Learn about type classification.
- [Narrator] Type had existed for quite some time before any attempts were made to classify the different typefaces. The earliest efforts were almost all made by printers, and they all failed in their attempts. And that's probably because they might have been looking after their own particular business interests, as you could understand. In 1954 the French cartoonist, writer, amongst many other things that he did, Maximilien Vox devised a system of classification for typefaces, grouping them together by their main characteristics.
And although there have been many other attempts at categorizing type, it's the Vox classification that is the most widely accepted system in use today. As this is an introductory course, however, we're going to use something that's slightly more straightforward, and look at the classifications that are used on the Typekit website, which, if you're a Creative Cloud user, you are quite likely to use, and if you want to, you could always dig deeper into type classification later on.
So the classifications at Typekit are slightly more accessible, I think, to the new user, and divided into eight classes. And the grid here shows those eight classes pretty much as they're represented on the website. So let's start with Sans Serif, so that's type without serifs, the extending features that you find at the end of strokes, that serif typefaces have.
And these letter forms have these small projecting features that you will have seen in the movie on type anatomy, and you get them along with vertical strokes and diagonal to vertical strokes and at the end of certain features as well. Next on from there, we've got slab serif, and they are much wider, much bolder, much more heavy versions of serifs. Then we have script, and they're based upon the very strokes made by pens, and they have two varieties, there's formal, as you can see here the sort of thing you maybe would have on an invite or something like that, and then casual, which crosses over with one of the classes you'll find later on.
After that, we've got Blackletter, and that's based on the earliest of printing typefaces, this is a very stylized version of such a thing. Then we have mono, which is short for monospaced, and these fonts have characters that all occupy the same character width, similar to the way that typewriters used to work. Now, it might help you to know that all character glyphs have an invisible box that surrounds them, with a monospaced font the boxes are all of the same size, irrespective of the actual width of the glyphs.
In contrast, other font types are known as proportional, and they have varied widths, according to each character. Let's take a look at an example here, where the word "Growling" is set in Courier, which is a monospaced font, and you can see that the glyph boxes that I've attempted to approximate fairly accurately here, are of a uniform width. Now let's bring in another line, that's set in a proportional font, this happens to be Baskerville here.
And if I bring in the glyph boxes, you'll see that they're all in proportion to the character widths. The eagle-eyed amongst you have probably noticed that some of those boxes overlap, as well, but we will get on to that soon enough. The next class we've got to look at is handwritten. And these are designed to look like hand-rendered lettering made with pens or brushes, and some of these may cross over, to some extent, with the informal script variety.
And finally, we have decorative, and these are large display fonts, mostly intended to be made really, really big, you wouldn't use these for body copy, that's the main text in a document, but they are great for headings, and anywhere where you need to use large type. They grab attention, and they're much more expressive. And that's it. Typekit, if you're interested, by the way, has a thing called Typekit Practice, which is well worth checking out if you really want to get into the details of typography, there's a lot to be had in there too, as well as the other courses here on the library.
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