Historical Classification of Typefaces
Old Style: In typography, Old Style is a style of font developed by Renaissance typographers to replace the Blackletter style of type. Based on ancient Roman inscriptions, these fonts are generally characterized by low contrast between thick and thin strokes, bracketed serifs, and a left-leaning axis or stress. There are two groups of Old Style typefaces: Venetian (Renaissance) and Garalde (Baroque).
Italic: While roman typefaces are upright, italic typefaces slant to the right. But rather than being just a slanted or tilted version of the roman face, a true or pure italic font is drawn from scratch and has unique features not found in the roman face.
Venetian printer Aldus Manutius and his type designer, Francesco Griffo are credited with creating the first italic typeface -- the term italic paying homage to Italy where the style originated.
Transitional: The Antiqua or Old Style of type of the 16th and 17th centuries evolved into a style known as Transitional. The primary characteristics of Transitional type is medium contrast between thick and thin strokes, less left-inclined stress than earlier Old Style faces, and a triangular or flat tip where diagonal strokes meet (such the base of a W).
Also Known As: Modern Transitional
Modern: In typography, Modern is a style of typeface developed in the late 18th century that continued through much of the 19th century. Characterized by high contrast between thick and thin strokes and flat serifs, Modern fonts are harder to read than previous and later typestyles. Some later variations include the Slab Serifs with bolder, square serifs and the related Clarendon style with less contrast and softer, rounded shapes.
Egyptian: In typography, a slab serif (also called mechanistic, square serif or egyptian) typeface is a type of serif typeface characterized by thick, block-like serifs. Slab serif typefaces generally have no bracket (feature connecting the strokes to the serifs). Because of their bold appearance, they are most commonly used in large headlines and advertisements but are seldom used in body text.
Sans Serif: Type which does not have serifs -- the little extra strokes found at the end of main vertical and horizontal strokes of some letterforms -- are called sans serif (without serif). Within sans serif there are five main classifications: Grotesque, Neo-Grotesque, Geometric, Humanist, and Informal. Typefaces within each classification usually share similarities in stroke thickness, weight, and the shapes of certain letterforms.
Also Known As: Lineal(e) | Grotesque | Neo-Grotesque | Geometric | Humanist | Gothic (not Blackletter Gothic)
Samples for your Consideration Week 1
Ideogrpah vs Pictograph
Evolution from Phoenician