When it comes to choosing a font for your next sign project, the possibilities are seemingly endless. With such a wide array of font styles and formats to choose from, it’s no surprise that something as simple as picking a font can be very overwhelming. That’s why we’ve decided to devote today’s blog post to providing you with a brief rundown of font classification basics!

Basic Font Groups and Typeface Styles
As you’ll see below, most fonts can be classified into eight distinct groups:

  • Blackletter style fonts mimic those used during the Middle Ages and World War II. They’re complex and detailed, which make them more difficult to read. Due to their regal, “old world” feel they are generally best suited for special announcements such as invitations, diplomas or certificates.
  • Decorative & Display fonts are unusual and unique. In a sense, this category is a bit of a catch-all since the fonts classified within this subgroup do not follow any sort of rhyme or rhythm. Here’s where you’ll find whimsical, cartoon-like fonts, best used for titles or headlines.
  • Ornamental typefaces reject the traditional alphanumeric font system and replace it with a series of pictures and symbols. Since they’re nontraditional by nature, use of such fonts is reserved for adding simple embellishments on a document, or making musical, mathematical or mapping notations.
  • Sans Serif literally translates to “without serif.” This means that fonts within this classification do not have the letter tails and toppers that Serif fonts do, creating a more bold and crisp look. Though these typefaces are known for legibility, using them for large text blocks can cause strain on the eyes.
  • Script fonts are made to look like they have been handwritten with all characters connected, just like traditional script. Each font in this classification is unique in its own way, differentiated mostly by implied writing style or instrument. Given their fancy nature, Script fonts are generally used for formal announcements.
  • Serif fonts are fittingly named after the serif itself, a short line tacked onto the top or bottom of a letter. The benefit of using Serif fonts is increased legibility, which makes them the perfect option for large chunks of text. The most widely used example of a Serif font is Times New Roman.
  • Slab Serif fonts, like their close relatives above, are classified by their use of tiny letter tack-ons. However, the difference between Serif and Slab Serif is that this font group uses short blocks or squares to define a letter’s end, instead of traditional serifs. They are also not as legible, but make for great eye catching headings or advertisements.
  • Transitional fonts are more rounded than Serif fonts, but they share the same legibility and precision. Their serifs are flat and thin and their lineweight varies from letter to letter.

Though this classification system does a great job of breaking down the basics there are still tons of new fonts being created everyday, making absolute classification impossible.

If you’re still having trouble deciding on a font for your custom signage, vehicle wrap or window graphic, just leave it to the experts at Chief Graphix. With more than 25 years of experience under our belt, you can trust that we’ll lead you in the right direction for all of your custom branding needs.

For more information, call 516-883-SIGN today!

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