Type ClassificationsMost typefaces can be classified into one of four basic groups: those with serifs, those without serifs, scripts and decorative styles. Over the years, typographers and scholars of typography have devised various systems to more definitively categorize typefaces – some of these systems have scores of sub-categories.A classification system can be helpful in identifying, choosing and combining typefaces. While four categories are clearly inadequate for design professionals, dozens become self-defeating. We have put together a somewhat hybrid system of 15 styles, based on the historical and descriptive nomenclature first published in 1954 as the Vox system – and still widely accepted as a standard today.ClassificationsSerif Type Styles
Old StyleTransitionalNeoclassical & DidoneSlabClarendonGlyphicSans Serif Type Styles
Script Type Styles
FormalCasualCalligraphicBlackletter & LombardicDecorative
Serif Type StylesOld Style
This category includes the first Roman types, originally created between the late 15th and mid 18th centuries, as well as typefaces patterned after those designed in this earlier period. The axis of curved strokes is normally inclined to the left in these designs, so that weight stress is at approximately 8:00 and 2:00 o’clock. The contrast in character stroke weight is not dramatic, and hairlines tend to be on the heavy side. Serifs are almost always bracketed in old style designs and head serifs are often angled. Some versions, like the earlier Venetian old style designs, are distinguished by the diagonal cross stroke of the lowercase e.