TYPE DESIGN INFORMATION PAGE last updated on Sat Jun 22 21:49:40 EDT 2024






Thibaudeau's classification [François Thibaudeau]

In 1921, François Thibaudeau (1860-1925), a French typographer, proposed a simple classification system based on serifs:

  • Triangular serifs are called Elzevir (or antique, as in Jenson and Garamond). When they are geometrically rigorous triangles, the style is called Latin. Heavy Elzevir types are called deVinne types.
  • Didot typefaces, now called didones: these are characterized by rectangular serifs.
  • Egyptians have rectangular serifs on top and bottom of thickness equal to the stroke width. When the bottom slabs are rounded on the inside, he calls them égyptiennes anglaises (English Egyptians). Another subfamily of the Egyptian types are the Italian types, which have thick slabs and reverse stress.
  • "Antiques" (or: lettre baton): sans-serif typefaces such as those drawn by the Greeks and Romans.
  • Hellenic types: these have triangular serifs and feature bi-concave strokes.
  • Trait de plume types: these often have triangular serifs, but the glyphs are almost drawn by a pen, as in many art nouveau typefaces.
Thibaudeau later added the Script and Display sections to the list above to categorize types used in advertising.

Franços Thibaudeau wrote the art nouveau-styled Manuel français de typographie moderne, faisant suite à "La Lettre d'imprimerie"... Cours d'initiation... par la pratique du croquiscalque, ou manuscrit typographique (1924). He also wrote La Fonderie Typographique Française Album d'alphabets pour la pratique du croquis-calque, édité spécialement pour le Manuel français de typographie moderne de F. Thibaudeau (ca. 1920, impr. de G. de Malherbe, Paris). Local download of the latter book in PDF format [15.7MB].

Thibaudeau's classification
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Typeface Classification ⦿ Type design in France ⦿ Modern style [Bodoni, Didot, Walbaum, Thorowgood, Computer Modern, etc.] ⦿ Elzevir ⦿ Books on type design ⦿ Art Nouveau typefaces ⦿

file name: Francois Thibaudeau Classification 1924 1

file name: Francois Thibaudeau Classification 1924 2

file name: Francois Thibaudeau Classification 1924 3

file name: Francois Thibaudeau Manuel Francais 1924

Luc Devroye ⦿ School of Computer Science ⦿ McGill University Montreal, Canada H3A 2K6 ⦿ lucdevroye@gmail.com ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org/fonts.html