To be honest, a system is limiting, and with the modern typefaces taking elements from various type classifications it's hard and at times seems pointless to try to categorize these typefaces. Regardless, it's important to know the history of typefaces and when certain features developed and a type classification system can help you keep track of things and label typefaces according to a wide range of parameters like x-height, stroke weight, contrast, texture, the shape of the serifs, the direction of the weight distribution etc. As I said in the previous article, the Vox-ATypI classification is a good point to start but it does need refinement. When we've established a proper system, we can then base the series of articles on this system. Mind you, I won't be establishing a complete system but rather a simple and compact system by which I can write articles where I will discuss the details. We will also be getting rid of some generic terms and update some old ones.
As for the articles though, I will only be discussing the evolution of typefaces. So the chirographic category (hand-written) won't be discussed. I barely researched script fonts and the history of writing and never learned how to properly work scripts fonts so I will leave someone else to bestow his/her wisdom of chirography upon us. The articles to come really only focus on the Roman typefaces and their roots.
I thought a long time about the name of my type classification and for lack of imagination (or out of vanity; you choose) I decided to call it the Silvertant classification (after my last name).
The serif typefaces are primarily characterized by their serifs of course, but also a medium to high stroke contrast, triangular serifs or wedge serifs and a weight distribution according to a diagonal to vertical axis depending on the style and age from which the features were derived.
The slab serif typefaces are characterized by a simple, functional feel that gained momentum during the industrial period. They're often called mechanistic or mechanized and feature slab serifs which are either squared (Egyptiénne) or bracketed (Ionic).
The sans serif typefaces are characterized by their absence of serifs and their medium to very low stroke contrast. The first use of a sans serif typeface was around 1720. The sans serif typeface wasn't considered attractive in the beginning, hence the names 'grotesque' and 'gothic' are often used.
The Chirographics are characterized by—a suggestion of—being hand-written.
The Blackletters are a dark script form which developed around 1150.