Home / ATypI de-adopts the Vox-ATypI typeface classification system

ATypI de-adopts the Vox-ATypI typeface classification system

In 2021, ATypI announced that it had de-adopted the Vox-ATypI typeface classification and withdrew its endorsement of the system.

The original Vox classification, devised in 1954 by French writer, typography historian, and ATypI co-founding member Maximilien Vox, was adopted by the association in 1962 and became known as the Vox-ATypI classification.

The world has many different writing systems. Latin is not only the language, but is also the writing system used for languages such as English, Polish, and Spanish. Vox focused on typefaces based on the Latin writing system, dividing them into classes often identified by physical characteristics, such as the presence or absence of serifs.

This approach disregarded countless writing systems, including Arabic, Cyrillic, Hangul, and Hebrew. Although the Vox-ATypI system was eventually expanded to include a category for typefaces not based on Latin, it grouped diverse scripts into a single dismissive category: ‘Non-Latines’.

Although it may have corresponded to the needs of the Western-based typography and printing industries of the mid-twentieth century, Vox-ATypI is severely limited, and is not inclusive of the breadth of writing systems in use worldwide.

ATypI serves a global audience, and the Vox-ATypI classification is not representative of the creative output of the international type community. It was important to formally withdraw endorsement of this flawed system.

In May 2021, an extended panel discussion on Vox-ATypI and typeface classification in general was part of the #ATypITechTalks program.

“Thinking Outside the Vox” featured:
Sahar Afshar @sahafshar
Nadine Chahine @arabictype
Catherine Dixon
John Hudson
Indra Kupferschmid
Manuel Sesma @heterotype
Nick Sherman @nicksherman