQUENCY TAYLOR CHILDERS. 1991. Typeforms: a history. London: The British Library & Oak Knoll Press. http://www. 1995.. Bartram.myfonts. Will. 2013. Bringhurst. Editors & Students. 1980. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications. Essen: Wirtschaft und Werbung Verlagsgesellschaft mbH. 2010.linotype. London: Blandford Press. Jaspert. Updike. Craig. “About FontFont. 1961. Leopold.” Accessed January 7. Designing with Type: The Essential Guide to Typography. Nettelhorst. Writers. Johnson..2. 1937. 1986. Boston: David R. “History. My Fonts. The Encyclopaedia of Fonts. 2006. Thinking With Type: A Critical Guide For Designers.F. New York: The De Vinne Press. 1995. “Letraset. Schrift Muss Passen: Schriftwahl und Schriftausdruck in der Werbung Handbuch fur Gestalungsarbeit an Webemitteln. and A. Printing Types: Their Histories. 2013. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons. Dowding. Evolution and Design of Letters We Use Today. Theodore Low. The Practice of Typography. The Encyclopaedia of Typefaces.. My Fonts. Lupton.com/about. Ruari.ography. Solomon. 2008.fontfont. and Irene Korol Scala. Pincus. 2013.com/person/Robert_Bringhurst/. McLean. 1959. The Art of Typography: And introduction to Typo. Headley. http://www. PA R SON S journal FOR INFO RM ATIO N M APPING V olume V issue 1 . Type Rules! The Designer’s Guide to Professional Typography.” Last modified 2006.icon. “Robert Bringhurst. The Complete Typographer. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall. Daniel Berkeley. and Use.” Accessed January 7. Gywn. And Introduction to the History of Printing Tyes. 1899. Haley. New York: WatsonGuptill Publications. Alphabet: The History. Anatomy of a Typeface. Robert. Lawson. Allen. 2005. CA: Adobe Systems. Godine.typographie. Roberts: Hartley & Marks. 1990. “Classification Thibaudeau. Martin. Ilene.com/foundry/ParaType/. W. Hill. De Vinne. Print. 2013. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications. http://www. Accessed January 10. 2012. Linotype. Winter 2013 [page 2 2 ] © 2013 PARSONS JOURNAL FOR INFORMATION MAPPING AND PARSONS INSTITUTE FOR INFORMATION MAPPING . Ellen. New Yok: Princeton Architectural. 2007. AND LIBERTY LEBEN BI B LIo G r A P H y Adobe Type Guide. The Thames and Hudson Manual of Typography. Inc. Mountain View.html. Forms.” Accessed January 7. London: Wace & Company Ltd.” Accessed January 7. FontFont.” Accessed December 29. Alexander. Strizver. 2006. http://caracteres.myfonts. The Elements of Typographic Style: Version 3.com/foundry/Letraset/.. Alan. Boston: The Merrymount Press. London: Cassell Illustrated. https://www. W. London: Thames & Hudson Ltd. 1970. My Fonts. Geoffrey. http:// www. James.org/classification/ thibaudeau.