Vox-ATypI classification

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In typography, the Vox-ATypI classification makes it possible to classify typefaces into general classes. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_0

Devised by Maximilien Vox in 1954, it was adopted in 1962 by the Association Typographique Internationale (ATypI) and in 1967 as a British Standard, as British Standards Classification of Typefaces (BS 2961:1967), which is a very basic interpretation and adaptation/modification of the earlier Vox-ATypI classification. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_1

Vox proposed a nine-type classification which tends to group typefaces according to their main characteristics, often typical of a particular century (15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th century), based on a number of formal criteria: downstroke and upstroke, forms of serifs, stroke axis, x-height, etc. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_2

Although the Vox-ATypI classification defines archetypes of typefaces, many typefaces can exhibit the characteristics of more than one class. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_3

At the 2010 ATypI general meeting, the association voted to make a minor amendment to add Gaelic to the calligraphic group in the Vox-ATypI classification, to state that the Vox-ATypI system was seriously flawed, and to create a new working group on typeface classification. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_4

Classicals Vox-ATypI classification_section_0

The classicals can be broken down into humanist, Garald, and transitional categories, and are characterized by triangular serifs, oblique axis, and low stroke contrast. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_5

In other classification systems, this group is often referred to as "oldstyle." Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_6

Humanist Vox-ATypI classification_section_1

Humanist, humanistic, or humanes include the first Roman typefaces created during the 15th century by Venetian printers, such as Nicolas Jenson (hence another name for these, Venetian). Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_7

These typefaces sought to imitate the formal hands found in the humanistic (renaissance) manuscripts of the time (humanist minuscule). Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_8

These typefaces, rather round in opposition to the gothics of the Middle Ages, are characterized by short and thick bracketed serifs, a slanted cross stroke on the lowercase 'e', ascenders with slanted serifs, and a low contrast between horizontals and verticals. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_9

These typefaces are inspired in particular by the Carolingian minuscule, imposed by Charlemagne during his reign of the Holy Roman Empire. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_10

Examples of Humanes include Centaur and Cloister. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_11

Garalde Vox-ATypI classification_section_2

Also called Aldine, this group is named in homage to Claude Garamond and Aldus Manutius. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_12

In general, the garaldes have finer proportions than the humanists, and a stronger contrast between downstroke and upstroke. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_13

The weight of the garaldes are distributed according to an oblique axis. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_14

In France, under King Francis I, the garaldes were the tool which supported the official fixing of grammar and orthography. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_15

Examples of Garaldes include Bembo and Garamond. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_16

Transitional Vox-ATypI classification_section_3

The transitional, realist, or réales are the typical typefaces of the traditional period, particularly embodying the rational spirit of the Enlightenment. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_17

Contrast between main and connecting strokes is marked even more than in the first two groups, weight is distributed now according to a quasi-vertical axis. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_18

The realists are the result of the wish of Louis XIV to invent new typographical forms, on the one hand to find a successor of the Garamond, on the other hand to compete in quality with the different printers of Europe. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_19

The term realist is unrelated to the artistic movement realism, and derives from the Spanish for "royal", because of a typeface cast by Christophe Plantin for King Philip II of Spain. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_20

Examples of realist typefaces include Baskerville, Times Roman, and other contemporary redesigns of traditional faces. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_21

Moderns Vox-ATypI classification_section_4

The moderns can be broken down into Didone, Mechanistic, and Lineal categories, and are characterized by a simple, functional feel that gained momentum during the industrial period of the late 19th century and early 20th century. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_22

Didone Vox-ATypI classification_section_5

Main article: Didone (typography) Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_23

The Didones or modern typefaces draw their name from the typefounders Didot and Bodoni. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_24

These typefaces, dating from the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century, make a very strong contrast between full and connecting strokes (the connecting strokes being extremely fine), the verticality of the characters and their unbracketed, hairline serifs. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_25

They correspond to the Didot of the Thibaudeau classification. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_26

The didones, in particular, made it possible for the First French Empire to employ typefaces very different from the typefaces used by the kings from the Ancien Régime. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_27

Examples of Didones include Bodoni and Walbaum. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_28

Mechanistic Vox-ATypI classification_section_6

Also called mechanical, slab serif, or mécanes, the name of this group evokes the mechanical aspect of these typefaces, which coincide with the Industrial Revolution at the beginning of the 19th century. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_29

The principal characteristics of these typefaces are a very low contrast and rectangular slab serifs. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_30

They correspond to the Egyptiennes of Thibaudeau classification. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_31

This category includes both typefaces with bracketed serifs (clarendons or ionics) and typefaces with square or unbracketed serifs (egyptians). Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_32

Examples of mechanical typefaces include Clarendon, Egyptienne, Ionic No. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_33 5, and Rockwell. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_34

Lineal Vox-ATypI classification_section_7

Lineals, or linéales, combine all typefaces without serifs (called sans-serif, gothic, or grotesque), all of which correspond to the Antiques of the Thibaudeau classification. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_35

The British Standard 1967 extended the category by breaking the group into 4 subcategories: Grotesque, Neo-Grotesque, Geometric, and Humanist. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_36

Grotesque Vox-ATypI classification_section_8

Grotesque typefaces are sans serif typefaces that originate in the nineteenth century. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_37

There is some degree of contrast between thick and thin strokes. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_38

The terminals of curves are usually horizontal, and the typeface frequently has a spurred "G" and an "R" with a curled leg. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_39

Examples of grotesque lineal typeface include Headline, Monotype 215, and Grot no. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_40

6. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_41

Neo-grotesque Vox-ATypI classification_section_9

Neo-grotesque typefaces are derived from the earlier grotesque faces, but generally have less stroke contrast and a more regular design. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_42

Unlike the grotesque, they generally do not have a spurred "G", and the terminals of curves are usually slanted. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_43

Many neo-grotesque faces have a large degree of subtlety and variation of widths and weights to accommodate different means of production (Hot type, foundry type, phototypesetting, see History of typography, 20th century). Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_44

Examples of neo-grotesque lineal typeface include Helvetica and Univers. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_45

Geometric Vox-ATypI classification_section_10

Geometric typefaces are sans serif faces constructed from simple geometric shapes, circles or rectangles. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_46

The same curves and lines are often repeated throughout the letters, resulting in minimal differentiation between letters. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_47

Examples of geometric lineal typefaces include Eurostile and Futura. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_48

Humanist Vox-ATypI classification_section_11

Humanist typefaces, instead of deriving from the 19th century grotesque faces, relate to the earlier, classical handwritten monumental Roman capitals and a lowercase similar in form to the Carolingian script. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_49

Note that the term "humanist" is being used here in combination with lineal to create a subcategory, and these typefaces only slightly resemble those in the humanist serif category. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_50

Examples of humanist lineal typefaces include Gill Sans and Optima. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_51

Calligraphics Vox-ATypI classification_section_12

The Calligraphics can be broken down into glyphic, script, graphic, blackletter, and Gaelic categories, and are characterized by a suggestion of being hand-crafted. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_52

Glyphic Vox-ATypI classification_section_13

The glyphic, incised, or incise are typefaces which evoke the engraving or chiseling of characters in stone or metal, as opposed to calligraphic handwriting. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_53

They thus have small, triangular serifs or tapering downstrokes. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_54

There is usually a greater emphasis on the capital letters in glyphic typefaces, with some faces not containing a lowercase. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_55

Examples of glyphic typefaces include Albertus, Copperplate Gothic, and Trajan. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_56

Script Vox-ATypI classification_section_14

The scripts or scriptes include typefaces which evoke the formal penmanship of cursive writing. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_57

They seem to be written with a quill and have a strong slope. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_58

The letters can often be connected to each other. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_59

Typefaces imitating copperplate script form part of this family. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_60

Scripts are distinct from italic type. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_61

Examples of script typefaces include Shelley, Mistral and Francesca. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_62

Graphic Vox-ATypI classification_section_15

The graphic, manual, or manuaires, are based on hand-drawn originals which are slowly written with either a brush, pen, pencil, or other writing instrument. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_63

These typefaces generally do not represent writing, and are not intended for body text, but instead display or headline purposes. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_64

Vox originally included the blackletter and uncial faces in this categorization. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_65

Examples of graphic typefaces include Banco and Klang. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_66

Blackletter Vox-ATypI classification_section_16

The original Vox classification contained the above 9 groups. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_67

ATypI added two more classifications, the blackletters and the Non-Latins. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_68

The blackletters or fractures, which Vox included in the graphics, are characterized by pointed and angular forms, and are modeled on late medieval hands written with a broad-nibbed pen. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_69

An example of a blackletter typeface is Fraktur. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_70

Gaelic Vox-ATypI classification_section_17

Gaelic type was added to the classification at the AGM of the Dublin meeting of ATypI, on 12 September 2010. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_71

Non-Latin Vox-ATypI classification_section_18

This heterogeneous family, not included in the original 9 Vox groups, gathers (without distinction of style) all writing systems not based on the Latin alphabet: Greek, Cyrillic, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, Korean etc. English printers traditionally called these exotics. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_72

Criticisms Vox-ATypI classification_section_19

Catherine Dixon, in a 2002 paper, criticized both the Vox and British Standard categories for favoring roman typefaces over display typefaces, which derives from early twentieth century design culture. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_73

As an example, Dixon notes that in these classification systems "'humanist' types are formally distinguished from 'garalde', even though the formal differences are very subtle and such a distinction is only appropriate for very few types. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_74

But large numbers of slab serif types, clarendons or ionics (that is bracketed slab serifs) and egyptians (that is square-ended, unbracketed slab serifs) are simply grouped together." Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_75

Dixon challenges the prevalent focus on roman types as being dated, saying "distinctions between text and display are now increasingly irrelevant, with the greater subtlety that has been introduced into sans serifs and slab serif designs, leading to a wider application of such types for text purposes." Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_76

Dixon's conclusion is that these systems have remained unchanged since 1967, and thus many contemporary typefaces render these systems inadequate. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_77

Miguel Catopodis, in the ATypI forum, proposed that the full 1962 Vox-AtypI classification needed to be uploaded and made more widely available, because the schema is still an easy resource for many students to understand how typefaces could be classified. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_78

Name ambiguities Vox-ATypI classification_section_20

The Vox classifications can be used in combination. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_79

Notably, "transitional" (and its synonym "realist") and "humanist" are used to distinguish between groups of sans-serif (also called "lineal", "Gothic", or "grotesque") typefaces, sometimes with the term "sans-serif" omitted. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_80

The sans-serif realists have more constant line weight, while the sans-serif humanists have a varying line weight which harks back to Carolingian minuscule. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_81

So, very different typefaces may be described by the same term: for example, Times Roman and DIN 1451 may both be described as realist or transitional. Vox-ATypI classification_sentence_82


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vox-ATypI classification.