Chapter: Reference 

Font Classification

name of your book, your name University of Kansas, 2023

Add to the beginning or end of the book.
Designed by Your Name. Class project for Typographic Systems at the University of Kansas, 2023. The text was compiled from the following sources: Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst, Getting it Right with Type: the Do's and Don'ts of Typography by Victoria Square, Mac is Not A Typewriter by Robin Williams. This book is not to be sold to the public and to only be used by the designer for their reference and student design portfolio.

All the content below must be in your workbook. However you can organize it in any way you want. Each section can be a chapter or you can organize the content into groups and those become chapters.


01 rules check sheet
02 glossary of typographic rules

03 special characters
04 column width and hyphenation
05 hyphens and dashes  
06 quotes and apostrophes
07 kerning

08 figures and tabular tables
09 justification, letterspacing, word spacing
10 paragraph breaks

11 anatomy of type
12 typographic color
13 font classifications
14 glossary of terms (optional)

Font Classification

︎︎︎make the spread(s) visual and informative.
︎︎︎ADD the names of at least 3 typfaces that fit each classification

Think about how you did your Anatomy of Type section

The oldest Italian, mostly Venetian, print­ing type, designed at the end of the fifteenth century during the Italian Renaissance, are based on the handwriting of the humanists. This script went back to the Carolingian minuscule of the ninth century. In 1470, Nicolas Jenson printed the first books using a Humanist serif typeface. He was inspired by the simple handwriting of the Italian Humanists, who—challenged by the ornamentation of Gutenberg's Textura Blackletter—developed a style that enabled them to copy manuscripts more quickly. Although initially a grouping for serif types, it’s also possible to have sans serifs that exhibit a humanist style.

Garalde or Old Style
Appeared during the French Renaissance period. The name ‘garaldes’ is a contraction of the names of the French punchcutter Claude Garamond and of the Venetian printer Aldus Manutius. The first garaldes were based on the human­ists, but they are more sophisticated, have narrower proportions and more fluent transitions.

The transitionals are the early neoclassical typefaces that appeared in the middle of the eighteenth century and were usually designed for a specific purpose. They are seen as the first types that were really designed. The transitionals mark the transition between the Renaissance and neoclassicism.

Modern or Didone
These are the late neoclassical seriffed types and their name is a combination of the French printing family Didot and the Italian printer Bodoni of Parma. The typeface Bodoni by Giambattista Bodoni, also known as the ‘king of the typographers’ (principe dei tipografi) or ‘printer to the kings’, is seen as the highlight of the didones.

The slab-serifs are constructed typefaces and in general have hardly any thick-thin contrast. Some early slab-serifs are called egyptians – allegedly after the popularity of the Napoleonic campaign in Egypt and the resulting interest in Egyptology. (Confusingly, many of the geometrically constructed slab-serifs designed a hundred years later all bear egyptian place names such as Karnak, Luxor, Memphis etc., but they have nothing to do with the shape of the earlier egyptians which used the Grotesque form as their basis.) The Clarendon typeface is so typical for this group that in some English classifications the term ‘slab-serif’ is replaced with ‘Clarendon’.

Humanistic sans-serif
Sans-serifs are typefaces that owe their essential form to writing. The French word ‘linéal’ unsurprisingly means ‘advancing in a straight line.’ They first appeared at the beginning of the nineteenth century (Caslon Foundry, 1812 – 14), but only in capitals. The first sans-serif with lowercase appeared in England in 1834. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, every self-respecting foundry had a number of sans-serif typefaces with several variants. The humanistic sans-serifs are different because they follow the proportions of the classical Roman capital for the capitals and the humanistic manuscript hand for lowercase letters.

Grotesque sans-serif
The sans-serif grotesques appeared as a result of the popularity of the Swiss style of typography after the Second World War. Sans-serif started to get used more and more frequently with the advent of the Helvetica in 1957, created by the Swiss Max Miedinger.

Geometric sans-serif
The geometric sans-serifs seem to be drawn with ruler and compass. It takes a lot of skill to produce clearly legible typography with these typefaces. Good microtypography, such as choosing the right letter spacing and line interval, is very important.