ATypI de-adopts Vox-ATypI typeface classification

Global typography nonprofit withdraws endorsement of system it adopted in 1962, will convene exploratory working group surrounding classification.

Original publication date: April 27, 2021.

The Association Typographique Internationale (ATypI) announced that it has de-adopted the Vox-ATypI system of typeface classification and has withdrawn its endorsement of the system. 

At a regular meeting held online on March 18, 2021, the ATypI board of directors passed two resolutions—one formalizing the de-adoption of the Vox-ATypI system and another directing the establishment of a working group to study the feasibility of developing and collaborating on contemporary typeface classification systems that embrace the wealth of writing systems from around the world. 

The Vox typeface classification system was devised in 1954 by Maximilien Vox, a French writer, illustrator, typography historian, and eventual founding member of ATypI. The Vox system was adopted by ATypI in 1962 and became more familiarly known as the Vox-ATypI classification. 

Although the Vox system and its variations may have corresponded to the needs of the Western-based typography and printing industries of the mid-twentieth century, the classification as it stands is severely limited in scope, and is not inclusive of the breadth of writing systems in use and still emerging worldwide. 

Since ATypI’s primary mission is to serve a global audience and the Vox-ATypI system is not representative of the creative output of the association’s membership nor that of the greater international type community, ATypI leadership determined to withdraw its endorsement of the system and explore new models and methods of classifying typefaces.

ATypI will soon assemble a working group consisting of experts from across relevant disciplines to study the matter.

“I am excited to start working towards more contemporary type classification systems,” said Carolina Laudon, president of the ATypI board of directors. “The Vox-ATypI system may have served its purpose in the past, but it is no longer representative of our community. I look forward to the possibilities of exploring a new system for navigating typefaces with our members, partners, collaborators, and other experts worldwide.” 

The association’s next event, ATypI Tech Talks 2021, will be held online May 3–5. The conference program will feature several sessions centered around typeface classification.

Read the full text of the press release.