Among the varieties of typefaces available, it gets essential to divide them into categories. It helps the designer in gaining a basic understanding of the different typeface classifications, where they come from, and how they differ. The typefaces are divided into the below categories. Let’s learn about the various typeface classifications.
As the name suggests, the typefaces that have serifs, the small curve attached to the primary stroke of the character are grouped under the serifs typeface. Serifs were among the first created digital typefaces. They are often used in print media for body and headlines both. Serifs are further classified into the following.
Old Style Serifs – They were developed in the late 15th and 16th centuries. They put more emphasis on the diagonal axis. The minimum contrast exists between the thick and thin strokes. The serifs are angle headed and bracketed (curve attaching the stem and the serif). Adobe Garamond, ITC Berkeley are some of the examples.
Transitional Serifs – As per the name, transitional serifs evolved in the 18th century while the transition was happening from the old style to modern. They put more emphasis on the vertical axis. The serifs are vertical as well. The contrast is more between the thick and thin strokes. Baskerville, Bulmer, Perpetua are some of the examples.
Slab Serifs – They are thick, rectangular serifs with almost no contrast between the thick and thin strokes. It is an equal width serif. Rockwell, American Typewriter are some of the examples.
Modern Serifs – They were developed in the late 18th century. They have straight serifs with an emphasis on the vertical axis. A high contrast exists between thick and thin strokes. They have almost no or very little bracketing. Didot, Bodoni, Fenice are some of the examples.
Glyphic Serifs – The glyphic style serifs appear more carved and engraved (lapidary) than the pen-drawn ones. The serifs are more triangular and flaring towards outside. Quorum, New text, Albertus are some of the examples.
Sans means without, the terminology sans serifs suggest the typefaces without serifs. They are modern than serifs in terms of look and development as well. They have evolved in recent times, with the development of the digital design industry, and are thus considered modern. Just like serifs, sans serifs are also classified into the following.
Grotesque Sans- It is the earliest and the first famous sans serifs. The curves are square for this sans serif, with a spurred capital G and double story lower case g. There is not much contrast between the strokes. Bureau Grot, Franklin Gothic are some of the examples.
Neo-Grotesque Sans – They are a more rational form of grotesque. They have an everyday outlook with very little contrast. Helvetica, Arial are some of the examples.
Humanist Sans – They are of the calligraphic roots and have higher stroke contrast than any other sans serif. They have open strokes. Verdana, Cronos are some of the examples.
Geometric Sans – They are constructed out of geometric forms, like the shape of ‘a’ and ‘o’ appear to be precisely round. They do not have a contrast among the strokes. Futura, Avenir are some of the examples.
The script typeface is based upon writing made of flexible brush, fluid strokes of handwriting, and the strokes provided with an image of calligraphic handwriting. They are used for decorative writing like cover letters or wedding invitations. They are categorized under the following. You can learn more about the Script Typeface here- Script Typeface & Types Of Script Typeface
Formal Scripts – The letterforms in a formal script are connected and provide a combination of rhythmic strokes. There are a large number of fonts available for formal scripts- Greyhound Script, Balmoral, Fling, etc.
Casual Scripts – They resemble more of an informal scribble while forming a shopping list. The strokes are stroker and can be connected or not. Bianca, Mahogany are some of the examples.
Calligraphic – It resonates with the actual handwriting. They resemble being drawn by a flat-tipped brush or calligraphic pen. They have high contrast among the strokes. Mistral, Ballerino are some of the examples.
In simple terms, it comprises of all the typefaces that do not fall in the above categories. These are developed by keeping a specific use case in mind. There is no specific set of rules that they follow but are created and customized for particular interfaces. Cuba, Morris Troy are some of the examples.
We have discussed various typeface classifications above, chose which one suits best for your interface.