Many attempts have been made to standardize the classification of typography, but thus far, no naming system has been successful to the point of its general adaption. This paper analyses 25 typeface classification systems published in the last century, ranging from typographic greats like Theodore Low De Vinne and Maximilien Vox and culminating with contemporary type and design scholars such as Ellen Lupton and Robert Bringhurst. Each system (despite its original visual organization or lack thereof) is presented through a the visual standardization of a color-coded pie chart. The color codes reference three main branches of type design: Serif, Sans Serif, and Topical (Topical is the term used by Bevington/Chong to reference a subdivision of non-text faces). In our concluding demonstration we use this term “Topical,” to replace “Display.” By examining a wide cross section of naming taxonomies, we observe those names that have prevailed, those that failed, and those that deserve renewed support in the hierarchy of typeface class names. We see the useful, and the daring, as they are removed or affixed to the typographic lexicon. Each name, from all the systems, within our wider categories of Serif, Sans Serif, and Topical are collected into a series of master diagrams. From these a final, suggested master classification, our cumulative research effort is presented. We submit this master as a suggested industry standard.
You can read the research paper in Volume V, Issue I of Parsons Journal for Information Mapping here.
Collaboration with Jessica Griscti and Liberty Leben.